Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: A Part to Play

A Part to PlayTitle: A Part to Play
Series:  N/A
Author: Jennifer L. Fry
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Published: August 10, 2012 
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Kindle
Pages: 261
Source: Received from author
Read: February 27-March 3, 2013
In A Few Words: Intriguing at first, but then loses momentum
My Rating: 3 Stars

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?

Melissa's Musings:

This story started out a bit stiff, though the opening paragraph, comparing a storm to Lucy's mood was enough to draw me in. 

I did feel that the backstory was somewhat lacking. There are only brief snippets of explanation of Kate's accident and then Lucy ends up shuttled off by her parents to a music/drama boaridng school. I felt that there could have been a little more buildup here, maybe in the form of more flashbacks to life before the accident and right after, that would have helped to build the setup for her parents sending her away, that would have helped facilitate the transition. Without it, it just seems harsh and stilted, and the end doesn't seem quite as well rounded in terms of Lucy's relationship with her parents as it could have been.

In the beginning, Lucy's character is almost completely unfeeling. That in itself is fine, given the situation, but I was surprised with the fact that there was no real challenge to her behavior from her teacher's or her friends, until she gets in major trouble for sneaking out. 

While Isa's lack of pressure was concerning to the overall story, her easygoing nature was one of the things I loved about her the most. That and her semi-rebellious nature and her fiesty attitude. Isa's character had an edge to her that's quite likeable.  

I actually felt more connected to the secondary characters in the story than I did to Lucy. The secondary characters felt more fleshed out, and seemed to have more of a consistency to them. After a while Lucy's character just seemed to be inconsistent. She felt like she was running hot and cold. One second she was pissed off about her situation and angry at her parents, and the next she was thrown in to her romance with Chris and everything else became secondary to her including her friends. That bothered me because for someone who feels like they've been abandoned you'd think that she would understand and not put so much of her time into a relationship with a guy. And she does try to balance her friends and Chris, I will give Lucy that.

Chris makes things very difficult for her with his personality. As I was reading I became more and more put off by him. I found myself saying things like "what an asshole". while reading, that's how negative his character is. He has mood swings that to me bordered on being bipolar and a very controlling nature.  He started out all nice and sweet and things get progressively darker from there. I won't give away what happens between them, but lets just say there's a nice bit of growth on the part of one of the characters.

As for the story itself, I have to admit it was a lot more interesting in the beginning when Chris's character was a mystery man, possibly a ghost seranading Lucy with his music at night. I really liked the story up until the point of his introduction, but once Chris's character comes in, the story loses some of its' momentum, and it seems to become more about the trials and tribulations of dating than about Lucy coming to terms with her own demons and making her peace, which is what I felt was really at the heart of the story. The ending feels rushed and too wrapped up, which I feel conflicted about.

The reason I feel conflicted about the ending is because the author gives us a glimpse of Lucy's life after the end of her sophmore year. Most of the time, I love when an author gives us tiny glimpses like this. But in this case, it just doesn't feel right. It feels like it's wrapped up a little too neatly with the perfect happy ending. Especially the situation with Lucy's mom. They go from not talking at all, to one or two phone calls, to her being at Lucy's play, showering her with compliments. It felt like Lucy's mom got off too easily, the resolution wasn't quite as significant as it could have been.

Overall, this is a well thought out story, and the twist of having Lucy be sent away after the death of her sister is certainly a unique one in the subset of books that deal with family tragedy.

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