Eleven-year-old musical prodigy, Elvis Ruby, was supposed to win the most coveted reality show on television, Tween Star. None of the other contestants even came close to his talents. But in the middle of the biggest night, with millions of people watching, Elvis panicked. He forgot the words to the song. He forgot the tune. He forgot how to play every single instrument he’d ever known and froze on national TV. So Elvis must run from the paparazzi camped outside his door and spend the summer working with his aunt and cousin at Piney Pete’s Pancake Palace in the remote wilds of New Jersey. It’s the perfect place to be anonymous, that is until Elvis meets Cecilia, a girl who can’t seem to help blurting out whatever’s on her mind. – Goodreads
Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace is the story of Elvis Ruby and Cecilia, two characters who couldn’t be more different if they tried. Cecilia lives in the Pinelands of New Jersey and Elvis is child superstar who is staying at a relatives Pancake restaurant. Elvis was on a television program and froze, throughout the novel, and talking to Cecilia we come to find out his valid reasons for freezing, but he still froze and his father did what he thought was best. Through the Pinelands and new friends, Elvis slowly finds his way back to himself.
At the heart of the novel, the theme is secrets and how everyone has them. While Elvis has the big one of the story, his aunt has one with what she puts in the pancakes, his cousin has one with her deep need to leave the area, one guy has one with his deep love of a character, and Cecilia has one that is hers to tell you in the novel.
This is a solid middle grade novel by Nan Marino that has me excited to read more of her work.