Saturday, January 21, 2017

intermission: stardust reviews


Serena Chase



We are starlight on snow. The reflection of something already beautiful—absorbed, reflected, and remade into something . . . more.

And this kiss . . .

This kiss is everything I’ve needed to say . . . and longed to hear.

Sixteen-year-old Faith Prescott eagerly awaits the day she will exchange her small Iowa hometown for the bright lights of Broadway, but her success-driven parents want her to pursue a more practical career, labeling “artsy” people—including their daughter—as foolish dreamers worthy of little more than disdain.

When Faith meets nineteen-year-old Noah Spencer she discovers someone who understands her musical theatre dreams . . . because he shares them.

Faith’s mother despises everything about Noah—his age, his upbringing . . . even his religious beliefs—and she grasps at every opportunity to belittle his plans to study theatre and pursue a stage career. When those criticisms shift further toward hostility, resulting in unjust suspicions and baseless accusations, an increasingly fearful stage is set for Faith at home, where severe restrictions and harsh penalties are put in place to remove Noah Spencer from her life.

But Faith has never connected with anyone like she has with Noah, and no matter how tight a stranglehold her mother enforces to keep them apart, Faith will not give him up. Behind the curtain, Faith’s love for Noah continues to grow . . . as does her determination to hold on to her dreams—and him—no matter how high the cost.

full review under the cut! 

 I firstly want to thank Candent Gate for providing me with a copy of this book! I am a huge fan of musical theater in general, so I was really excited to experience and appreciate it in a YA setting! I haven't read many books that incorporate musical theater, so that was something that really drew me to this book.

I have to say, even past the musical theater parts that I was looking forward to, Intermission pulled me in and played with my heartstrings from the very beginning. It follows the story of Faith, who is a sophomore during the main action of this story, a girl who has always followed the rules of her controlling parents, all the while striving to pursue a future in musical theater, despite their dismissal of her dreams. Everything in Faith's life changes when she meets Noah, who is nineteen, much too old in the eyes of Faith's mother and various others around their small Iowa town. But Noah understands Faith in a way that no one, male or female, ever has. The two share a dream of being on Broadway one day, and they grow extremely close as friends before something more begins to blossom between them. I really appreciated that Serena Chase handled their relationship carefully, because there is something to be said for being cautious when it comes to older boys being interested in younger girls. However, I felt like Noah was always extremely respectful of Faith, and I liked that they truly were just friends before anything happened. It was a testament to the fact that they really did just bond because they shared so many of the same interests and ideas.

I liked Faith as a character, though I struggled with wishing she was a tad bit stronger. However, when she finally does stand up for herself, I was like DAMN GIRL YES!!!! And then it is all understandable when you begin to realize that her mother is emotionally abusive towards her. Faith is a quote-unquote "good girl," but she isn't annoying, which sometimes tends to happen with this sort of trope-y character. I liked that Faith was a "good girl" but she wasn't one-dimensional. I really felt her longing for her dreams, for the acceptance of her parents, and for understanding from the people around her. I cheered with her triumphs and was crying with her when things went wrong. And oh boy... did things go wrong.

This book is a classic case of NUT JOB PARENTS. I swear... it was *almost* a little much for me. I wish the book had done a little better job of establishing Faith's mother's reasoning behind the way she was acting the way she did, but that small complaint aside, I thought Chase did a good job of establishing Faith's mother as the true antagonist in this story. I think it is always a gamble to make the parent of a character the antagonist, but in this case, it really did pay off. I think that her mother's abuse was the only thing that could've gotten Faith off her butt and out into the world. I hated every injustice that was presented to Faith, but I could see that they were well-constructed and necessary to the story. Nothing felt frivolously cruel. This book does contain some scenes that I thought were difficult to read, so just be aware if that is something that causes you pain.

Noah was also a great character. I was a little apprehensive because I didn't know if this book was going to be smacking you in the face with religion and holier than thou moments, which can be annoying, but it wasn't like that at all. Noah was so genuine, happy, and respectful from the very beginning, and I appreciated that he was a beautiful character in the midst of all of the ugliness that surrounded Faith's life. He was the moral compass for this story, in a way, and I liked that he pushed Faith to do the right thing even when she didn't want to. The ending of this book was SO SWEET the way it was from his POV... I won't spoil it but let me just say it was really worth reading the book for that scene.

I was definitely not let down, because musical theater played an even bigger role in this book than I was even expecting, which was amazing! I always love reading about things when the author very clearly loves them too, and I thought Chase's love for the theater was shining through her characters. I felt like I was there with Faith and Noah as they performed in the Sound of Music or sang duets by the waterfall. I thought that the musical theater spots were the parts where the characters were happiest, so they stand out in my memory. I also really loved that this book showed the characters going after what they wanted, which is in this case a career in the arts, and taking steps towards these goals despite a ton of obstacles!

Overall, this was a great story that encompassed a lot of really great things. I loved the driven characters, the musical theater bits, the sweet romance in the face of judgement, and the end a lot. There is also some abuse and some really tough scenes to read, which were obviously not enjoyable, but definitely contributed to the entire arc of the story. I would definitely recommend this to fans of contemporary lit that are looking for something a little bit deeper, which will suck you in and then make you think.


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