by Laura DeLuca
Plot Summary:The "Phantom" was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses "Phantom" as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card. Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars-Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist. Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn't know who to trust, but she knows she's running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.
Expectations:A novel based around Phantom of the Opera!? Yes please! I’m a big fan of the musical, and I have not read fiction based around it before, so I was very intrigued.
Review:I read that the author’s influences includes R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, and I think this novel fits perfectly into that particular category of Young Adult thrillers. I used to devour those kinds of books when I was in high school, and I felt transported to that time while reading Phantom - totally caught up in the story and drama and suspense, and trying to figure out whodunit. Stories like these always seem to have a certain formula to them though, so quite a bit before the end of the book I guessed who the killer was, but I still didn’t understand why. The suspenseful romance in this book - which mirrors the love triangle in The Phantom of the Opera - also kept me turning pages, as it is so intense and mercurial. Although the love triangle reflects Christine's dilemma in the original book very well, I felt that in this novel it is much clearer who Rebecca should end up with so the suspense does not lie so much in that direction but in whether the two will be able to be together.
I was really impressed by how the author worked in aspects of the musical to reflect the action of the story and even how lyrics from the songs in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical were re-written to still reflect their lyric counterpart. An example - spinning off Music of the Night:
“Let the music touch your soul.
Let the darkness make you whole.
Do not fear what is unknown.
Your true path has now been shown.
Listen to the words I sing.
Embrace the peace that night will bring.”
There were nods to the original novel as well, making this book a fantastic tribute to The Phantom of the Opera.
Rebecca, thankfully, is a stronger character than the character she plays in the musical, although Rebecca can be pretty indecisive and does make her share of bad decisions which made me want to shake her. She can pull herself together when she needs to and the moments when she takes charge are some of the best in the book. Justyn is especially mesmerizing as the shunned, misunderstood new kid, with manners and wit and intelligence. I loved the scenes between him and Rebecca! The story is rounded out with a properly nail-biting conclusion and a few surprises. This is such a fast-paced, well-woven tale, every bit as beguiling as the Phantom himself!
review copy kindly provided by the author in connection with Young Adult Novel Reader Book Tours