Disney’s Radio Rebel Positive Influence

Last night, we watched a family movie on the Disney Channel called Radio Rebel. Can I just say that if I was still a tween or teen, this would have been one of my favorite movies? I would have watched it over and over again, the way I always did with my favorites back then. Starring Disney sweetheart Debby Ryan, the movie follows high school senior Tara, so shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But secretly, she has another identity as confident host of the Radio Rebel show — and to her own surprise, she’s a hit.

I loved how this movie encouraged kids to be themselves and take a chance, even if it means standing apart from their friends or going outside their comfort zone. I could even relate to it as an adult, as I’m soft-spoken and introverted when around others in my every-day life, however, confident and a risk-taker in my other role as an author. Since I write young adult books myself, I was interested to know that this movie was based on the book Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph, which I hope kids will check out.

I’m a sucker for underdog stories, and included similar themes in my YA novel Dark Before Dawn, appropriate for ages 12 and up. When teen psychic Dawn Christian gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor and two girls who share her mysterious talents, she finally belongs after years of being a misfit. When she learns her new friends may be tied to freak “accidents” in town, Dawn has an important choice to make – continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her. Like Tara in Radio Rebel, Dawn must learn to accept who she is, stand up for her beliefs and take some chances, as well as deal with bullies in the cool crowd.

If you have a tween or teen in the house, tell them to check out a re-run of Radio Rebel or to read Shrinking Violet. And if you think of it, also tell them about Dark Before Dawn. It can be hard not giving into peer pressure and finding your own inner power, and sometimes it’s inspiring to identify with a fictional character undergoing the same struggles.

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Stacy Juba's Characters At A Crossroads Blog


  1. This sounds like a movie that is perfect for teens/tweens/ and people of all ages. I want to watch it. I love the idea of being yourself. I haven’t read the book that the movie was based off of- but that sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for coming by, Jess. It was a fun movie and I’m interested in reading the book. I think it’s going to be replayed several times on the Disney Channel, as a soundtrack CD just came out, so they are doing a lot of marketing for the movie. Maybe you can catch it on the replay!

Stacy Juba