Mary’s Book Review: Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

How Excited Was I To Read This Book? 5. Moderately excited. Not because I wasn’t already a fan of Elizabeth Eulberg – I totally enjoyed her previous books, Prom and Prejudice and The Lonely Hearts Club. But I’m not a drama person. And I knew that this book was set at a performing arts school.

How Excited Was I After I Read This Book? 9! I loved it. It turns out I actually am a drama person, just I didn’t know it! This was a quick, fun read with likeable characters in an interesting setting. I read it in one afternoon – it made for the perfect way to escape for a few hours.

Book Jacket: 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.

Review: I knew this book was set at a performing arts high school, but I hadn’t realized how much of the focus would be on music. I suppose from the title I was expecting actors (yes, I should have paid more attention to the cover or picked it up and read the book jacket earlier!) I love a good band story! Lemonade Mouth for the Disney-version, Bandslam for the indie-comedy-version (with a little Disney thrown in, hi Vanessa Hudgens!), or, my personal favorite, School of Rock, for the Jack-Black-take. Cross those movies with the greatest film of our generation, and you begin to get a feel for this book.

The biggest surprise for me was how well the performing arts setting translated to the page. I give credit to Elizabeth Eulberg for being able to write a story in which musical compositions and performances played such a major role, yet nothing felt missing. I would of course LOVE to hear a song written by Emme or Ethan, but I didn’t need to in order to enjoy their story. You can tell from reading the book that Eulberg loves music. The passion is translatable and relateable, even for those of us without any musical genes whatsoever.

And speaking of lack of musical talent, this book gave me the chance to vicariously live the dream of being in a band with three awesome, protective-in-a-cool way boys. Correction: it gave me the dream, and then allowed me to vicariously live it. The message that you should pursue what you love was well-served also.

My verdict: Band camp, here I come. (Just kidding! Or maybe I could play the recorder?) But really, the message of the story transcends music. It’s about self-discovery – both of talents and of who you want to be. It’s a story I am always happy to read, particularly when presented in such an enjoyable way! Highly recommended!

Unresolved-But-Maybe-Resolved (?!) Sexual Tension: How could there not be? Emme’s in a band with three guys! She gets to be that hot chick guitar player. Go Emme! I won’t give too much away, but there are several nice guys that make an appearance and may or may not vie for the heart of our red head with a heart of gold. (sidenote: the story is told from the perspective of four different characters, but as is probably obvious from this review – and quickly obvious to a reader – it is Emme that’s at the heart of this book).

Recommended For: Music fans and those that love a good high school drama.

If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: Audrey Wait! by Robin Benway. It’s another fun high school book with a heavy dose of music appreciation.