'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 4 May 2013

Review: Stagefright

Velvet S Pye is not happy. Her old life – private school, luxury holidays, loads of friends – is gone. Her new school, Yarrabank High, is sports mad and has none of the cultural activities that Velvet enjoyed so much at her previous school. It’s just sport, sport and more sport. Velvet is sure her life couldn’t get any worse… and then she meets her cultural studies class.

A group of misfits and quirky outsiders, the cultural studies class is content to simply waste time (it’s better than taking yet another sport lesson, right?), until the principal informs them that they will be required to justify their existence by the presentation of a dramatic performance at the school open night. The class decides that Shakespeare’s Richard III would be their best option, maybe performed as a musical. What could go wrong with that?

This funny and entertaining novel is a great light-hearted read for teens. Velvet is the classic fish-out-of-water, longing for her comfortable, affluent past and resistant to seeing anything positive in her new circumstances.

Stagefright is a quick and easy story to read, driven mostly by dialogue between the motley collection of students that make up the cultural studies class. There is a generous helping of humour, some interestingly offbeat personalities and a touch of romance.

Reworked from a manuscript originally published in 1996, Stagefright is an enjoyable story  that has some fun with the high school setting and the many challenges of pulling together a school stage performance. I’ll never think of Richard III the same way again.

Title: Stagefright
Author: Carole Wilkinson
Publisher: Black Dog Books, $18.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 March 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922077585
For ages: 13+
Type: Young adult fiction