Teen Idol is a stand-alone novel written by Meg Cabot. It was published by Harper Collins in July 2004.
Many thanks to all of those who helped in the creation of this book, including Beth Ader, Jennifer Brown, Bill Contardi, Michele Jaffe, Laura Langlie, and Abigail McAden, and the faculty and students of Bloomington High School South, circa 1981-1985, on whom the author swears none of the characters in this book are based.
"High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving problems ... so good she's the school newspaper's anonymous advice columnist. Even if solving other people's problems doesn't make her own—like not having a boyfriend—go away, it's still fun. But when nineteen-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jenny's small town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair ... especially since she's right in the middle of it.
Can Jenny, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love at last?"
Jenny 'Jen' Greenley is a high school junior living in the small town of Clayton, Indiana. She is secretly the school newspaper's advice columnist, 'Ask Annie', a job she gets due to her ability to keep others' secrets and help people with their problems - something she has been doing her entire life. Teen film star and heartthrob Luke Striker is making a movie about high school, but having grown up on television, he knows nothing about the lifestyle of real teenagers. When he decides to go undercover at Clayton High School to research his role, the principal assigns Luke as Jen's responsibility; she is expected to show him around the school, help him integrate, and most importantly, keep his true identity secret from her fellow students.
During his time at Clayton, Luke is appalled by the vicious hierarchy of high school and tells Jen that she should start taking a stand for the people who can't speak for themselves, rather than just consoling them and letting it happen again and again. After Luke's true identity is revealed at a school car wash and he is forced to return to LA, Jen realizes that she has the power to do so, and starts making serious changes in the lives of others and herself as well, morphing from "nice little Jenny Greenley, everybody's best friend" to Jen, effector of social change". She quits her hated show choir class, foils the "cruel" senior prank, and befriends unpopular outcast Cara. When she confronts her best friend Trina about her poor treatment of her boyfriend Steve, Trina begins to get angry. Compounded by the discovery that Jen is going to the school's annual Spring Fling with Luke, who asked her as an apology for the trouble he caused, she is furious, and refuses to speak to Jen for several days. However, despite the newfound media exposure surrounding Clayton, Jen's feelings for Luke remain platonic. Meanwhile, she grows closer to Scott, a fellow junior and editor of the school newspaper. Trina eventually realizes that she has overreacted, makes up with Jen, and reunites with Steve.
At the Spring Fling, after Luke and Jen are crowned king and queen, Luke reveals that he is going out with Geri Lynn - a senior and friend of Jen's - and also tells Jen that he knows she is Annie, much to her surprise. He encourages Jen to follow her own advice and confess her true feelings for Scott, who is Geri's ex. Jen, Trina, and several classmates leave the dance and head over to an anti-Spring Fling party where Scott is. Nervously, Jen agrees to take a walk with him, during which, after a heated discussion, he reveals that the only reason he has not told Jen about his true feelings sooner is because he thought she was in love with Luke. Scott and Jen finally admit their feelings for one another and share a kiss.
The novel ends with Luke and Geri together in LA, and Scott and Jen in a relationship as well. Jen, aided by Trina and Cara, is running for student body president next year, but half-jokingly notes that she "might be aiming a little too low. I'm thinking, a girl with my people skills? Well... why not the White House?"
- Main article: List of Teen Idol characters