Hi Virtually Readers: Fun fact: I normally write reviews in my holidays so I don’t have to panic when I have school. But I’m writing this now because EVERYBODY should read this book. It’s a different reviewing style to normal, but hopefully it will be fun.
Title: You In Five Acts
Author: Una LaMarche
Genre: YA contemporary
Themes: friendship, love, ballet, performing, coming of age, SPOILER, also don’t do drugs children.
Blurb (from goodreads rather than myself): Five friends at a prestigious New York City performing arts school connect over one dream: stardom. For Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan and Dave, that dream falters under the pressure of second semester, senior year. Ambitions shift and change, new emotions rush to the surface, and a sense of urgency pulses among them: Their time together is running out.
Diego hopes to get out of the friend zone. Liv wants to escape, losing herself in fantasies of the new guy. Ethan conspires to turn his muse into his girlfriend. Dave pines for the drama queen. And if Joy doesn’t open her eyes, she could lose the love that’s been in front of her all along.
Reasons to read You In Five Acts
- It’s super diverse in the mental illness, drug addiction (this is a mental illness according to my psychology textbook) and race categories.
- It features a BLACK BALLERINA so yes please.
- It’s told in a combination of first and second person. Basically, there are 5 acts, plus a prologue, intermission, and epilogue. Each of five friends at a performing arts school in New York (apparently based on a real life one but I don’t really know?) narrates one ‘act’, simultaneously talking to ‘you’ (another person in the group who they are in love with) and using ‘I’. Usually this is too many narrators but this somehow worked. Although it was sad because Liv was two other people’s ‘you’, but Ethan was nobody’s. This utterly unique narrative style worked so so well.
- It makes you want to keep reading. It’s in past tense, and each character refers to ‘what happened’ and you know it’s terrible but you also HAVE TO KNOW and spoiler alert: it’s terrible. I kind of panicked because I wanted to know but I didn’t want to have my heart broken (spoiler alert: I did).
- Each character is analysing the decisions they made that lead to said TERRIBLE THING and it’s all their faults but also none of their faults and AAAA it is so cute but also SO SAD.
- It has a beautiful cover.
- It tackles actual social issues like racism, body image, and also the general angst of teenager bad decisions (OMG LIV MAD SUCH BAD LIFE CHOICES BUT I STILL HAD TO READ) and wanting to belong and somehow makes it work.
- All the characters have really distinct voices, and are really relatable. However, Joy (the black ballerina) probably got the most air time (page time?) and I enjoyed her sections the most. (Partly because the ship was sailing and was so cute and also ballet. The other sections made me panic because I was constantly reminded of the character’s impending doom).
- Much use of dramatic irony. Because we know what each of the characters are thinking/why they are making the decisions they’re making.
- THE ENDING WILL BREAK YOU. That is all. I’m not going to spoil but I am sorely tempted because the ending is very relevant to a specific issue that will be super SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER I’m going to have to stop now. #helpme
While I can say that there were plenty of problems with this book, I basically adored it and I think everybody should read it and what are you doing here? Just read it.
Have you read this? If so, either do it and come discuss with me or tell me because Shanti hasn’t and I can’t spoil her and I just need someone to discuss with hellppp meeee. What do you think about ballet/racism/books set in New York/second person?