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How To Be A Star is a 2013 young-adult novel written by M. Doty, published by the American publishing company Poppy. Set roughly two months after the events of the first Surviving High School novel and serving as a companion to the sixth season of the game, the spotlight is shed on high school freshman Kimi Chen as she attempts to break free from her best friend's shadow and release a music video onto the internet that soon becomes an internet sensation. While her new viral video has helped her make a name for herself at school, Kimi soon learns that fame comes at a price and isn't what it's cracked up to be.


Kimi Chen has decided it's time to step into the spotlight and snag a place at the coveted center table of the Twin Branches High School cafeteria. When her low-budget music video hits the Web and goes viral, forget about just being popular - Kimi is famous! Boys want to date her, girls want to be her, and she is even asked to perform on her favorite TV show. After years of feeling stranded on the bottom rung of the social ladder, things are finally looking up.

But when fame gets in the way of her friendships, Kimi's celebrity begins to lose some of its sparkle. Being a star, it turns out, may come at too high a cost.


Sick of being in the shadow of her best friend Emily Kessler, Kevin suggests attempts to gain popularity by--with the assistance of Kevin's uncle, Alan--uploading a video of her singing on YouTube. She writes a song to record, but Alan instantly dismisses it and talks her into a recording contract. Kimi sings Alan's song (which is luckily autotuned) Three O'Clock, awfully and shoots a video of it, as well of her performing silly actions.

Although not in favor of the video, Kimi has the video uploaded and she immediately gains recognition for it. She is as expected mocked for it, but she eventually comes to find it funny as well. The cheerleaders allow Kimi into their group, Maria even befriending her, but Lindsay is still hostile towards her. Subsequently, someone under the name DiamondGirl22 starts posting humiliating photos of Kimi as a child and becomes as significant as Kimi.

Kimi starts going on dates with a few guys, but many of the relationships do not develop. Emily angrily confronts Kimi about the date she had with one of the boys, Cameron, as Cameron was in love with Emily's older sister, Sara. Kimi retorts by stating that Emily has been too occupied with her relationship with Ben and that she no longer spends time with her.

Kimi is requested by a comedy show, Friday Night Lights, to perform on the show. Kevin fills in for the guy who was supposed to autotune Kimi's singing. But before the show starts, the two get in an argument about Kimi's separate affairs and ditches her. Feeling as though she would understand, Kimi calls Maria, who only hangs up on her. Nevertheless, Kimi performs with the autotune -- horribly. Bashed for, Kimi is leaves stage and gets a call from an enraged Alan, who additionally divulges that according to the contract, all of the profits made from the school go straight to Alan.

As Kimi's esteem gets worse, DiamondGirl22 continues posting embarrassing videos and photos of Kimi, one of them being Maria and Kimi's phone conversation. As Lindsay dislikes Kimi, Kimi accosts Lindsay about the situation and learns that Maria was actually DiamondGirl22. Maria claimed that how quickly Kimi achieved popularity was unfair and therefore created DiamondGirl22, so that Kimi's popularity deteriorates. Maria had all of the pictures because she and Kimi were best friends in middle school.

Things start to get better for Kimi, as she and Emily forgive each other, as well as her and Kevin. Kimi also persuades Dex into allowing her to be one of the contestants in the talent show. Rather than singing Three O'Clock, Kimi performs the song she had written initially and is praised for it. At the end of the talent show, Kevin kisses her.

Meanwhile, Kimi's mother reveals that because Kimi’s a minor, her contract with Alan was never valid and sues. Kimi receives a check.

Bonus ContentEdit

Readers are treated to two pieces of bonus content following the ending pages of the book. The first is a short story written from Dominique Clark's point of view after the first book's events detailing her life afterward and her decision to move back to Twin Branches. A quiz can be taken afterwards to help determine the clique the reader would be apart of if they attended Twin Branches.

Dominique's Story: How To Get Back UpEdit

Dominique is revealed to have moved to the Seattle suburbs to train under Bellevue Athletic Academy to work on her lap times. Trying in vain to beat Emily's set score of 27.8 seconds, Dominique always seems to match 28 seconds, an effort that makes her angry but all the more motivated.

While Dominique swims her laps, she reflects back on the events that had happened to her that year and the years leading up to it. Still bitter from losing Junior Nationals to Emily's time, she decides that she has truly taken everything from her: Junior Nationals, popularity, and Ben Kale. It is revealed that growing up Dominique was insecure from the acne and crooked teeth she had to endure that rendered her unpopular and undateable when she moved to California. When she met Lindsay Vale, Lindsay showed her a face wash that cleared up her skin and was lent makeup by her mom who worked at Macy's. Finding herself growing to be confident in her own skin and filling out physically, Dominique had transferred to Twin Branches with Lindsay to receive a new start where she wouldn't be remembered for who she used to be. Immediately taking her place as one of the most popular freshman, she remembers meeting Ben Kale for the first time at lunch when he sat next to his friend, Spencer Cooper. Dominique had scarfed down two whole pizzas in order to impress Ben but her efforts were futile as he seemed disinterested and walked away. She had been watching as Ben stopped by Emily's table and she was able to make him smile.

Dominique further reflects on how she feels that Emily took the blessings in her life for granted such as her Olympian physique and her Dad's coaching (a person Dominique admired and moved to the area so she could be trained under him). Thinking about how the biggest blow was when she attended Ben's birthday party earlier that year, Dominique remembers how she had been drinking to calm her nerves and was angry when she finally spotted Ben with Emily in the pool.

Interrupted by her half-brother, Cameron, the two talk about how Cameron wanted to get away from Twin Branches for awhile as well because of his thoughts about Sara Kessler. Cameron confides in Dominique about how he regrets not telling her how he felt about her when he had the chance. Annoyed with the constant presence the Kessler family seemed to have around her, Dominique reminds Cameron that she's only training so she can beat Emily, not running away from her problems. Cameron is skeptical of this and warns her that the longer she waits to deal with an issue, the harder it will become.

That night Dominique decides that even though it will be hard to face all of the kids at school, it will be worth it to return to Twin Branches and get back what she lost. Waking up Cameron the next morning, Dominique announces that she wants to come back to the school with him. The story ends with the two of them hugging and Dominique saying that she's "going to take it back, all of it".


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