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Upstaged — Review

Thought for the Day:

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.” 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Kristen Lamb does it again, this time a GREAT post HERE called Description: the Good the Bad and the Just Please STOP. She always hits a home run. Don’t miss this.

Janice Hardy at Fiction University has another terrific post HERE. This one will help you tighten your point of view.

Having trouble with your novel’s middle? HERE you will find a GREAT article from Reedsy called How to Avoid the Mushy Middle in Any Novel by Jeff Lyons with worksheets and all.

I almost decided to skip my post today. I am reading a perfectly delicious adult novel, something I hardly ever do, and it has really captured me. It is All Together Now by Matthew Norman. I wanted to just sit here and read the rest of the day, but that seemed awfully selfish, and I have a huge stack of middle-grade books I have already read and about which I want to spread the word, so here I am. I am doing some multi-processing though. I am watching my beloved Giants take on Greg Pattridge’s beloved Rockies. It is always a battle between these two teams. This is a four-game series, and Giants have won two of three games, and this fourth game is still close enough in the 8th inning to keep me on the edge of my seat. I sure do love the game of baseball. I wish it could go all year round.

A couple weeks ago, I reviewed The Chance to Fly and mentioned I had another theatre-themed book in the chute. That is the book I will review today. It is Upstaged by Diana Harmon Asher. Isn’t that a great cover? That should get some Middle-Grade attention and love. When I saw this one on the review list for the Manhattan Book Review, I grabbed it. I have to admit, I had a little trouble with the idea of a middle school taking on such a huge show as The Music Man, but when I read the author’s note, she talked about doing the show in an elementary school summer program, so I guess it is done. Anyway, here is the review I wrote for MBR.

Seventh-grader Shira Gordon is painfully shy. She hardly says a word during school, but when she is alone in her room, she sings and dances as if she were a Broadway star. When her music teacher announces that everyone in the class will be auditioning for the musical The Music Man, Shira is terrified, but also secretly hopes she will get in. When she gets the part of a member of the barbershop quartet, she finds herself with some new supportive friends, a new crush, and a mustache to hide behind. Shira and everyone else discovers she has perfect pitch and a beautiful voice, but that doesn’t sit well with the female lead, the petulant and full-of-herself Monica, especially when Shira is assigned to understudy the role of Marion. Drama ensues.

Diana Harmon Asher

Diana Harmon Asher is clearly in touch with her inner child, creating a middle-grade story that is pitch-perfect with voice and pre-teen angst. Youngsters, especially those who gravitate toward the arts, will be completely engaged with this fun story. The characters of Monica and her mother were a little over the top, having unbelievable power at the school, but otherwise, this is a terrific book.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

18 thoughts on “Upstaged — Review”

  1. I’m joining your beloved Giants as my formerly beloved Rockies are the worst joke of the century. The owner seems to only care how many beers he can sell at games.
    The links were fantastic today. Took me a little extra time to get though them but all very helpful.
    I’ve read several theater focused stories but not this one. I’m going to look for a copy and thanks for featuring on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Rockies without Arenado just isn’t the same. The Giants have been slumping a bit too though. Fingers crossed they can get back to work and rack some wins. So glad you like the links this week. This is a good book. I hope you can get to it soon. Your students should like it. Thanks for the comment, Greg. Always nice to hear from you.

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  2. I love the theater — have since I was a child and performed in many school productions and summer stock theater, in later years. So this book would have grabbed my attention! Sounds wonderful with all the drama of MG years. There have been a number of books shared today that have to do with music and theater.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love theatre too. I’m very excited because our live theatre here in Sacramento is getting back at it, and my first show is in about four weeks. This is an awfully fun book. I hope you can read it. You will like it. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Upstaged sounds like such a fun story! My middle-school self (and let’s be honest, my present self) could definitely relate to Shira and her shyness (and her dancing behind closed doors—although I don’t sing). And the adventures of theater sound like a lot of fun as well—although for me at least, it would be a period of several years to work my way up from silent to theater star, so Shira must be pretty brave to do it in a few weeks/months!

    I’m glad you were able to get a post up today, although I totally get what you mean—sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time blogging when I should be reading! I’m glad you’re really enjoying an adult book. And since Greg Pattridge has joined you on the side of the Giants, go Giants! I love the meme and quote as well. Thanks so much for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was pretty shy in middle school as well. Actually through high school too, but I did a little theatre then. Always fun and stressful. The book I was reading was TERRIFIC, but I am glad I got my post up, too. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment and the Giants cheer.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Rosie, for this lovely review. It’s seemed especially hard this year to get the word out about a new title, so blogs like yours really are so important. Many, many thanks for taking a break from your reading and writing about my book UPSTAGED. It means a lot to me. And I hope all of the musical theatre fans who have commented here enjoy it, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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