Sunday, January 13, 2013

Take A Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg

Talented kids enter the High School for the (Creative and) Performing Arts in New York City.  Each one is slightly different and over the course of their four years in school, they love and live and discover the important truths that will help them succeed in life.  Yes, if you're my age, you saw the movie version of this.  If you're a bit younger, you might remember the TV series.  But if you're a teen now, you have this book (one of the great joys of YA is that there is no institutional memory so even a seminal film like Fame can be forgotten).

In this take on the story, we focus on the kids' final year and have only four characters:  driven but obnoxious Sophie who is going to succeed whatever the costs; sweet talented Emme who sits in Sophie's shadow;  Carter, the child actor superstar who is fleeing his fame to have a "normal" life in high school; and Ethan, the dark brooding bad boy with issues but a soft spot for Emme.  Very quickly, Sophie establishes herself as an evil bitch and the reader spends the rest of the book just waiting for justice to lower an axe on her.  Famous boy Carter doesn't really have any issues that can't be resolved with some conversation.  So, that leaves us with the starcrossed lovers of Emme and Ethan.  By the last fifty pages, every character in the book (along with the readers) are basically shouting at the pair to just get over it and shag each other!  In sum, not much of a plot, but it keeps moving and is oddly enticing enough to make you want to finish.

There are some nice stylistic twists (Carter always speaks in script, as a way of hitting us over the head with a clue-by-four that he sees his entire life as a performance) and Sophie is consistently loathsome, making it easy for us to hate her.  This isn't a book that makes you think.  Just some good escape literature.

[Full disclosure:  I received a free review copy of this book from Scholastic/Point and will be donating my copy to our local public library after I have finished with it]

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