Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.
Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.
What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.
Gr 9 Up—When the Beaconville High School Performing Arts Department announces Les Misérables as its spring musical, stage manager Mel is ecstatic. However, whenever she becomes involved with anyone during the production of a show, a curse seems to plague the performance. So when her fellow techies suggest that she refrain from any romantic entanglements as they stage the musical, Mel finds herself in a bind, as she is attracted to Odile Rose. Only when tech director Will explains the foolishness of believing in curses does Mel resist peer pressure and stage a dramatic "promposal" at the opening night curtain call, thereby publicly declaring her relationship with her actress girlfriend. Drama abounds—onstage and off—in this spirited tale of high school love and angst. As in Talley''s other novels, gay and bi relationships are accepted as "just part of life" by kids and adults (Mel has two dads, Will is openly gay), allowing the characters to freely discuss their romantic inclinations without backlash, and ethnic and racial diversity is the norm (Mel and Odile are white, Will is Black, and other characters are of various backgrounds). Theatrical jargon is generally explained in context, although "catwalk" is misidentified as a "narrow stretch of wire." References to Broadway shows, theatrical traditions, and professional-level rehearsal procedures abound, especially in the "Stage Management notes" following each chapter—intriguing for aficionados and instructive for neophytes. The fast-paced dialogue propels the plot to a predictable but satisfying finale. VERDICT An ultra-modern fiesta of theatrical joie de vivre for high school readers.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence
“Melody McIntyre''s love of theater is entirely infectious…Tally''s latest will instantly hook theater kids as well as readers who''ve never even heard a track from
Les Mis glancing at their drama club sign-up sheet.” --
"A love letter to high school theater." --
Music from Another World) has fun portraying the details of running tech, the divide between techies and actors, and the teamwork that theater requires… A story that will entertain both true theater geeks and readers who’ve never considered life onstage or backstage.” --
Praise for AS I DESCENDED: “... A devastating marriage of the stunningly unexpected with the maddeningly inevitable. This adaptation’s bewitching intrigues and enthralling deceptions will whet the daggers of any reader’s mind.”
“Talley creates a dark and twisted gothic boarding school setting replete with vengeful spirits, drugs, and suicide in this Shakespeare-inspired tragedy… that lulls readers into a false sense of security while setting them up for the next chilling event.” --
“An intriguing, appropriately atmospheric take on one of Shakespeare’s most spine-tingling plays.”
“Those familiar with the source material will not be surprised at how the story plays out, but knowing the eventual outcomes does not diminish Talley’s dark tale about fate and ambition… Highly recommended.” -- School Library Journal
“Fans of horror will find that Talley comes up with some genuinely creepy scares, and her Shakespeare-inspired story is solid and compelling.” -- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Praise for PULP: Talley, already accomplished at weaving historical detail into engaging narratives, pulls off an expansive story encompassing a host of characters ... A sweeping, engrossing drama full of important moments. Recommended for all library collections. -- School Library Journal
Not many YA novels contain one lesbian romance, let alone four, but Talley’s newest pulls it off, while creatively --
The superlative pacing will hook readers. ... Suspenseful parallel lesbian love stories deftly illuminate important events in LGBTQ history. --
This ambitious novel is startlingly original. -- The Guardian
Praise for OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE: < A diverse story of first times and finding oneself. ... An important and heartfelt contribution to contemporary teen lit about queer women: hopeful, realistic, and romantic, Talley’s newest is sure to satisfy. --
This pitch-perfect romance is all heart, touching on serious issues but never becoming too heavy, and will be a strong addition to any teen collection. -- School Library Journal
Reminiscent of Sara Ryan’s Empress of the World (2001), Talley’s latest is a sweet love story about discovering who you want to be with and, more important, who you want to be. --
Robin Talley is a queer author who grew up in southwest Virginia and now lives in Washington, DC, with her wife and their kids. She is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels for teen readers: Music from Another World, Pulp, Our Own Private Universe, As I Descended, The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre, What We Left Behind, and Lies We Tell Ourselves. You can find her on the web at www.robintalley.com.