Title: Take a Bow
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Gifted (Hardcover)
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.
I first found out about Elizabeth Eulberg with her novel The Lonely Hearts Club. One thing I loved about that story was that it was about music! One of my favourite things! Naturally, when I saw that she had another book out that was about musicians and performers, I was excited – and happy when another blogger offered it up for grabs!
The funny thing is that I originally sat down to read this one before bed, intending on reading only a few pages (which is usually my bedtime routine of falling asleep immediately), but got so into the story that I read about 223 pages before I finally fell asleep. It sucked me in with the story of a group of friends at a performing arts school who all had their dreams of what they wanted to accomplish in their future in the business.
One thing I really enjoyed about the story was how it was written. We have a handful of characters and each chapter is from one of their points of view. Really, though, the story seems to revolve around Emme – shy Emme who loves to create music but still needs to come out of her shell when it comes to performing the songs that she writes. I felt like I could completely empathize with Emme. Being a songwriter myself, I have definitely hid behind my piano and have felt strange performing such intimate words in front of audiences.
Aside from Emme, I did enjoy all of the characters. Carter was another favourite of mine, with his story a little different from everyone else’s, seeing as he came to the school from fame and fortune. We also have Sophie, who was my least favourite character of the story, with her self-centeredness and backstabbing ways. There’s also Ethan, who I didn’t feel like I connected too much with, but his story definitely added to the overall enjoyment of the book.
The only downfall I could see with the book was the romance part of it. It’s not a HUGE part of the story, but I felt like it wasn’t entirely necessary. I think the story could’ve stood on its own two feet with it just being about these people coming together to make music and find their footing in the real world. The romance just felt a little forced and definitely not something that I will remember about the book.
In the end, this is a wonderful coming-of-age story, perfect for music lovers and musicians who have been in the same situations of having to compete with others for roles, or create that perfect song for an audition. The characters are enjoyable and at under 300-pages, readers will fly through it. I really look forward to seeing what Eulberg comes up with next!