A Part to Play
by Jennifer L. Fry
Plot Summary:When fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.
One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?
Review:I feel there are two strong emotional arcs in this story that make up the heart of the narrative. The first is the loss of Lucy’s sister in a car accident and the devastating effects on her family. The emotional realism of Lucy’s deteriorating family is vivid and well-realized, and made me choke up multiple times. I felt like the author brilliantly captured the emotion of this family trauma and Lucy’s efforts to cope drove the first part of the story.
In comparison, the second emotional arc - the romantic attachment between Lucy and Chris, the secret musician felt less well-built. It’s insta-love on a certain level, although Lucy and Chris’s emotional damage does explain their strong connection. I did feel that this part of the story could have been more effective dramatically if more time was spent on Lucy and Chris getting to know each other. And with Chris I would have liked to know more about his character - his history and what drives his behavior. The tension over Chris's volatile personality was perfectly pitched however, as I was very intrigued by his character.
This book was a quick read for me, because the author did a great job building the characters of Lucy and her family and I wanted to know more about how her relationship with Chris and her friends would help heal her. This is an inspiring story with realistic, contemporary drama and characters.
review copy kindly provided by the author in connection with Young Adult Novel Reader Book Tours
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