Published by 336Love on February 14, 2014
Genres: Coming of Age, contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
The high school play is in two months and senior Wren Barlow just became director. Wren still isn't over the fact that she got stiffed as a stagehand instead of the lead role that she totally deserved. Now she is in charge of rehearsals, costumes, navigating around cast member hookups and managing the real life drama at home.
The principal counts on her to succeed because tickets have been sold and the money has been spent. But when he drops a gorgeous bad boy on her and wants him to help the play for extra credit, she falls hard for someone she knows she can't date. With everything spinning out of control, the mysterious and secretive detention king named Derek has a few tricks up his sleeve and wants to help—too bad Wren is scared to give him a chance to prove himself.
Understudy is a young adult high school play story. It ended up being super cute. I can’t get enough of stories that center around plays, but Understudy had all of the aspects that I love about this sub-genre theme, and yet it still felt kind of different. Wren’s aunt is the theater theater at the school and she wrote the script to the play. Wren tried out for the lead role, and her aunt had the audacity to tell her not fat AT ALL NIECE that she didn’t get the part because she was too fat for it. It should come as no surprise that I didn’t like Wren’s Aunt. And then after a couple of lackluster practices, the aunt over dramatically packs up and leaves her job! I mean talk about immature. She was worse than her students! The play is left without a director, so Wren is kind of forced into that role. This book because just as much the opportunity for Wren to step up to the challenge of putting on a play as a high school senior as it is a cute love story.
Wren is a likable girl. She doesn’t label people. Right off the bat she has a crush on the “bad-toy”. Her friend says he is bad news and never really gives him a chance but when Wren works on props for the play with him he seems about as nice as they come. I really liked how Derek was with Wren. He is super sweet. And you just know that there is some secret out there that will redeem him. I kept thinking that his reputation just had to be wrong because Derek is always SO NICE. But Cheyanne Young keeps his secret hidden right up until the end.
Wren’s Aunt never grows up throughout the story, but luckily she is the only character without growth. Wren really steps up and you don’t only get to know her. You get to know a lot of the other students in the play and you get to see glimpses into their personalities as well. I really liked that. Just don’t expect Auntie to wake up and grow up. It won’t happen. I couldn’t stand her, but luckily the main focus in this story is Wren, and I did really like her. I respected her. Even though Wren seemed pretty mature and grown up for her age, the story overall had a little bit of a younger YA feel. It suited the book perfectly. Now with the New Adult Genre, I appreciate when Young Adult books stay clearly in their genre and don’t try to bleed into the New Adult age group. I like being able to pick up a book and tell right away that it is Young Adult or New Adult. And Understudy is Young Adult for sure. Understudy is a fun and cute story about a high school play and about finding love.
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