In the “razzle dazzle deprived” small town of Brenton, Ohio, Sarah was just a tall girl with a big nose who loved dancing and was obsessed with musical theater. Deep inside of Sarah is a star waiting to be born, or as she calls it, “a lurking bigness.” This star is Sadye – a diva who is full of charm, talent and charisma just waiting to be set loose on the stage! When the flyer for Wildewood Academy Summer Drama Camp auditions went up, Sarah knew this could be her ticket out of Brenton where Sadye could be fully unleashed. Sadye is admitted to Wildewood along with her gay best friend Demi – who has a heaping amount of bigness himself – and together they embark on a journey that could determine their future. But when Demi steals shows and hearts while Sadye struggles along, the strength of their friendship is also put to the test. Will Wildewood Academy set them on the path towards Broadway Stardom? Will they overcome the stress on their friendship? Or will they learn that life is not just a cabaret?
This book was a well written, enjoyable read. The characters were realistic, and the situations that took place were very believable, all while weaving in important themes and messages. With a personal background in music and performing arts, I was able to relate to the book and found it rather enjoyable. While I didn’t get every single one, I was able to at least understand most of the references to plays, musicals and Broadway performers. That said I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself the “norm” and can definitely see how someone with little to no interest or knowledge of musical theater would struggle with this book, but would highly recommend this to big fans of the television show “Glee.” Some may also find issue with the mentions of underage drinking, and that the book also has a strong LGBT factor since the best friend of the main character is gay. People who are uncomfortable with the homosexual themes or innuendo might shy away from this book. Ultimately providing a positive LGBT message, the book illustrates the struggles of Demi as an African American, gay teen in a small town where homosexuality is largely unaccepted, and how at home he feels at drama camp where he can be himself in all his “fabulosity.” The book claims to focus on the relationship between Sarah/Sadye and Demi, and how attending the Summer Drama Camp puts their relationship in jeopardy, but I felt that much more of the focus was on the development of Sadye on her own from what she was able to learn from her fellow classmates.
How do you get from a small town high school to the Broadway Stage? For Demi and Sadye, Wildewood Academy Summer Drama Camp is their best bet and you can expect their summer will be chock full of drama — both on and off the stage.
Information about the Author
From the author’s website:
My books have been translated into 10 foreign languages. Or maybe more. I have a doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University and have taught composition, literature and creative writing courses at Columbia, Barnard and NYU. I have given guest lectures on writing for children at places which include Hamline University, VT College, Hofstra University and Kindling Words.
Twenty-one things you don’t know about me, even if you’ve read through this whole website:
1. I have wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old.
2. I wrote two novels in third grade.
3. I was the fastest typist in my 8th-grade typing class. We learned on manual typewriters.
4. Now I write everything on computer, sometimes with my eyes closed.
5. Favorite lipsticks: Bobbi Brown Cherry. Clinique Black Honey.
6. Movie star crush: Daniel Craig.
7. First car: a white 1964 Volvo with a push-button starter.
8. I make a lot of home movies. You can see the book-related ones here.
9. I am a vegetarian and for a number of years ate a vegan diet (no animal products whatsoever) because I object to the way animals are treated in the meat and dairy industries. I will probably go back to eating vegan again someday, but for now:
10. My favorite ice cream is Häagen Dazs dolce de leche.
11. I swam with sting-rays once.
12. I like wax museums.
13. I used to like roller coasters, but now I’m scared of them. Even so:
14. I love amusement parks. My favorite ride of all time is Pirates of the Caribbean.
15. I used to cry after my fiction writing class in college, because the criticism was so harsh.
16. The teacher of that class was so bored by my work he admitted to me he didn’t even read the final drafts of my stories.
17. I have never kept a journal for more than a couple days. I like to write for an audience, even if it’s only an imaginary one.
18. My advice to aspiring writers: read, read, read. Read the great novelists, especially. Try Great Expectations. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Eyre.
19. More (contradictory!) advice: follow your reading bliss. Gnaw your way through the local library’s sci-fi or romance collection, if that’s what does it for you.
20. I am difficult to recognize. Despite a large and unusual tattoo, people often forget they’ve met me, or tell me I look very different from the last time they saw me.
21. I used to not reveal my first name, just to be mysterious, but then I had to change my website URL. I couldn’t have e-lockhart or elockhart because they were taken or infected by spambots; emilylockhart was the best address available, so now everyone knows.
Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit, LGBT
Sadye’s penchant for recording her and her friends for posterity gets her in trouble when her roommate listens to the tape where Sadye is saying mean things about her. How would you feel if you happened upon something mean a friend said about you? Would you be able to forgive them?
Demi feels like he has to make himself invisible at his high school as a gay black teen in a small town. Should he not be able to be himself?
Reading Level/ Interest Age
- Positive LBGT themes and occasional homosexual innuendo.
- Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
- Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
- Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
- Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.
I came across this book while browsing the downloadable audiobooks available from my library. As a musical lover and musician myself, I was drawn to the concept of the book and decided to read it for inclusion it in my blog project. While I found the book to be slightly cheesy at times, I’m glad to have read it and am sure I will encounter situations to use this book as a reading suggestion.