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Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.

Gorgeously fresh, funny and commercial YA romance from the author of Unconventional, and The Last Summer of Us.

442 pages, Paperback

First published June 28, 2018

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About the author

Maggie Harcourt

5 books117 followers
Maggie Harcourt was born and raised in Wales, where she grew up dreaming of summer road trips and telling stories for a living. As well as studying Medieval Literature at UCL, Maggie has variously worked as a PA, a hotel chambermaid and for a French chef before realising her dreams and beginning to write full time.

She now lives just outside Bath, UK, where she can usually be found in a bookshop or somewhere near the river. She guards the secret of her favourite coffee shop jealously, because she has the perfect spot picked out there for people-watching.

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5 stars
302 (29%)
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396 (38%)
3 stars
271 (26%)
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56 (5%)
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16 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 157 reviews
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
August 13, 2019
I love books that explore passions and the excitement and nerves and the changes characters go through as they make their dream a reality and this book explored that through theatre.
Thoroughly enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Sylvie .
632 reviews821 followers
July 10, 2019
3.5 out of 5 Stars!!

“Because sometimes, it's the things that nobody notices which deserve noticing.”

The first time I saw this book in a bookstore was a month ago so obviously I developed an interest in it, because: a) the cover is the cutest, b) it's a YA contemporary (one can never go wrong with a YA con.), c) I was already familiar with the author's other book (tho I have yet to read it) and d) Apparently Maggie Harcourt is the UK version of Rainbow Rowell.
And because of all this reasons I wanted to give this book a try.

My first attempt with Theatrical was a fail, I couldn't get into the story but I also didn't want to dnf it and I'm glad I didn't. However, my second attempt as you can see was a success.

The plot overall was cute, had lots of swoon-worthy moments, cliché (obvi), can be a bit unrealistic sometimes, but that's the magic of young adult books. You know things like that won't always happen in real life but you can't not read them.
Profile Image for Selah.
100 reviews11 followers
October 13, 2021
Cute, fast paced book, totally worth the read! The characters often repeated themselves, they were all very self-absorbed, they had VERY cliche problems and the protagonist and her 'crush' after just a few awkward conversations 'just seemed to get each other' and 'felt like they had known each other for years' which was totally unrealistic. Apart from that though, it was cute and funny and had me smiling the whole way through! =)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
June 6, 2018
5 Words: Family, passion, secrets, pressure, theatre.

Honestly, it's magical and lovely and wonderful and I want to read it again already.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,422 reviews1,325 followers
May 15, 2019
I absolutely loved Maggie's book Unconventional so when I saw she had a new book out I had to grab it! I say this a lot, but I don't know why I waited so long to read it!

This book is a love letter to all those who work in theater - both on and backstage. I was never really a theater person but have recently for reasons (Hamilton) become more and more interested in it and seeing the performances. I never really thought about all the things that go into getting a show ready for opening night and all those people behind the scenes that we don't see, and this book really opens your eyes to it.

This story focuses on Hope. She's loved theater her whole life, but her mom is an award winning costume designer and for each job she gets she wonders if she's only there because people know her mom. In order to see if she has what it takes to earn a job and do it well, she goes on an interview to work as an intern for a huge production with one of her idols... and she gets the job. She decides not to tell anyone, not even her family what she's doing to make sure she has what it takes and make sure no one interferes.

I loved the characters in this story so much - yes absolutely Hope, but I also really loved getting to know the rest of the cast too! So much teamwork is needed to put a production in place, and you can see that with every interaction Harcourt writes.

There is plenty of swoon in this story, and a bit of a cross-over from her book Unconventional, which you must also read, and her best friend Priya and her new friend George are just so wonderful I couldn't get enough of them!

There is something for everyone in this story of finding your way in the world... romance, family, friendship and of course lots and lots of theater! If that's your thing, I can't recommend this one more!
Profile Image for zainab.
267 reviews147 followers
June 4, 2018
Thanks to Usborne for sending me the physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I have this weird rule regarding contemporaries; never read a contemporary book longer than 250 pages. Why? Because most of the times they are dragged and end up getting boring and dull. But, that’s not the case when it comes to Theatrical. It’s easily one of the best Contemporaries I have read this year and has kind of. sort of, restored my faith in them.

