Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2015 Gr 4–7—Twelve-year-old Anya is a self-professed theater geek, but there isn't much opportunity for middle schoolers in suburban Chappaqua to flex their drama muscles. So Anya decides to start her own theater in the neighborhood clubhouse. With the help of her little sister Susan and Austin, a cute and talented aspiring composer/playwright, the Random Farms Kids' Theater (RFKT) is born. Anya learns about theater, as well as friendship, as she leads her all-kids cast and crew through auditions, rehearsals, and, finally, to opening night. This fun romp, based on a concept by Wallach, founder of the actual RFKT in 1995, is a modern day "let's-put-on-a-show" story updated to include social media and texting. Although the plot is formulaic and the characters only broadly developed, the story is full of heart, making it appealing to High School Musical fans. The text is riddled with musical theater references, and aspiring actors will enjoy the theater tips and lingo, even if they sound unbelievably mature when delivered by middle schoolers. First in a series, this book ends with Anya and Austin planning their next show. VERDICT This realistic title is recommended for general purchase by public and school libraries, especially those with a thriving theater geek scene.—Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2015 Never underestimate the power of a Broadway-obsessed tween. Readers familiar with the drama kid phenomenon—encompassing camps, voice lessons, dance classes, predawn drives to auditions, and trips to New York City to see the Great White Way—will not be surprised by the energy and determination Anya brings to her plan of creating an all-kids musical production in her suburban subdivision’s disused rec center. Disappointed at her middle school’s lack of a drama club, Anya teams up with the slightly dreamy Austin, a talented playwright whose knowledge of musical theater almost rivals her own, and her younger sister, who brings a realist’s perspective to Anya’s starry-eyed plans. Soon enough, everyone is involved in putting on the show. Kids who live for this stuff will appreciate the musical theater in-jokes and ignore the slightly stilted dialogue. Based on the author’s own experience, this will be a satisfying choice for fans of Tim Federle’s Better Nate than Ever (2013) and Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead’s Jack & Louisa (2015). - Copyright 2015 Booklist.