Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WILL by Maria Boyd


by Maria Boyd

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: July 13th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-86209-0
Publisher: Knopf

Aussie soccer jock and guitar player Will is forced to join the band of his high school’s musical as punishment for mooning a bus full of girls. Since his father’s sudden death a year ago, Will has buried his feelings by pulling pranks and ignoring the consequences. Once in the cast, he finds himself crushing on the female lead, navigating a cautious friendship with the gay male lead and unexpectedly mentoring an adoring seventh grader. With the help of his new friends, he finally acknowledges his deep sadness and begins to heal. For a novel with the tagline, “Death by high school musical?” a little more musical detail, à la E. Lockhart’s Dramarama (2007), would have been nice. Instead readers are given a hefty dose of My So-Called Life through pages of Will’s internal angst rather than the Glee the package seems to promise. Furthermore, Will’s English assignment of cataloging teen stereotypes within the musical feels clunky and didactic. Still, Will’s feelings and relationship struggles are authentic, and the dialogue is crisp when the author pulls her message punches. (Fiction. 12 & up)