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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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.

For me, reading an Elizabeth Eulberg novel is like cleansing my mental palate. After I've read something particularly heavy, it's nice to give my brain a break by picking up a lighthearted novel with a quick pace and engaging characters, characteristics synonymous with her novels.

Take a Bow is the quintessential Eulberg novel... and it might be my favorite so far. Actually, I feel like this newest release had a bit more depth than The Lonely Hearts Club and significantly more than Prom & Prejudice. I really came to love Emme and Ethan and I don't think I've ever felt particularly attached to any of the characters in the other books, though I've definitely enjoyed them.

As a completely non-artistic person, I always find novels about those who are talented in this area fascinating. I know academic pressure, but competitive performing arts schools are a totally foreign concept to me and are a bit awe-inspiring. I find myself drawn to books and movies with this theme.

Despite being totally non-artistic, I closely identified with Emme. She's extremely shy and often overshadowed by the bossy and overbearing Sophie. I wanted Emme to step out of Sophie's shadow so badly... somebody had to take that girl down a notch!

Take a Bow has some darker elements that weren't present in Eulberg's first two novels. This offering addresses substance abuse and, to some extent, the ill effects of childhood celebrity, whether it be actual big-screen fame or hometown fame. I think the depth present in Take a Bow is what, ultimately, made it shine.

If you're a fan of Eulberg's novels, or you haven't read one but think you might like to, be sure to pick up Take a Bow.

Scholastic/Point, April 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780545334748, 278 pages.


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