Release Date ~ April 1, 2012
Point ~ Scholastic
Review copy received from Scholastic Canada
From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.
Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
Although I had heard some really great things about this book from other bloggers and friends, I still didn't know very much about it (to the point where I really didn't even read the description) so I had no idea what to expect when I started reading Take a Bow.
At first, I was hesitant that a book with 4 perspectives of different characters could be succinct and poignant rather than confusing and convoluted. But I was wrong- the lives of these 4 teens are so intertwined that it's fascinating to watch their stories unfold together, as told from POVs from each of them.
- A story about growth and those pesky highschool years:
For such a relatively short book, Take a Bow takes place over a rather extended period of time. The book takes place during their senior year of highschool, but includes a number of flashbacks to explain their relationships to one another and personal backgrounds. This is something I often find hard to do in YA books, because I've read so many that tried and just weren't able to keep me from feeling bogged down and confused in past history that I don't understand and characters I can't tell apart from one another. But Elizabeth tries this and is successful- with 4 entire characters that all stand apart on their own but come together to tell one story. That's HARD to do- this isn't a story that just happened to fall together. It's one that was masterfully woven into something beautiful.
- Truly real characters:
Honestly, I feel like I KNOW Carter, Emme, Ethan and even Sophie. It's remarkable how much these 4 remind me of myself at times, and those I grew up with and even know now. There are those you like and those you're frustrated with and those you admire and those you really can't stand but put up with for a time regardless. These four are flawed, but they're strong and remarkable in their own way. And some of them learn from mistakes, but not all of them do.
- A passionate story:
Here's what I loved most about Take a Bow: the passion these four feel for the things they love- it's just RIPPLING in waves off of the pages. It seems like you can actually feel how much they love certain things, and how hard they're willing to work for it. Whether it's a hobby or a person, or a goal, each of them ha something to feel passionate about. And I think that's so important for everyone to remember, to find something we each feel passionate about that we can dedicate time and effort towards simply because it makes us happy and enjoy life a little bit more.
Similarily, I also felt like that in some ways Ethan's story was kind of lacking. So much of it is spent agonizing over his love life, that I didn't feel like I had a good sense of what ELSE was going on in his life. Including the few mentions of the voices in his head- I really wasn't clear where we were trying to go with that.
I honestly was not expecting to LOVE Take a Bow as much as I did; it's so unlike the typical books I'd pick out for mysef, but that's exactly what I love about book blogging- I really get to open myself up to new books I normally would never have picked up and that's exactly what Take a Bow was for me.