Nath's Reviews > Take a Bow

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
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's review
May 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2012, ya
Read from April 22 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** 4.5/5 (A-)

Going into Take a Bow, I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect, because the blurb is a bit vague. Also, while I enjoyed Ms Eulberg's previous books, I had some apprehension due to the blurb because I'm not a fan of high school drama and it seems inevitable in the story... And indeed, there was some echoes of high school drama, but it definitively wasn't the focus of Take a Bow. I felt the book was more about friendships, their dreams and their journey :)

So I really, really enjoyed and loved Take a Bow :) However, to be frank, I'm having finding the right words for this review - this is my third attempt ^_^; It's hard to put it into words because as soon as I started reading Take a Bow, it just felt right and I was sucked in the story. I really liked how the book opens with the four characters awaiting for their audition to CPA. We get a brief introduction to each character, but also a feel of their personalities and their aspirations. More importantly though, it immediately sets the tone of the book and introduces the readers to the reality of their world. Then, fast-forward four years and Carter, Sophie, Ethan and Emme are about to start their senior year... and that's when the story really starts :)

Now, when I think of Take a Bow, three elements come to mind: the characters, the friendships and the setting. To me, it's the combination of the three that made Take a Bow such a winner :) I'll start with the easiest for me: the setting. I really liked that CPA was not a regular high school, because for me, it added another layer of complexity, set Take a Bow apart from most contemporary YA books and made it more interesting. Why? Because most students attending CPA are passionate about their arts, know what they want in their future and are already on the path of achieving it. Singing, writing music, dancing... these are not hobbies for them, it's their livelihoods. And I find admirable that they commit to it at such a young age. And it definitively was a commitment. Otherwise, why audition each semester simply to remain at CPA and then, audition for roles or spots in productions and showcases and actually perform? The auditions and the competition also contributed to make the characters tougher and more mature... It felt like a totally different world to me while still remaining a contemporary book and feeling real. So the setting was definitively key for me here :)

When it comes to the characters, I have to command Ms Eulberg for coming up with interesting, layered characters, but also for her writing since Take a Bow is told from four different POVs and each had a very distinct voice. Also, it was great to be privy to all four's thoughts and emotions and it definitively made the book stronger. Another kudo to Ms Eulberg for the intricate ways all four storylines connected and intersected each other :) Sometimes, when you read a book with multiple POVs, it feels a bit clunky, the change of POVs too abrupt... But in the case of Take a Bow, it flowed really well and it did feel like I was reading one book and not four stories. Oups, got a little carried away LOL. Back to the characters. I absolutely loved Carter, Emme and Ethan, they were great, real and so lovable!! I liked how Carter was so down-to-earth when it came to his fame, his acting career and his talent. He was just a nice guy, trying to figure out who was the real Carter Harrison and in no way was he spoiled or arrogant. I think it speaks very loudly of Carter's personality and the way he was raised. What I liked the most though was Carter's journey throughout the book, the growth and the maturity he gained. I liked that he realized that nobody was pushing him to be an actor, that all these years, he's misread his mother's behavior and action. She wasn't pushing him to be a superstar; she wanted him to be happy. I thought for him to walk away from acting to pursue his passion was both brave and wise. Emme, I loved Emme!! At first, she appeared to be shy and not confident, but the inner strength this girl has! I also loved her loyalty to her friends, even if someone might not have deserved it... and that part of Emme really made me connect with her. I've been in Emme's shoes where I knew I was being manipulated and used... But at the same time, it's hard to give up such a friendship that was so dear to you. Even then, Emme never stooped to the level of being mean or wanting revenge... And I loved seeing Emme coming out of her shell and gaining confidence. As for Ethan, I have to admit that I had some doubts at first. The guy definitively made some mistakes... But once you see the way he stood by Emme, always being there for her, loving her... He definitively redeemed himself. You can't help but loving him and root for him! And I believe that with Emme, he won't repeat the same mistakes. He has someone to ground him... Finally, there's Sophie. She was made to be the villain of the book and therefore is not very likable... and yes, in some ways, her character is a bit stereotypical. However, it doesn't make her character less real. What I liked is that Ms Eulberg didn't backtrack at the end, redeeming her character. Sophie is the way she is and does not change. I'm sure she did consider Emme as her best friend when she was younger, but truth is, the most important person to Sophie is herself. Even when she was dating Carter, she was already imagining their breakup - just before her launching her first release ^_^; Everything she did was to achieve superstardom and that's what mattered to her. In a way, you have to admire her determination and her will... even though she's going about it the wrong way.

Finally, the friendships. I loved, loved the many friendships in Take a Bow. The chemistry and bond between the members of Teenage Kicks is the friendship that stands out the most for me. How Ethan, Emme, Jack and Ben (by the way, Jack and Ben were great, great secondary characters!!) formed an unit and had each other's backs. The support the boys gave Emme, how everyone was happy for each other when accepted in the college of their choices, etc. Carter envied Emme for the band friendship and I did too :P I also enjoyed the budding friendship between Emme and Carter; how good a listener Emme was and her encouragements to Carter. Also, how Carter was there for Emme. Even the brittle friendship between Sophie and Emme... In this case, it felt like the two girls just grew apart and this happens so often in high school. Sometimes, you have to let go even if it's hard... I have a feeling Ms Eulberg wanted to write about friendships at different states and how they affect one's life and she did a great job. I also very much loved the romance between Emme and Ethan and I liked how Ms Eulberg focused on theirs, that she didn't feel obligated to give everyone a love story. Emme and Ethan had such a chemistry, they knew each other so well. Seriously, they were a great match and it was very heart-warming to see them finally get together :P Friends to lovers theme lovers, you're going to like this one :)

Take a Bow was almost the perfect contemporary YA for me... but it wasn't because of two things. The first is I wished we've seen a bit more of Emme's feelings towards Ethan throughout the book. I loved how it ended, the way they get together... Emme's declaration that she's had feelings for Ethan for a long time... and how she didn't need to figure them out while Ethan had a girlfriend, etc. was really perfect. However, throughout Take a Bow, we read about Ethan's feelings for Emme and understood where it came from. But I don't feel the same way for Emme. What she said definitively made sense and I know it was genuine. Perhaps she didn't want to acknowledge her feelings and therefore that's why we didn't get more... but I thought it came a little bit out of the blue ^_^; My second is wishful thinking on my part: I wanted Take a Bow to be longer. I loved everything about it, but I can't help but think that if it was longer, the book would be more completed and perhaps, we'd get more development for Emme's feelings for Ethan :P Seriously though, I think Ms Eulberg should consider writing slightly longer book :)

I really enjoyed Take a Bow and am recommending it to everyone :) It officially became one of my all-time favorite YA novels and have propelled Ms Eulberg onto my auto-buy author list :P I hope everyone who gives it a go enjoys it as much as I did :)
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Elena lovely review, I will definitely read the book :)

Nath Thanks Elena! I really, really enjoyed the book! So I hope you do too!!

message 3: by Li (new) - added it

Li Gosh, you've persuaded me!

Nath Yay!! But now, the pressure's on ^_^;

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