Theatrical is about Hope – a 17 years old Theater lover who starts an internship at Earl’s Theater. She becomes part of the production of Piecekeepers and possibly the most anticipated theater production of the year. This production is directed by a top director and stars a Hollywood star. An obviously, there’s romance too.

Let’s talk about the writing first:

Maggie Harcourt’s writing is absolutely phenomenal. Most of the Contemporaries authors don’t bother with descriptions but Maggie paints a vivid image in your mind through her writing. I have never been to a theater but I feel like I went to one, visited every nook and secret corner of it and have seen every single detail because of how good a writer she is.


I was a little skeptical when I requested a review copy of this book. It’s set in a theater and I have never read a book set in a theater so I wasn’t sure whether I would like it or not. But, obviously, I ended up loving it. I loved the plot so much that when I turned the last page and realized that it ended, I longed for more!

I also liked how Hope’s character was portrayed as the one who wanted to be invisible and honestly girl, I get you. I loved her friendship with Priya and George (def my fav character from the book) and I also liked reading more about her family though I wish there was more because I loved her interaction with her parents.


I always like books with little romance (even Contemporaries) unless the romance is done right, I like the romance in this one because it didn’t take up the entire plot. I thought it was cute and all but it didn’t really impress me as much. Mainly because as soon as Hope spots ‘the love interest’ she’s like

“I feel like he knows me”

She says this before they had even a single proper conversation so obviously, I rolled my eyes. Overall, I thought it was okay but I wasn’t really into it. I was more into the theater stuff.

Other things that I liked:

* George
* Hope’s parents
* Priya
* Did I mention George???
* The theater and the crew
* Tommy during the rare times when he was nice
* Amy (I need a mentor like her)
* The production

Overall, I love it and highly recommend it if you’re looking to read a cute and fluffy Contemporary book this Summer!
Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
515 reviews1,548 followers
October 5, 2019
I love contemporary YA about careers! As in Nina LaCour's Everything Leads to You (about a film set designer) and Maggie Harcourt's Unconventional (about a film and comic book conventions assistant), I adored delving backstage and being part of all the little details and secrets of the theatre industry. It makes me wonder about the career I could've had – I already work in the book industry, which is just as magical, but I love hearing about other careers in the arts.

Continue reading this review over on Pretty Books.

#gifted: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book for free in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for stefiereads.
310 reviews118 followers
June 17, 2018
4.5 stars.
Review is coming! :)
But if you haven’t, please pre-ordered this book! ♥️
Profile Image for Faroukh Naseem.
181 reviews173 followers
January 8, 2019
There are 8 stars on the cover of this book, I want to give it none. I’m going to try my level best to not sound mean here but I had high escapist hopes from this book.
#theguywiththebookreview presents Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt.
I read this book mid December when I wanted something light, silly and fun. @sumaiyya.books joined me in reading it and boy did we discuss the crap out of it!
I liked the easy natured writing of the book, nothing too serious. Simple plot, nothing too exciting and pretty chilled out. But that was just the first 80 odd pages.
Pretty soon the characters started falling on their faces. It seemed like they kept changing every few chapters.
But my main problem with the book was how the protagonist wants to prove to everyone she can make it in the world of theater without using her mom’s name (Her mom is a famous famous designer) but keeps doing silly stuff which don’t reflect her so called mission to be professional and successful.
How does one romantically get involved and not focus on the job within the first month of trying to prove something is beyond me.
Another annoying thing was how the protagonist and her love interest kept repeating stuff. (I want to prove to people I don’t need my moms reference, blah blah blah)
And believe me, I had kept my expectations extremely low with this book, I just wanted to have a fun time but it ended up irritating me.
Profile Image for Emma.
166 reviews
January 4, 2020
There were so many things I enjoyed about Theatrical and a few I didn't. Honestly she annoyed me with her lower than low self esteem and for the first three quarters of the book I felt like nothing happened. But after speaking to a friend about it I persevered and quite frankly I ended up loving it!

