UPSTAGED by Patricia McCowan


Age Range: 12 - 18
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A stage-struck girl accustomed to getting the lead must face real competition when her dad moves her to Toronto.

When Ellie’s dad, who has begun hosting a morning television show, tells her about Toronto’s Youth Works Theater Company, she checks them out and is frightened to learn that she must audition—something she never had to do at home. She meets Marissa, a good singer who’s been with the company for three years and who treats Ellie like an amateur. She’s thrilled to learn she got a good part in the upcoming show but worries when she learns that the role is double cast, and Marissa will be playing the same part on alternating nights. She’s sure Marissa is trying to sabotage her throughout rehearsals and becomes equally certain that she is the better performer. When her dad tells her that his show will feature a singer from her show, she wants to be the one chosen. At last she and Marissa have a confrontation that forces Ellie to face some of her own weaknesses. McCowan provides her readers with an unreliable narrator, as Ellie, who certainly has real talent, frequently misreads the situation. She presents an accurate account of a theater company, with its off-site, dress, and technical rehearsals, and a convincingly diverse urban cast of secondary characters, although Ellie and Marissa are both white.

A nifty story for theater fans. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 12th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4598-1004-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2016


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