Four students at a high school for the performing arts find that sometimes life’s most important auditions happen off-stage.
Told from the point of view of each of the four main characters, this narrative chronicles the unique situations affecting artists as well as the very familiar drama of high school. Emme, a talented songwriter, longs to be more than the behind-the-scenes talent. Carter, a former child star, is frustrated as the past he wants to put behind him keeps rearing its head. Sophie, a powerhouse singer, wants it all, even if it means alienating the very people she needs the most. Finally, Ethan cannot figure out how he can be so smart about music and so dumb about love. The story, based on the familiar premise of artsy teens, shows surprising depth as it tackles issues including emotional vulnerability, authenticity and betrayal. Realistic dialogue and a healthy dose of teen angst keep the pages turning. Unfortunately, Emme’s and Ethan’s stories quickly outpace Carter’s and Sophie’s, causing the story to lag even as it progresses. The ending, while predictable, is never cloying, managing to be both genuinely sweet and emotionally satisfying.
Stage-worthy despite its missteps. (Fiction. 12-18)