Sunday, June 17, 2012

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Release Date
: April 1st 2012
Pages: 278
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Scholastic Canada
Buy It: Book Depository
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.
This was a really fun and charming read. It's the kind of book you can pick up and finish without even remembering to get a drink of water, because Eulberg's writing flows smoothly and the story has a lot of excitement to it. It's definitely YA beach read type book, there may not be a lot of huge issues dealt with it, but it felt real and it was an enjoyable and relaxing experience. That is, assuming you don't want to actually like the characters in the books you read, because I didn't like 50% of four narrators in Take A Bow.

Sophie is clearly not meant to be likable, or at least I don't think she is, considering how awful she treats her "best" friend Emme. Carter, a former child star, was okay. Emme was a sweet character, but she seemed just a bit too perfect– her major flaw was that she was too nice and too understanding of Sophie, letting her take advantage of her, and that's the kind of character flaw that gets on my nerves (especially if it's the only one!). In terms of Ethan, he had some redeeming qualities, but I hated how he justified cheating and it was made to seem okay in the context of the book; cheating because you love someone? That's something I just can't stomach.

Somehow even though I didn't fall in love with any of these characters, I still enjoyed reading their stories. It can be fun to read from the perspective of the mean girl like Sophie, so she was probably my favourite to read about, just because she was so awful. Besides for Emme as a character, there was another major thing in Take A Bow that didn't feel realistic, and that was the dialogue. Here's one excerpt from Carter's perspective (where the dialogue is written like a script):
"EMME: I hope you don’t mind, Carter, but I was telling Trevor about how you’ve been doing some of your own art, and how I thought that maybe he could give you some pointers.

TREVOR: Can totally do that. I love seeing other people’s work. And seeing anything that’s being done outside these walls would be a welcome sight. Here, let me give you my number."
Honestly, not only is the style written like a script, but the words felt that way to me too, like puppets being told what to say. Even the way the characters talk to themselves, their internal dialogue, feels too obvious. One thinks:
"But the second I realized that I was the one who was preventing myself from being happy, a whole new world has opened up for me."
 It's really hard for me to imagine somebody really thinking that, and it was that kind of cheesy writing that sometimes made it hard to take the book seriously. But it didn't stop Take A Bow from being a fun, easy to read book. I haven't seen the movie, but I sorta imagine it like Fame in book form. I also never had a problem telling the difference between the four narrators, which is so important in a book like this, and which usually leads me to avoid novels with more than two points of view. Overall, even if Eulberg's dialogue and justification of cheating weren't something I enjoyed, Take A Bow was a charming book with some funny moments and a story that was easy to read. I'd definitely pick up another book by Eulberg when I'm looking to relax in the future. 

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