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Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

At the New York City High School of the Creative and Performing Arts, almost everything is a competition. From getting a part in the next school production to being selected for a showcase to auditioning to even attend the school, competition is both a pressure and a challenge to be the best. For four seniors, this competition has never been fiercer or more personal. Emme is a talented songwriter, but it’s her friend Sophie who always gets the spotlight, since she’s the performer. Emme tells herself she likes it better this way, but lately, she hasn’t been so sure, and that makes Sophie nervous. Sophie knows she’s the one who’s supposed to be the big star, and she will stop at nothing to get there, even if it means stepping on a few people to get to the top. Carter, a former child star, thought that attending CPA would make it easier to live a normal life, but with his girlfriend Sophie and it seems everyone else pressuring him to stay in the spotlight, he’s not so sure that’s possible. Ethan is one of the best songwriters at CPA, but all his inspiration comes from all the relationships he’s sabotaged, and no matter how much he respects his friend Emme, he doesn’t trust himself to not do the same to her. As graduation, college, and the world beyond loom ever closer, these four friends will have to face themselves and each other and determine what’s most important: dominating the spotlight, or sharing it with others who matter.

I always find stories about or related to the performing arts to be so fun and interesting to read because they explore a side of life that I don’t normally experience. Set at CPA, Take a Bow certainly does this extensively by offering readers a peek into the lives of four high school students who are also actors, singers, songwriters, musicians, and performers. I loved being able to see Emme, Sophie, Carter, and Ethan in their natural element and particularly how they each responded to the pressures that accompany a life in performing arts. Where I was a little disappointed, though, was with regards to the characters themselves. I initially thought that the pressure of senior year would cause these friends to splinter and finally come back together, but that’s not quite the case. While Emme, Carter, and Ethan do grow as characters, Sophie does not and remains almost completely unlikable throughout the story. Sophie’s lack of growth was immensely unsatisfying to me as the reader, although it is still realistic within the story. Regardless of this, though, I still found Take a Bow to be overall a quick and entertaining read full of the grit and glamour of the world of performing arts.

Take a Bow is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci, The Comeback by Marlene Perez, and The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

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