Profile Image for Aimee.
483 reviews2 followers
August 6, 2018
This is my second Maggie Harcourt book and it has a lot in common with the first. It's cute and fluffy, with interesting characters and a decent story. There are a few tropes and a few eye-roll moments that were just too cute to be real, but nothing unforgivable. The romance was really sweet and I liked both characters, and I especially liked that it doesn't overpower the main storyline about Hope taking on a new challenge and proving to everyone - and herself - that she can do it.

Another little thing I liked: the play in this book is the stage adaptation of Piecekeepers, the (fictitious) book that plays a key role in Maggie Harcourt's last book, Unconventional. And Lexi and Aiden/Haydn get minor cameos too. (But you don't have to have read Unconventional to read this one - they are standalone stories.)
Profile Image for KatForsyth.
200 reviews15 followers
July 24, 2019
I LOVED this. Admittedly it contains everything I love - it's set in a theatre, and contains endless info about how things work backstage; there's a cute romance that's lovely but isn't the centre of our MC's whole world, she has to hide her job from her family, so there's all sorts of lying and sneaking around; there's a famous film actor making his stage debut in a play that sounds more than a little like Harry Potter, so she has to deal with him, too - it's like Maggie Harcourt IS ME (only with better writing skills :P).

4.5 stars!
Profile Image for JM.
208 reviews8 followers
September 9, 2018
A delightfully heartwarming light read! Fast paced, full of feelings and theater drama. This book made me appreciate theater more and the work that goes into it to release something magnificent and out of this world.

Hope Parker the MC wants to escape the shadow of who her mother is in the theater industry and build a name of her own- to prove herself worthy without any connections. Throughout the story it showcases Hope's growth, she was able to prove herself to her coworkers with every issue thrown her way and along all this she also learned to accept that she cannot outrun her name, best she could do is to prove everyone that she earned it. Hope is a strong character, she is not perfect, but she lovable and her struggles are understandable.

The romance of the book with Luke Withakay AKA Lancelot and Jamie understudy was not only cute and swoon worthy, it also had packed lessons into it. He isn't just some pretty boy who can act- he also has personal issues being tackled. And the understanding of Hope on why Luke loves acting was just a teary eye moment for me.

"It's not about hinding behind someone else's skin at all. It really is about fitting someone else's soul over your own, letting it creep inside every corner of you, and you into it, until you can't tell where the join is anymore." ... "You carry the memory of it around with you as a part of who you've been. The way you might a family..."

Honestly, by the end of the book I was as exhausted and triumphant as Hope and I found myself teary eyed again by the success of their first showing and magnificent result of their hard work.

I couldn't give this book a full five stars because there are some issues that I feel weren't resolved or tackled properly, such as: 1. Hope's School; how can she catch up with everything that she's missed? Is that even allowed? 2. Hope's relationship with her sisters; this is really messy and wasn't given a proper conclusion. 3. Tommy and Ricks relationship; I actually wanted to know if they were able to patch up their brotherly feud. And 4. The after show party and results; what happened to everyone after the play!
Profile Image for Bella.
496 reviews86 followers
October 1, 2018
This book was a lot of fun! I loved reading about the theatre and all the backstage stuff, and the characters were so great. I liked the romance and the friendships that were made, and the exploration of family and what that means as well. At a few moments I even teared up towards the end - so much joy! It’s such a happy book and I really enjoyed it.

Only gave it 4 stars because there was a patch in the middle that I found a little slow and I slumped, but it picked right back up at the end. Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Kayla Burton.
191 reviews7 followers
February 24, 2019
I think calling this “The UK’s answer to Rainbow Rowell” is not fair to this book because those are huge shoes to fill and I was not bawling at any point reading this, so not totally accurate. I really liked this book. It was a lot of fun and about theater in a way that non actors can appreciate!
Profile Image for Kelly.
323 reviews31 followers
July 4, 2018
Reading Theatrical is like a long, warm hug from a best friend. It was absolutely everything I needed and I was so content curled up with this beauty (I mean, LOOK at that cover!!).

Theatrical is Hope’s story. Hope is a theatre lover and her passion runs through her veins, that’s clear to see from the very beginning. She helps out behind the scenes at her local theatre but has just been given an internship as deputy stage manager on a top secret but very exciting new production – it even has a famous lead role! Hope can’t quite believe her luck but somehow manages to keep it all a big secret from those around her.

