The Main Dish by Victoria Kimble
16-year-old Scarlet Williams enjoys the attention that comes with being a violin prodigy. She auditions for a chair in the Summerset Festival Orchestra, the well-attended local event in her hometown. She is the youngest person to ever get a chair in the orchestra. She blasts the news on social media and enjoys the attention that Finn O’Neal gives her about it.
Then her sister Sadie gets cast in Young Gourmet, a nationally televised cooking competition for kids. Scarlet’s parents tell her that the whole family will be going to L.A. for the taping of the show. This means that they could possibly be there for the whole summer, which means that Scarlet will have to give up her spot in the Summerset Festival. Scarlet has to suffer the humiliation of telling everyone that she won’t be in the orchestra after all.
Scarlet had decided being in L.A. for the summer might be fun, but it turns out it’s NOT. Things perk up when Scarlet and her dad go to the TV studio to tape a Family episode. Scarlet meets Isaac, a cute 18-year-old who works as a server on the show. When Sadie wins, Isaac immediately stops flirting with Scarlet and just asks if he can meet her. Scarlet gets her first glimpse at what it’s like to be eclipsed by Sadie and doesn’t like it.
The Williams family gets back to Snowberry, and they are not allowed to talk about the show. Scarlet reconnects with her friends, and the conductor of the Summerset Orchestra, who asks her to be his assistant for the Festival. Scarlet agrees so she can be a part of things. She asks the conductor if she could still play. The conductor says no, and Scarlet is humiliated. She pretends to be sick on the night of the concert so she doesn’t have to go.
Just as Scarlet is beginning to settle into the high school routine, Young Gourmet begins to air. Scarlet invites Jillian, Levi, Finn, and Melody over for her family’s big premier party. The show continues to air, and the Williams host a weekly viewing party. Scarlet worries about the attention her sister gets from her friends, so she creates a secret blog that exposes the secrets of the show and implies that Sadie’s win was rigged.
The blog spreads like wildfire, and Scarlet finally feels like the center of attention. At the semi-final viewing party, Sadie realizes that Scarlet has been sharing secrets from the show. She throws a big fit in front of everyone, embarrassing the entire Williams family. Scarlet’s parents confront her in front of everyone. Scarlet is forced to admit that she wrote the blog. Everyone leaves, and Mom tells Scarlet that she just should have been happy for her sister, because Sadie has always been happy for her. Scarlet asks if Sadie is going to lose out on her prize money. She says she’s sorry, and Mom asks Scarlet what she’s going to do to make it right.
Scarlet tries to hide out in her bedroom all weekend, but Mom keeps making her come out to do chores. Sadie avoids her and refuses to cook. Scarlet is truly sorry and apologizes to Sadie. Sadie says she forgives her, but things aren’t the same. Dad says he talked to one of the producers, and since Scarlet didn’t spoil the ending, they aren’t going to press charges.
Scarlet spends the whole day at school avoiding everyone. She had gone to the orchestra room after school to work on some of the music for the school musical with the Music Teacher. She tried to stay as late as she could, so that everyone would be gone. When she gets to her locker, she finds Jillian, Levi, Melody and Finn all waiting for her. Scarlet apologizes for what she did, and says that she was afraid she wasn’t going to be noticed anymore, even though she knows that’s not an excuse. They say they forgive her, and they apologize for making her feel unseen.
The friends decide to do what they can to make the last show for Sadie unforgettable. They plan a huge Finale Party. Scarlet is surprised to realize she feels nothing but pride for her sister. She’s not even a little bit jealous.
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Victoria Kimble is the author of the Choir Girls series and the Writing Prompts for Humans series. She is a full-fledged homebody, a so-so housekeeper, a mediocre musician, and has dreamed of writing her whole life. She lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband, three daughters, and her lazy cat. She can usually be found reading book blurbs in the teen section of the library.