Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
*ARC supplied by Laci at Blog-O-Rama - thank you!*
Finding an author whose work you simply love and feel a connection to over and over again, book after book is the closest thing I know to winning the lottery. It's a rare thing to find, but when it does, man does it feel amazing!
I first was introduced to the brilliant mind of Elizabeth Eulberg when I read Prom and Prejudice last spring, a fantastic modern retelling of one of my favorite books of all time, the Jane Austen classic. I then immediately read The Lonely Hearts Club and the good times kept on coming. But with Take a Bow, would Eulberg hold three for three in my mind? You bet she did.
Emme, Sophie, Carter, and Ethan are all students at an incredibly competitive performing arts high school in New York City, and the four of them couldn't be more different about why they're there or what they want out of it. Sophie has a Plan - she is going to be a star and there is nothing and no one who can stand in her way. Carter is a former child star and acting is all he's ever known, but he's anxious to explore what else is out there. Ethan is a brilliant musician and composer, loyal to his friends but less-so to his on-and-off girlfriend. Emme is a music composition student too, writing songs for best friend Sophie to sing that absolutely shine and also playing in a student rock band with Ethan, but she's never been one for the spotlight. Of course no one's senior year of high school is ever completely smooth sailing, and this is no exception.
I can't say enough good things about this book! Though I did not go to a performing arts school, the situations that the characters were facing were still incredibly relatable to me. None of them are perfect (a few are actually very far from being so), but I still found myself nodding, thinking "yup, we had one of those at my school, too." The focus on friendships and trying to navigate how they work especially when your world is changing was sweet and clearly thought out. Plus, I must admit that as a former bando and member of the drama club in my teenage days, I have a soft spot for novels and authors who speak to the fact that music and the arts have a special way of touching the soul and that they do matter, especially in today's educational system that is so driven by other factors. Not all lessons are learned in the classroom and don't be surprised when the students are actually the teachers.
While I would have liked just a smidge more of the secondary characters (I loved the other two boys that completed Emme and Ethan's band - hilarious!), Take a Bow still gets a standing ovation from me. As with all of Eulberg's novels, I feel like her characters and mine (in my incredibly unpublished novel, but maybe someday...) would hang out and all get along really well. I cannot wait to see what Eulberg comes up with next.
Comments welcome and, as always, happy reading!
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