What I loved most about this book is how I felt instantly transported to the theatre. Maggie Harcourt’s writing is gorgeous: I could feel the props as Hope touched them, I could sense the buzz and excitement, the first night nerves. That special atmosphere of being back stage at a show, let alone being part of the audience viewing the show. For anyone who has ever helped out in theatre or been in a show, this book will be your everything! My experience is limited to leading the props team when we do our annual school musical but even I could relate to Hope’s excitement. I can’t imagine how some of my friends have felt reading this!

I immediately loved Hope from the very first few pages. I knew straight away she would be a character I adored and my love for her just grew and grew as I eagerly flicked through the pages. I loved her vulnerability and lack of confidence at the beginning just as much as I loved the person she grows into as the production gets nearer to opening night. She has some absolutely cracking moments that had me chuckling aloud but also some moments where I wanted to wrap her in cotton wool and protect her forever.

As far as the other characters go there were plenty to love! George is definitely up there in the second best character spot for me. I loved how sassy he is and thought his personality really balanced well with Hope’s. It goes without saying that Luke is just an absolute babe. He is so adorable and I loved peeling back his layers. Tommy is a whole other kettle of fish and I spent a good portion of the book disliking him but he did redeem himself slightly towards the end.

Hope’s story of finding herself is possibly my absolute favourite thing about this book though. Hope’s mother is a famous costume designer who now works on designing dresses for the big celebrities. Hope’s mum is so famous in the theatre world that should Hope wish to name drop she could literally get any internship or theatre job there is, just because of her name. Hope doesn’t want that though. She doesn’t want the pressure of people knowing who her mother is. She adores theatre and wants to dedicate her life to theatre but she wants to do it on her own merit. I cried my eyes out at a certain part in this book where Hope and her mum have an emotional conversation. It got me right in the feels.

Theatrical is a gorgeous novel of friendship, romance and family all in the beautiful setting of the theatre. A story that will capture the hearts of many.
Profile Image for Nav (she/her) 🌧.
150 reviews19 followers
December 17, 2018
I came across Theatrical whilst browsing the library website. YA contemporary is one of my favourite and most read genres so I'm always excited to discover another book in this genre. I was also intrigued by the cover and it had me wondering what this book could be about.

We first meet Hope as she attends her interview for a stage management placement which she succeeds in getting. However, she keeps it a secret from everyone apart from her best friend as her Mum is very well known in the industry and she doesn't want people to think that she only got the placement because of who her Mum is.

But as she starts working on a major production she finds that it is harder to keep her placement a secret than she first thought.

- I love reading books set in the UK (my home country) because as soon as I start reading I already feel like I have a connection to the characters/setting.
- I love Hope awkwardness, some of the things she said really made me laugh out loud. I love that she had flaws and wasn't shown to be perfect as this makes her more relatable for the reader.
- I haven't been to the theatre much but I found it really interesting to read about what goes on backstage and behind the scenes leading up to a show. It has also made me want to actually go to the theatre more.

- The 'thing' that happened with the jewellery was so predictable and as soon as that jewellery was bought into the story I was just waiting for that 'thing' to happen. I almost would have been disappointed if it had never happened.
- I struggled with the writing at times - not with understanding what was going on, more so imagining the scenes in my head. I love books that actually make you feel like you are there with the reader, experiencing and feeling what they are feeling. But sadly, this wasn't the case with Theatrical.

Final thoughts
This was a fun contemporary to read and I enjoyed reading and learning more about theatre. Parts of the story were quite predictable so for me it was the characters that kept me turning the pages, not the story itself. Overall, this was a pretty good book and I'm looking forward to reading more of this author's books.
Profile Image for lucy♡.
799 reviews3 followers
May 20, 2019
I love theatre. From musicals such as “Hamilton” to “Dear Evan Hansen” to even “Matilda” (and lets not forget “Heathers”!) To pantomimes and plays, I live vicariously through others with the talents and abilities in this area. Even after two years of drama and six years of dance, I’m still awful at it but I appreciate the art.
That’s why I was so excited when I discovered “Theatrical”, a young-adult contemporary set in the theatre? Oh yes please! I was beyond excited.
Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment.

