At theater camp, a girl struggles to become the star performer her family pushes her to be.
Narrator Brooklyn Shepard comes from a family of theater people. When accepted as an apprentice at the famous Allerdale Playhouse, she knows it’s her chance to stop hiding behind the piano as a mere accompanist; Allerdale will make her the performer she’s meant to be. After all, she’s the daughter of the famous Lana Blake Shepard. But as soon as Brooklyn arrives at the prestigious summer-stock theater, she’s overwhelmed—maybe going was a mistake. Then she lays eyes on her stunning roommate, Zoe, a talented actress destined for Juilliard, and it isn’t long before the two become inseparable. Brooklyn leans on Zoe when, oddly, she’s not cast in any of the main stage productions. Zoe picks up a lead in Bye Bye Birdie but proves loyal even when others question Brooklyn’s talent. As the two girls edge closer, romance flourishes, leaving Brooklyn confused but exhilarated. Allerdale might not teach her what she hoped it would, but she learns more about herself than she could have ever expected. The two white girls form a palpable bond filled with sweet moments of emotional connection, but it’s Brooklyn’s epiphanies about what makes her an artist that really sing. Theater enthusiasts will relish all the details.
A tender coming-of-age story that refreshingly allows identity to trump romance. (Fiction. 14-18)