Walker Books Australia
Key Words: Theatre, Friendship, Family, Fear
Published : 1st June 2013
Reviewer: Kylie Calwell
It is that time of year again, auditions have been posted for this years school play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ella Jamison would like nothing more than to be able to audition. She would love to be on stage, but Ella has a secret, she suffers from terrible stage fright. Standing in front of people to talk and she freezes up. She pretends she is happy watching her friends act and working in the backstage crew.
There are other things going on in her life too. Suddenly a grandfather she knows very little about is living with her family and he is somewhat eccentric. Ella just hopes he doesn’t do anything to embarrass her in from of her friends. Then there is the new boy at school, Ella thinks Sam is plain arrogant but then she gets to know him a bit better and sees something she didn’t expect.
This is a wonderfully told tale about fear, first impressions, friends and family. It is about facing up to things that scare you and embracing that which may embarrass you. Ella is a blend of strength and fragility. She tries to make the best of a situation she doesn’t see a way around, she doesn’t totally give up her dream. When shown another way she really tries to face up to her fears. Ella is strong enough to realise she could be wrong is willing to change her mind.
Sam is a good addition, he is a male character with hidden depths, not what he first appears, an arrogant and possibly bad, boy. Ella’s friend Gina brings another dimension to the story and shows Ella that sometimes it’s important to see outside of your own problems.
This book is a touching story that is delivered with a gentle touch. It draws you in and wraps around you. A lovely read. It fits in that strange category that is 10+ but is good for mature younger readers or younger YA readers.