I can't even express how upset I feel but I just hated it from page one. Upon being introduced to our protagonist, Hope, I instantly hated her. She turns up to a life-changing and crucial interview incredibly late, soaking wet and stares blankly at the interviewers at every question and even goes as far to correct them on their own business but still gets the job because of her experience?! I’m aware it was necessary for the plot but twenty pages in and we're already being ridiculously unrealistic. Hope's tardiness annoyed me to no end because it’s a personal pet peeve of mine so I just didn’t enjoy her at all.

I also just wasn’t engaged with the story at all. I didn’t care about the production, the love interest, the family dynamic. For me, that’s saying a lot because families are my absolute favourite things to read about in books but I just wasn’t focused. I couldn’t bring myself to care.

Overall, this book is not one I’ll be recommending to anyone because it was so unenjoyable for me. What a shame.
Profile Image for Natalie.
424 reviews139 followers
July 19, 2018
This book was cute but honestly - what was the main storyline?
Nothing really happened, the whole 'Hope finds herself centre stage' is hardly the focus of this story, it's just a girl interning at a theatre. The romance wasn't a huge part either which surprised me considering it's a YA contemp that has a cover that just shouts 'romance'. Eh, the pacing wasn't good at all either and I was getting a bit bored throughout. I found myself wondering what the purpose of this book was a few times.
Unless you're a huge theatre geek and love tech stuff, then it's a little drab.

However the characters were alright, I really liked the setting and I learnt a lot about theatre. Harcourt has a nice writing style so even though it was kinda boring, I managed to read the whole thing (over 400 pages!) which is important because I always give up on slow books. The family aspect of the book, although not a huge plot point, was very much enjoyable and lovely. Luke was just charming and sweet, and the book ended in a satisfactory way.

I prefer Unconventional - and while we're on the subject, some characters make an appearance in this considering the theatre is doing a show about Piecekeepers.

Enjoyable but I wouldn't re-read it.
Profile Image for Boo.
322 reviews55 followers
August 8, 2018
As an obsessive theatre fan, I loved this book so much and appreciated every single one of the references! Especially as someone who often volunteers backstage.
Profile Image for Annabel Rianne.
224 reviews
May 29, 2020
So… As always, I have a lot of thoughts.
I was expecting to LOVE this book when I started it. Maggie's other book, Unconventional, is one of my favorite books I've read so far. So I had high hopes for this one. Well, bummer for me, because I can say I almost hate this book. Hate is a strong word, I know. But I was just so frustrated throughout it!! I'll explain.

Hope is a girl who's always loved theatre. Her mom makes costumes for actors, and now also for red carpets, because she's quite famous. So Hope grew up at a lot of theatres and fell in love with all the magic that happens backstage. So she started working at the Square Globe, a theatre in town. She wants to go study for theatre management, so when she sees an internship at the Earl's (her favorite childhood theatre), she decides to apply. All great so far.
Apparently, her CV looks great. It's precisely what theatre producers are looking for. But here is the problem: her actions never portray anything of her skills. She arrives at her interview late, wet (due to the rain), comes up with an excuse for why she's late (instead of owning up to it) and cannot say a word when asked a question, just chokes. And then when someone says something, she corrects him!! Even though she couldn't even tell them about why she wants to work in theatre or anything. Even though in real life this would never happen, she gets the internship job anyway.
Then the drama starts. They expect her to do things, because that's part of the job. But she's constantly late, drops things (f.e. files that her boss Amy gave her, and now they're scattered all over the stairs, or on the ground outside the theatre, or underneath her bed at home...). And when she sees a cute boy with blue eyes she instantly forgets everything. Doesn't do what she's asked to do because she 's looking at him or chasing him or whatever.
Then, another thing. Because her mom is in theatre, Hope doesn't want to tell her mom that she applied for this internship and got it. She doesn't tell her parents where she is all day, and lets her friend lie for her. Why? Because she wants to do this on her own, not because she's "the daughter of...". Ok. So what's the problem? You can tell your parents, but then also tell your mom you don't want her involved because you feel like you want to prove yourself. Sure, she'll say, happy for you to have found something you want to do for the rest of your life. And that's that. But nooooo, she never tells them, and every time a situation occurs where her mom may find out (f.e. ), she panicks.

