Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Life's a Cabaret, Old Chum!

Dramarama by E. Lockhart
3Q 4P J/S

I'm a drama geek through and through, so I knew I was going to enjoy this book. And I did. Anyone who is into theatre, especially musical theatre, will relate. (Alas, the part I can relate to all too well is the part about loving musical theatre but not being much of a singer!)

Sadye, formerly known as Sarah, is from a small town in Ohio as lacking in character as Cream of Wheat. ("In Brenton, Ohio, where I'm from, committing suicide would be redundant.") She's the only teen in town who cares anything about theater. The only way she can slake her love of the arts is by traveling twenty miles away four times a week to take a decent dance class. Nobody gets her. Until Demi.

Demi goes to Sarah's school, but neither of them realizes they have a mutual interest until Sarah sees an audition notice for Wildewood Academy of the Performing Arts Summer Theater Institute. She has only a week to prepare a song and learn a monolog. She can carry a tune, but truth to tell, she's not much of a singer. And she's never acted in her life. But she is a very good dancer, and she's counting on that to get her through.

The audition is pretty intimidating. Everyone is so GOOD! They can do it all - sing, dance, and act. Even though they Sarah doesn't really know Demi, at least he's a familiar face. Before they know it, the two have bonded, and Demi has even given Sarah a new name to match her new haircut: Sadye. He gives her encouragement, too, and some advice on how to approach her audition. Much to her delight, she actually gets accepted to the Institute. There was no question that Demi was going to be accepted. Not only can he act, sing, and dance, he's seriously good looking. He's a star waiting to be discovered.

And therein lies the problem. What happens when your best friend becomes a star and you have to settle for being a bit player? What happens when you realize you aren't as talented as you want to be?

This being a summer camp full of teens, you know that love is going to be involved, too. Demi is hog heaven, thrilled with being able to be himself, not having to act the straight guy so he doesn't get beaten up. But is he falling in love with the right guy? For that matter, is Sadye? Do any of the guys she has her eye on have his eye on her?

This is a book that I'd have been thrilled to read as a teen, when I prowled the shelves looking for books about acting. Finally, there's a book that deals with the work that goes into putting a show together, something that really focuses on teens honing their talents. But I got a little frustrated with Sadye at times. She knows she's not a good singer, but she really wants to be a performer. So why doesn't she even try to find a way to learn to sing better? So when she's depressed about not doing well with her singing, I can't say I felt all that sorry for her. On the other hand, Sadye gets into a lot of trouble for saying too much in some of her classes, and I did feel sorry for her then, because what she says appears to make sense. I kept yelling her in my head through the last half of my book, so I was quite happy to discover by the end that she'd heard me. ;) I won't say anything more than that!

Overall, I'd say this book veers towards the over-the-top, but doesn't ever really go too far. If you enjoy quick, light reads with a nice blend of romance, humor, suck-it-up-truth, and theater, theater, theater, you can't go wrong with this one.

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