Friday, April 29, 2022

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: Take a Bow
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication: Scholastic, hardcover, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
Setting: New York
Description: Emme, Sophie, Carter and Ethan are seniors at an exclusive performing arts high school in New York. Emme is a talented songwriter whose songs are usually performed by her friend Sophie. Sophie is a very ambitious singer determined to get the recognition she feels she deserves before she graduates. Carter is a former child star wondering if acting is his future and has begun to realize that Sophie is dating him only because he is a celebrity. Ethan is a talented musician and in a band with Emme and two of their male friends: the three boys resent Sophie because they know she is using Emme, although warm-hearted Emme can’t see this. Senior year at New York’s High School of the Creative and Performing Arts means key opportunities to impress the school’s alumni, often in prestigious jobs, as well as other VIPs. However, it also brings out some cut-throat behavior as the seniors focus on performing and applying to college, and friendships that ebb and flow as the year progresses. The real fun is watching these talented student-artists perform and achieve!

My Impression: I was in the mood for artistic teenagers and this was a fun book that reminded me of Glee. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of four interconnected students, the main character is Emme, who is kind and eager to help her friends. Emme is a doormat to the ambitious Sophie, who probably started out as a nice person but has become cynical due to lack of recognition and is cynically using her best friend since childhood – until some nasty text messages force Emme to face the truth. It is very reminiscent of the Patty and Ginger books by Janet Lambert where Patty has convinced Ginger that if Ginger has personality, Patty must have that - plus even more!  The characters were all fairly likable and even self-centered Sophie was if not sympathetic, at least relatable.

I especially appreciated Emme as Carter begins to realize he may have been a child acting star but now is more interested in art: rather than scold him back into his lane, she talks to him practically and connects him to a talented classmate, although she has troubles of her own. Carter’s evolution to an artist was quite impressive, as it would be easier for him to coast on his acting reputation. It was also interesting that Carter thought his mother was a gung-ho stage mother but she was surprisingly willing to let him quit acting and explore other interests, which I was not expecting. Ethan turns out to be in love with Emme but terrified of destroying their friendship, which has caused him to act out in ways that are inappropriate at any age. I would have preferred for Emme to wind up with thoughtful, perceptive Carter but the author clearly has a weakness for bad boys. I guess she is not alone!
I chose this for escapism and for Reading the Theatre Month with Lory at Entering the Enchanted Castle. I was also interested because my niece was thinking about auditioning for the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, on which this school is based. As you may know, LaGuardia was the setting for the 1980 film Fame. My niece is an eighth-grade dancer and this book focused on musicians but I imagine there are a lot of commonalities and I also suspect it is a lot more cutthroat than the author conveyed. I did enjoy the book, and also liked Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice, which I read in 2012.

Source: Library

1 comment:

Lory said...

It does sound fun, thanks for the review. I read When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord this month, a new title with teenages who also attend a NYC performing arts high school (although it takes place during the summer so the school is not actually part of the setting, regrettably in my opinion). I think you'd like that one too.