Hope constantly doubts herself. She's got a killer CV (from the looks of it while reading) for a teen, but still she's like "I have to prove myself, what if others don't like me, what if I'm not good enough, I shouldn't be here" etc. And then instead of actually working hard and proving herself to others, she does the exact opposite. WHY!?!?! Some examples:
- On her first day, she gets a lot of folders with information she has to work through. But when she gets home, she's tired so she doesn't do anything. This happens everyday.
- While going on the internship, she doesn't work for school. They gave her a pass to go (which doesn't require parents' signatures if you're underage?) but expect her to keep up with schoolwork in the mean time. Sure. She doesn't, of course.
- Amy, her "boss", notices that Hope is spending more and more time with Luke. So she talks to her about it and says, you shouldn't mix professional life with personal life. So what does Hope do? Continue to swoon over and talk to Luke and forget everything.
- She has to work for a famous actor, Tommy Knight, who is starring in the play. He asks her to do things, which is her job, but then she's annoyed because he doesn't ask her nicely and say thanks. When he asks her a line because he forgot it, she basically screams it at him. How do you not know how to professionally deal with people when you have so much experience?
- Ok, so then she spends time with the cute blue-eyed boy, Luke. SORRY. I DON'T GET IT.
- At some point,
- Hope promised to help her mother with an important costume. But then, she stays working late and doesn't answer her mother's calls. When she calls back, she promises to come back home as soon as possible. Right after she goes to get her stuff, and she starts walking through the theatre seats to touch them and wander around, "feeling the magic" or something.. UHH, you promised you were coming home immediately. Then, she gets to the stage, and Luke is there with a "picknick". So she stays for what, another hour? And doesn't think about her mom WHATSOEVER. Sorry but she's really DUMB.

Then, some other annoying things to end this with:
- She hates her sisters. It's not really explained in the book why, apart from the fact that they get all the attention and when they're around Hope feels like a little kid. Nice way to hate your sisters, damn. Of course one of the sisters
- Don't her parents ever go into her room? To clean or whatever, or grab laundry? Why don't they see all the props and scripts lying around?
- So,
- So, she also has a friend Priya, who is happy for her when she tells her she got an internship somewhere. But she can't tell Priya which show it is. Even though if Priya googles, she'll find the internship herself, right? Because Hope can't tell anyone about the show before it's airing, she has to sign a NDA. Hope doesn't tell Priya, "Hey, I wish I could but I can't tell you anything about the show, becuase they made me sign an NDA. Sorry. I'll tell you as soon as I can, ok?" Nope, she just lies to her best friend. And then when everything's on the table, Hope tells Priya and calls it a "confidentiality thing". Like Priya, who also has worked in theatre for YEARS, doesn't know what an NDA is.
- Of course,
- Of course, in the end the show

The only things I liked in this book: the fact that it was Piecekeepers that was being turned into a play, which is the book that was written by the love-interest in Unconventional. And Tommy. He actually felt real as a character and had his own redemption arc of sorts. He cracked up the rating to two stars.

I'm sorry for this rant. This book was just really frustrating. I cannot understand why other people don't see this. Please, go read something else, but just skip this book. Even if you love theatre. The only things that happen through the first 4/5 of the book are just annoying, then the ending is ok. Because you see the play and stuff actually happens. I didn't like this book. And I played in 2 musicals, so I actually like theatre. Please go read something else if you're looking for a romance.
Profile Image for Mara.
220 reviews12 followers
March 7, 2020
4/5 stars

I was introduced to Maggie Harcourt about two-ish years ago trough Unconventional, which I really enjoyed. It has been a while, however, and I was nervous to pick this book up. Because what if it disappoints? Well, it did not disappoint, but it didn't blow me away either.

