Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ashley's Review of A Part to Play by Jennifer L. Fry

My Pre-Reading

*I received this book from the author in return for a fair review*

Amazon | Goodreads | Rogue Phoenix Press

I really wasn't expecting all that much from this book, but I was definitely surprised by all that it gave me! Although I don't really read much contemporary YA, I thought this one was a pretty good representation of what a teenager going through such a tragic event might act like and do.

While Lucy is definitely a well-structured character, and she definitely grows and matures and begins to move past the loss of her older sister, I felt like a lot of the minor characters were pretty stagnant and could have used a little more development. Lucy's friends, for instance, are basically only there to help her deal with her boy problems. She never confides in them about her sister, and I don't really think any teenager would be able to go that long without talking to someone about it. And although Nicole has a little bit of depth, her relationship with Lucy is never really explained very much and is kind of just dismissed after one short heart-to-heart.

And then we have Chris. While I applaud Lucy in her decision to eventually end things, it's kind of predictable that that's where it's going. And I was actually surprised that Lucy found the strength to even break it off. Chris is a total jerk though. And kind of creepy. And he gives me that "Phantom of the Opera" vibe - crazy musician playing in the middle of the night underneath the auditorium who falls head over heels for a girl he barely knows and insists that they are each other's muses and neither can succeed without the other. Plus, throw in some extreme jealousy, a devastating loss, and a girl who wants out of a bad relationship and you've got a modern retelling of Phantom of the Opera.

But, I'm not going to lie, that's kind of what I liked about it. That this is a story that can be told across generations and never really lose its impact. It could be about a young woman who lost her father but has a beautiful voice and sings opera, or about a 15 year old girl who lost her sister but has a real talent for acting and being on stage. Or any other number of scenarios. Fry makes this age-old plot her own though, and moves the story along very nicely.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a contemporary YA story about loss, acceptance, and moving forward. Also, I think fans of Phantom of the Opera might enjoy this story as well, although you shouldn't go in to it expecting all the glamour and intrigue of an old opera house mystery and all the things that go along with it. I give this book a 3/5, and definitely think that Fry has a great career ahead of her in YA literature.


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