My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies

My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies

4.4 5
by Allen Zadoff
     
 

High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is

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Overview

High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this lively romantic dramedy, Zadoff (Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have) uses a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as a backdrop for one teenager's coming-of-age. Ever since his father's death, sophomore Adam Ziegler has sought refuge in his school's theater department. As a techie, responsible for set construction and lights, Adam is part of a small but tight-knit group, forbidden by unwritten custom from interacting with the actors, "unless it's absolutely necessary." Then he meets Summer Armstrong, an actress willing to defy the rules, and an unlikely friendship slowly develops into something deeper. But in true Shakespearean fashion, Adam may have to choose between friends and romance. As the production descends into chaos, courtesy of a tyrannical student designer and a director in the throes of a midlife crisis, Adam struggles to keep it all together. Zadoff captures the confusion, torn loyalties, and overwrought drama of teenage life—not to mention student theater. All the world's a stage, indeed, and these players earn their applause. Ages 12–up. (May)
Kirkus Reviews

Drama begets drama in this examination of relationships set against the backdrop of a high-school theater production. When his father died after a late-night car crash, Adam Ziegler withdrew from his friends and started fearing total darkness. His life is all about the catwalks in the school theater, setting up the lights for the current production, hiding from the domineering director and avoiding the actors that control the school's social structure. However, he finds that he can't resist Summer, a new actress who takes the lead after a sudden accident eliminates the former star. As he and Summer begin flirting, Adam finds himself at odds with the stage crew's unwritten rule that keeps actors and technicians apart—and under suspicion when other problems befall the production. Zadoff frames Adam and Summer's relationship roughly on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a rather effective vehicle for the romance. Overall characterization is a bit weak, with director Mr. Apple's over-the-top moments grating the most, followed closely by prima donna actor Derek's smarmy behavior. Adam's attempt to hide from his friends inadvertently locks his personality away from the readers as well, though flashes of both humor and sadness leak through his shell. Though not a Broadway sensation, this mostly solid tale ultimately appeals. (Fiction. YA)

School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Being alone on the catwalk of his high school theater suits Adam Ziegler very well. Since his father's untimely death two years earlier, he wants to avoid all social contact. However, during production week of A Midsummer Night's Dream, he encounters Summer, a lovely young actress who, despite the unwritten rule that techies and actors don't mix, seems to be interested in Z—zits and all. Derek, the arrogant student production designer, does his best to thwart his efforts, but when Z manages to save the show, he finds the courage to overcome his fears and step out of the shadows, both literally and figuratively. Fast-paced and filled with humor, Zadoff's latest title is sure to appeal to fans of Glee and other performance-based TV shows. However, while the beginning of the novel introduces some interesting characters, including a maligned girl-techie and an over-the-top gay director, Mr. Apple, the story quickly descends into melodrama: Mr. Apple has a career crisis and walks out; incompetent Derek has a meltdown when the lights all blow, and fast-thinking Adam manages to save the day. And of course, "all's well that ends well." While the language is far less raw than that in David Stahler, Jr.'s Spinning Out (Chronicle, 2011), another novel that revolves around a high school theater scene, it is also less thought-provoking, and many of the characters, especially the adults (except for Z's mother), are stereotypes. The short chapters will appeal to reluctant readers, but the story is basically fluff and not worth the price of admission.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606840368
Publisher:
EgmontUSA
Publication date:
05/10/2011
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,462,415
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
HL500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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