Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.
Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.
This book has given me fresh perspective about theater arts and performing. I haven’t read a lot of books with actors as main characters so this book has been a fun ride for me, not to mention a really interesting turn of events in the book.
This book is about Rebecca Rivers, one-fifths of the Essential Five, a group of thespians who swore never to date or kiss one another. They were basically the Kings and Queens of the school theater program. Rebecca got the female lead role for a Tenessee Williams play, where she plays Blanche DuBois, opposite Charlie Lamb, playing Stanley. Rebecca was smart and a fun character, although her confusion sort of made me crazy. I love her relationship with her sister, Mary. Her chemistry with Charlie was pretty cool too until shit happened.
Charlie was pretty charming at first but I had grown indifferent of him. He and Rebecca got together but they fell out when that particular “shit” went down and he never even stood up for her. Pretty effing smooth, kid.
Liane, one of the Essential Five, was really admirable, with such loyalty and kindness. Even though it seemed that she and Rebecca had differences, Liane being Charlie’s ex, they turned out to be good friends.
I love the theatrics of this book. I learned a lot about theater and other stuff. I was also surprised by this book. I think it’s the first time I read a YA book with a student-teacher relationship theme, not that any of it was true. Even though the book had that topic, it was pretty much a light read. Not to mention, queer characters and strong family relationships were present in this book. I would recommend this book for people looking for a light read but with content.
About Emily Adrian
Emily Adrian was born in 1989 in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Portland State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she worked as a receptionist while secretly writing books.
Emily currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their dog named Hank. Like It Never Happened is her debut novel.