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review 2016-11-06 20:41
Amazing Grace - Mary Hoffman,Caroline Binch

This book is great if you see your class having trouble getting along or two for cultural pride, or three for a lesson before auditioning for a school play. This book is great because it tells a little story of Grace and how she plays an "unexpected" role in the school play. In the end of the book, Grace believes she can do anything and so does everyone else. You could read this book to your class before auditions for a school play or even a small production in your room to help students realize no matter what role your play, you are important. The students could draw a picture of the person they would like to play and write underneath why they would like to play this character. The intended audience for this particular lesson would be 2nd-4th.

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review 2014-04-30 13:31
My Life, The Theatre and Other Tragedies

My Life, the Theatre, and Other Tragedies book


Author: Allen Zadoff

Performed by MacLeod Andrews

Released: April 2013 by Audible Studios

Category: Young Adult Fiction




"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."



I loved “Since You Left Me” and this book appealed too. I love the way Mr Zadoff writes, touching and funny at the same time and again dealing with a teenager’s real and deep issues in an insightful way. The words drew me in and the characters felt real and as diverse as you’d find in any high school. I liked Reach, Adam’s best friend and dastardly Derek was the one you love to hate. 


Adam is likeable, sweet and insecure, my heart went out to him. I felt total sympathy for a boy, full of pain, who has withdrawn into himself, missing his father dreadfully and hiding away from life. He became a techie in the drama department of his High School, lighting being the only thing he can feel a connection to because his father was an artist and loved the effect of light. And so Adam loves being on the catwalk high above the stage, working the lights for different effects, where he can see everything that’s going on without being seen himself. 


Mr Zadoff really gets inside the mind of an angst ridden teenager and Adam’s narration of those thoughts comes across in a powerful way giving the reader/listener compassion for a boy dealing with more than he should be. And on top of all that Adam has a crush on Summer, one of the actors in the school play. It’s an unwritten rule though, that techies and actors don’t mix. Think Sharks versus Jets and you have the general idea. 


This is a coming of age story dealing with not only relationships between friends and the boy/girl dynamic but also the way a person deals with their own personal problems of self-confidence, or lack thereof, and fear. In Adam’s case, fear of the dark and the flashbacks or visions he has of his father. 


I like the way different ethnicities and sexual orientations are introduced in a natural way without making them a big deal. I also very much enjoyed the ‘behind the scenes’ viewpoint, one which, even as a theatre goer, I wouldn’t necessarily know anything about. Whether or not such harsh conflict between actors and the crew is actually true to life I’m not sure but it certainly added drama to this story.


One of the reasons I like MacLeod Andrews’ narrations so much is the way he adjusts his voice to fit the story. From sounding like a teen in YA novels to a seasoned New Orléans policeman or a gravelly voiced Sandman Slim and countless others, his characterisations are totally convincing and authentic.


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review 2014-03-23 00:53
Rocky's School Play
Rocky's School Play - Mike Hansen,Toby Mikle

I was contacted via email by a gentleman from PubReview who had seen that I did a review of a children's book on Amazon and wondered if I would be interested in reading this one as well.  In this email, he told me about the free promotion on Amazon.  It looked really cute so I picked it up.

There was something wrong with the file I received from Amazon and, even after removing it from my Kindle and re-downloading it as suggested, it was impossible to read there.  I was, however, able to read it via my Cloud Reader.

Such a cute book.  And really great lessons taught.  I liked it.  I shared it with some little ones and they loved it too, especially Michelle the Mouse "because she's really smart."  I definitely recommend it. :)

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