Things I liked:
* No miscommunication, for once. I didn't have to spend half a book watching two characters dance around each other because of a misunderstanding.
* The romance was adorable
* The plot did go into directions I didn't expect it to go
* The clear passion for theatre
* Found family
* A likeable main character that isn't a blushing maiden throughout the entire book. When the miscommunication between her and Luke happened, she confronted him instead of letting it drag and make the book angsty.
* A consistent supporting cast (though not everyone was equally necessary)

Things I didn't like as much
* The way the family tension was resolved.
* Some scenes in the book felt redundant. Like, basically everything with the crew of her previous theatre and her best friend seemed unnecessary
* Nothing against her best friend (whose name I already forgot), but it felt like she and George had a similar role, but because George was present most of the time, he fulfilled the 'best friend/supporting character' role more.
* I recall that this book spans over three weeks, and I think it feels too short. It felt like this book took place over months. Also, there was an occasional time skip that felt a little sudden.
* The ending felt a little lacking

Profile Image for Fay Pretty.
270 reviews
April 7, 2020
“It’s not life and death.”
He blinks at me, then sniffs. “You know as well as anyone that theatre is much more important that that.”

This book is warm, fuzzy and exactly what I needed.

Some of my favourite memories have been made in a drama studio with my two best friends and a heavily notated script and whilst they’ve gone on to be the best actors I’ve ever met (yes, thank you for noticing my heavy bias and ‘proud mum’ tones), it’s been a while since I’ve been on stage. Opening this book was like stepping back onto that stage once again.

Hope lands her dream, interning as stage manager in a major production, but there’s a lot to learn (isn’t there always) as well as a priceless necklace (just waiting for something to happen to it), diva movie stars and to top it off a cute boy. I swear its not as cringy as I’ve somehow made it sound! Although there was a touch of unbelievability about the plot at times, especially at the end, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the story.

I loved how Luke (aka ‘cute boy’) was just as shy and awkward around Hope, he wasn’t automatically dashing or the star, he was just a boy involved in something bigger- the theatre. Everyone in the cast and crew felt so real, little nuances and ticks, real mistakes and relatable people. It felt like a family.

It’s not just a trait of characters in the theatre, Hope’s parents are definitely people I could see in real life, in fact, I might actually know a pair quite like them. Maggie managed to only include them briefly but make them real. I wish we could see that same relatability with Priya at times (Hope’s best friend and cover for who she’s with when her mum asks). She’s, unfortunately, a bit two dimensional. Whereas there’s this little bit at the end where Hope’s running around like mad and her dad just chooses that moment to sort out travel logistics, and I just remember every similar conversation I’ve had with my dad.

It was possibly closer to 4.5 stars, with the odd unbelievable moments and slightly underdeveloped characters at times but it just made me so happy. Maybe it’s because I identified with it so much, a British setting and a colourful set of characters. I was home. Also, I laughed out loud, way too much, so much that if I wasn’t alone in quarantine people would be looking at me funny.

“You have a favourite cardigan? My god. I was right the first time. You’re beyond any help.”

This book is no way near noticed enough, and I highly recommend for anyone with a love of theatre, hard work and family, the bonus you get to witness an adorable and sometimes a laugh out loud (family looking at you weirdly because you're laughing to yourself) type of blossoming romance nestled amongst it all.

“Because sometimes, it’s the things that nobody notices which deserve noticing,”
Profile Image for Ellesha.
37 reviews4 followers
September 24, 2018
Okay so, I didn't really know what to expect from this book other than a story about a girl who's into theatre along with a cliche love story.

BUT, I was wrong! This book is so so good and I loved every single second of reading this book. It had a few cliches thrown in there, but at the same time it was original and different, approaching these cliches in a new and refreshing way. I love the story of this book; It's simply just about a girl who wants to make it as a stage manager, however, the overall meaning of her story and her relationship and interactions with the other characters in the book are what stood out for me and what made this book so amazing.

Hope is a VERY likeable character, and her sarky, bubbly personality is contagious and makes for a fun read. Her relationship with Luke is cute and yes, a little cliche, but you don't mind because she's such an awesome character. One of my favourite relationships/interactions throughout this book is the relationship she has with Tommy. He is supposed to be this amazing A-lister, but Hope sees him as anything BUT this through the majority of the book, however, as the story progresses, you see more and more of what his personality is actually like underneath, and how Hope almost brings this out in him and sees him for who he really is. This was beautifully written and the emotion at the end of the book for these two characters was just something else.

