June 10, 2012

Review: Take a Bow

I love Elizabeth Eulberg. I have been a fan ever since I read The Lonely Hearts Club the week it came out. Her stories makes me feel good about life, like a John Hughes teen movie. Her latest novel, Take a Bow, is no exception. As a matter of fact, I would give it a standing ovation!

gorgeous cover!
Summary (from book jacket):

Chasing fame.
Chasing love.
Chasing a future.

Emme has long lived in her best friend Sophie’s shadow. She writes songs, and Sophie sings them. It’s always been like this, and feels like it always will be.

Sophie will stop at nothing to be a star. Even if it means using her best friend and picking up a trophy boyfriend, Carter.

Carter is a victim of a particular Hollywood curse: He’s a former child star. Now all he wants is a normal life. But being normal is about as hard for him as being famous.

Ethan has his own issues—a darkness in his head that he just can’t shake. He’s managed to sabotage every relationship he’s ever been in. Emme’s the only girl he’s ever respected…but he’s not sure what to do about that.

Emme, Sophie, Cater, and Ethan are all students at a performing arts school, where talent is the norm and fame is the goal. But sometimes, being in the spotlight isn’t as important as the people you’re sharing it with—as the four of them are going to find out in Elizabeth Eulberg’s excellent new novel, which is about the auditions life puts us through every day, both big and small.

My thoughts:

This novel is a throwback to the 1980s teen movies. As a matter of fact, the entire time I was reading it, I was seeing a movie in my head, starring the cast from The Breakfast Club.

The focus in this novel is simple: how do you balance life with your hopes and your dreams, and can you make those happen without hurting the ones you love? Through the abstract ideas of friendship, romance, jealously, and redemption, readers will have their answer.

Through the characters of Emme and Sophie readers will experience the true meaning of friendship, even if it is one-sided. One of these characters embodies all that it means to be frenemies, and the interplay is well-executed. Emme is, by far, my favorite character in the novel. Sophie is the resident "mean girl" full of insecurity, and this brings the worst out in her.

In the character of Carter readers will get self-doubt. While those around him seem to melt over everything he does, he knows deep down inside it is not his talent but his name to which they are attracted. He struggles with how to break out of the shadow of his “Hollywood” persona into his own person. I think readers will be surprised with the outcome.

And then there is Ethan. Every good YA novel needs a bad boy, right? Ethan fills that glass, and then some. In truth, Ethan is not really a bad boy. He is more of a lost soul searching for the truth in his own life, and in love.

This novel will appeal to all readers of YA, but especially those that enjoy Stephanie Perkins. Both authors have the same feel to their novels. If you’ve not read books by either author, I recommend you add them to your mound of reads. You will not be disappointed.

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