Author: Maggie Harcourt
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: June 28, 2018
Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.
Gorgeously fresh, funny and commercial YA romance from the author of Unconventional, and The Last Summer of Us.
Review: Today I’m pleased to be reviewing Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt as part of its blog tour. I really enjoyed Harcourt’s Unconventional last year and I think her books keep getting better.
Theatrical tells the story of Hope, her mum was an opera singer and Hope grew up around the theatre. She doesn’t want to be on the stage herself, she wants to be the person running everything backstage. Hope gains an internship at a local theatre hosting a prestigious new play with celebrity Tommy Knight in the lead role.
I loved this book; I’d been in a bit of a reading rut but this book was just what I needed in order to bring myself back. It was sweet and really pulled me in which hadn’t happened for a while. Hope was a character I was rooting for the whole time and all of the characters felt three-dimensional and had something about them. George, the costume intern was particularly fun and a bit of a scene stealer. I also thought Tommy Knight was a perfect enigmatic, infuriating moody yet complex celebrity actor. The romance with Luke was genuinely sweet.
The dynamic Hope had with her family was interesting and I understood her need to stand and be seen on her own terms and not in the spotlight of her mum. It was also a little frustrating because I wanted Hope to be able to be more open about it, that said I did completely understand why she kept things quiet and I felt that was realistic.
Harcourt made the theatre a leading role in this novel rather than a mere setting and this is right. Theatres do have character, they have life in them and they breathe in their own way. This book really showed a love and respect for theatre and made this an inspirational place to be. I also loved seeing a focus on stage management rather than acting. People can forget about the staff backstage making the show a success and it was great to see them front and centre with the respect and focus they also deserve.
Theatre is an important art form and for many teenagers a great way to explore a passion for drama, art and find likeminded people. A great show is inspiring and takes the audience away. I was lucky enough to see Hamilton in London this year – that’s another post but it was amazing. As I left the theatre I felt more creative and inspired than I had in weeks. That’s theatre! So what I’m saying is theatre is a great setting for YA.
Theatrical was the perfect read to pick me up; it had a sweet romance, a great leading character who felt alive, humour and drama. Most importantly, it really conveyed and made its love of theatre infectious. Fans of contemporary YA will find so much to enjoy in this book; I highly recommend it. Thank you Stevie at Usborne for sending me a copy for review and also inviting me onto the blog tour!