Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt
From Goodreads: 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.
This was one of those books that made me hover by the front door, waiting for the postman to deliver it. Unconventional was one of my favourite YA reads of last year, and I couldn’t wait to dive back into Maggie’s funny and witty writing with Theatrical which is… you guessed it, all about the theatre and the glorious romances that take place off stage.
One of the things I really love about Maggie’s writing is how easy it is to sink into her books and just enjoy them. Considering I’ve just been toiling my way through The Queens of Innis Lear it was a wonderful change-up to read something light, fluffy and laugh out loud funny. Hope is very like Lexi from Unconventional in some ways, she’s also very driven and under a lot of pressure, but I find these characters so great because of that. They have actual ambitions and goals, beyond just getting the guy. And that’s unfortunately something I don’t see a whole lot of in contemporary YA, so I’m chuffed to bits that this book packs such a goal-driven punch. Also, when we do get to the romance in this book, it’s just so fluuuuuufffy. Seriously, baby kittens can’t come close to this. I found myself swooning over every moment of it, and then doing my signature tea-kettle whistling scream excitement noise as I hastened back to revisit each scene just one more time.
Other characters also jumped out off the page. Hope is great because she’s so human, and I think even if readers haven’t encountered the exact same problems she faces, it is easy to put yourself in her shoes. Tommy is an interesting one to watch. I won’t give anything away because the book isn’t even out yet, but I love the human touches to his character. Maggie does such an excellent job of making sure no character is entirely black and white.
The thing that I found the most astounding though is how well researched the book is. I found myself learning soooooo much about the theatre, from the jobs of the actors and what they’re required to do, as well as stage manager and costuming stuff, superstitions and rituals and just little facts that are woven in there. It does a great job of letting the reader in, ushering us through those doors and into our seats as we get to be immersed in the world of the theatre.
Plot-wise there are some mild points of criticism. Some of the things which happen [especially towards the end of Theatrical] seem a bit too obvious, and I saw them coming a mile off. The romance too, is pretty clear-cut even in the synopsis of the book. So this probably isn’t a top recommendation for anyone who likes their YA with a big dose of surprise on the side, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing ever. I mostly picked it up for something fluffy and entertaining to read, and I got exactly what I asked for.
Overall, I’m giving Theatrical a 9/10 stars. I loved the cute romance and the characters, and every bit of theatre knowledge crammed into the pages. I can’t wait to see what Maggie does next!
Theatrical is released June 28th by Usborne. If you want to pre-order a copy, you can do so through Waterstones here, Amazon UK here, and Book Depository here. Please note that I am now a Book Depository affiliate, so if you purchase any books through them using the links on my blog, I will be able to earn a small amount of credit to use for future purchases.
Has anyone else already read this book or plan on reading it? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below 😀