Author: Asher, Diana Harmon
Painfully shy seventh-grader Shira Gordon is cast in a small role in The Music Man and also as understudy for the lead, played by diva Monica Manley, who becomes the victim of a prankster.
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/21)
School Library Journal (02/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 5 Up—Talented but shy seventh grader Shira can't figure out how she got talked into auditioning for the school musical, and she's more horrified than pleased when she gets cast as the high tenor in The Music Man's barbershop quartet. Just as she's getting used to the idea of singing with a mustache, she's also assigned to understudy for mean girl/lead actress Monica. When the unthinkable happens, will Shira be able to move past her overpowering shyness and save the day? Although there's really only one way for this plot to go, it's an effective backdrop for Shira's character development—going from having one friend to acquiring many as she becomes part of an ensemble for the first time, having a crush on the wrong boy until she realizes who the right one is, and learning to stand up for herself and her friends without being mean. It's also a fun, behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to put on a school play (and it will also have readers checking their streaming service for Meredith Wilson's classic musical). VERDICT Hand to fans of Andrew Keenan-Bolger's "Jack and Louisa" books or Tim Federle's "Nate" series, as well as to the school theatre crowd and shy girls everywhere.—Elizabeth Friend, Wester M.S., TX - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2021 For Shira, a shy seventh-grader who was terrified to try out for the middle-school musical (The Music Man), the news that she’ll be playing “a guy’s role” in the barbershop quartet is disconcerting. And becoming the understudy for Marian, the female lead, played by eighth-grade mean-girl Monica? That’s terrifying. Fortunately, Shira’s small circle of friends quickly expands to include the other members of the quartet and Paul, who plays the male lead. Offstage, middle-grade dramas and crushes play out as usual, though anything involving cast and crew members can affect the production, and their moods shift as the play moves through rehearsals toward opening night. Adult characters as well as students have their strengths, flaws, and quirks. Effectively capturing Monica’s insufferable egotism, Asher contrasts it with Shira’s inevitable moments of self-doubt and her gradually increasing confidence. Readers who participate in chorus or theater will appreciate the articulate portrayal of the work, the tension, the camaraderie, and the occasional magic of those experiences. A lively story with a satisfying conclusion. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.