The main thing that I loved about this book and what has stuck with me since finishing it, is not actually the love story between Hope and Luke, but is Hope's journey throughout the book; keeping secrets from her family and wanting to be the best she can be, on her own, and absolutely NAILING IT. Throughout the entirety of this book, I felt like I was going on this journey with her, experiencing all her ups and downs, her successes and her failures, and feeling every single emotion. She felt like my best friend. - THAT is what you call talented writing.

I loved going from the very beginning of the theatre production with her, from studio rehearsals, to dress rehearsals, right through to the opening night. The end of this book was just written in the most perfect way, you can vividly imagine the cast walking onto that stage and delivering their best performance, with the crew backstage running everything behind the scenes and it just felt like you had completed this journey with her, and she'd made it. I am not going to lie, the very last few pages of this book did make me cry.

So if you want a love story that's not just a love story, but an incredible journey that you're also a part of - I DEFINITELY recommend this book!
Profile Image for Martha.
643 reviews58 followers
May 1, 2019
3.5 stars

Hope dreams of working backstage at the theatre, yet she wants to prove that she belongs without the help of her famous costumer designer mother. She receives an internship and is suddenly thrust into a busy schedule of managing not only her new job, but also a stroppy Hollywood star and his handsome understudy.

First of all, I loved the theatre aspect of the story. Reading it, I felt immersed in the theatre life and this was fun to read about.

Theatrical was a coming-of-age story about finding yourself. Hope wants to be able to prove herself without using her connection to her mother, a famous costume designer. With her mother already being so immersed in the theatre world, Hope worries that everyone will presume she only received her own opportunities through her famous mother's name. She therefore decides to apply for a backstage role without telling the crew about her mother or telling her mother, who Hope fears will become too involved with her new job. I completely understood Hope's unease surrounding these fears... yet I also couldn't help but feel she was a little ungrateful? Regardless, Hope's character growth was a nice part to the story.

Hope's mother was a strong character, but her sisters could have been developed more. Faith just drops in to cause drama and I'm not sure who Grace was. Admittedly, there was probably not enough time to explore these relationships and I appreciate the mother/daughter relationship that was instead focused on.

Similarly, the Hope's friendship with Priya seemed tacked-on, making Priya seem like a throwaway character and yet her friendship with George held a lot more heart. (I love George).

As for the romance, there was something missing for me. I can't actually pinpoint what it was, but I wasn't wholly invested, which was strange because at the very start I was. Maybe I just didn't click with Luke's character enough?

I was far more attentive to the relationship dynamic between Hope and Tommy, the star of the theatre. He was a more interesting character (though by no means am I saying that I shipped him and Hope) and their moments of interaction were the best parts. Tommy starts off a spoilt movie brat who causes a lot of issues for Hope and the theatre but toward the end we see a different side to him.

Overall, this was a cute read but, for me, it was missing that extra sparkle.
Profile Image for Felicity  Wishes .
114 reviews6 followers
January 23, 2019
3.7 stars

As a theatre kid, I am an absolute sucker for any book about theatre, and this one definitely fitted the bill.

I loved the focus on backstage and stage management work, it was really refreshing and those guys definitely need more credit for what they do. I liked Luke as a love interest, he was really sweet, and I liked how he wasn't an extroverted actor and was very down to earth. I found that to be something that matched with my experiences of acting.

I thought that the writing style was great, very cute and relatable, loved the Britishness. There was also some really lovely imagery, that took me by surprise- much appreciated.

So let's talk about the main romance. What struck me about Hope and Luke at the beginning was how normal they seemed. What went down in the first act was a pretty accurate representation of what it's like to have a crush. Later on, it started to get more outlandish and rom-com-esque, with all the classic big gestures, but they still felt very real. Saying this, Theatrical is not so much about the romance between Hope and Luke, but the story of Hope's love for theatre. It's her true passion, and you can really see that all the way through, as well as in the other characters, like Luke and Tommy.

For the negatives, I will say that some moments were a bit cliche/ cheesy/ predictable, but sometimes that's what you want. My main problem with the book was that there was not a lot of conflict, everything seemed to go pretty smoothly, with only a few momentary hiccups. Despite this, I surprisingly wasn't bored.

Overall, a lovely book that I will definitely pick up again when I need some wholesome lit. Theatre feels like home, and reading about it feels like home too, and that's why Theatrical gets the 4*.
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