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The Understudy

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  71 reviews
How far would you go to protect your daughter?

Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise, and Kendall are bound together by one thing—their four daughters are best friends at the highly competitive Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts. Last year the foursome exploded because of brutal bullying between the girls, but they've since forgiven each other. The mothers, however, haven’t been
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Hodder Paperbacks (first published August 22nd 2019)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I really enjoy B.A. Paris and Clare Mackintosh books and had high hopes for this book.
The story is about a group of teenage girls who are at drama school and their mothers who will do anything for their daughters.
I just could not get into this story at all. I could not relate to the characters who were all very unpleasant and the bad language also put me off this story.
Thank you to NetGalley Hodder & Stoughton and for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Louise Wilson
This story centres around the mothers of four teenage girls who all attend a performing arts school. Jess, Ruby, Bel and Sadie attend the Orla Flynn Academy. They are studying musical theatre and form a close friendship group. The mothers, Carolyn, Kendall, Bronnie and Elsie are aslo friends until an incident where bullying occurred the previous year. The headmaster suggests that they I produce a new girl into the group. The girls make Imogen welcome but soon cracks appear.

The story
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

So, The Understudy, a book with an amazing pedigree of 4 top of their game writers although I must confess to only reading Paris and Mackintosh previously, both of which I have read everything they have published and mainly enjoyed
The book is split into long chapters and ( I only realised at Chapter 4 😎 ) whichever author has written that chapter it is indicated at the start, they then all come together to write the end chapter/finale
Does this work? For me, yes, it did, I did notice diffe
Liz Barnsley
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed The Understudy, it was wildly entertaining and twistier than a bag full of pretzels on a rollercoaster.

It is peppered with highly dislikeable yet extraordinarily engaging character's, set within a highly competitive environment, where each passing chapter sends another curveball your way.

I loved the sense of baton passing as each of these brilliant authors add their own peculiar talents to the mix and this was one of those books where I often spoke out loud to i
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-as-of-2018
The mothers are forced to come together when their daughters are being targeted but they have to find out if the newest member to their drama school is the killer, possessed perhaps or just a wicked little girl that wants to be a star.

I thought that considering it was written by multiple author (B. A. Paris being my favorite and the reason I wanted to read it) they flowed rather easily. If i didnt know that it was multiple authors I would not have known they just blended the story together so n
With thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Staughton for this ARC in exchange for and honest review.

The Understudy is about a four friends and wannabe actresses Jess, Ruby, Annabelle and Sadie. The girls attend the Orla Flynn Academy for Performing Arts.

Ruby had moved to the UK from America the year before and quickly made friends with the three girls. Her mother Kendall was lonely and became friends with the mums, Carolyn, Elise and Bronnie.

Ruby became jealous of Jess beca
Karen Barber
On paper this sounds like an idea that might work...four very different writers (all very good at what they do) each take a section of story and work it into a whole novel.
Our story focuses on a group of girls at the Orla Flynn Academy, a stage school where there are some definite divas...and not just among the students. A fairly tight-knit group of four friends. We’re given some backstory about one of them bullying another last year, but things are better. At least, until odd things start
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another thank you to Serial Box for my eARC of "The Understudy!"

I was so excited to see that B.A. Paris was going to be one of the authors for this project as I am already a fan of her work. All of the authors who contributed to this work flow together beautifully; their writing styles are all unique without disrupting the rhythm of the story, as it is told in (and to be released in) "episodes" rather than chapters.

As for the story, I was on the edge of my seat with every chapter! Four mothers
My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Understudy’ written by Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh; B A Paris; and Holly Brown in exchange for an honest review.

This intriguing novel is centred on the exclusive and highly competitive Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts in London. Mothers Carolyn, Bronnie, Elsie, and Kendall are bound together by their four daughters, who are students at the Academy as well as best friends.

At the opening we learn that
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Both Sophie Hannah and Clare Mackintosh are must-read authors for me; I’ve read a couple of books by B.A. Paris, but I’m not familiar with Holly Brown. A book co-written by four people sounded an intriguing proposition, and it actually works pretty seamlessly. It helps that it’s told mainly through the voices of four women - Elise, Bronnie, Kendall and Carolyn - mothers of girls who attend a stage school, the Orla Flynn Academy. When a weird new girl, Imogen, arrives at the school, things get ev ...more
Lynn Brown
I was intrigued by the multiple authorship of this book. I have read books by B A Paris and that really drew me in and the knowledge that the other authors are also well regarded.

Four mothers and their daughters - eight characters first off to keep track on and I couldn't. Which daughter was with which Mother I kept trying to recall as I read on. I would have thought that the different authors would have each had a voice but they for me just didn't.

The four girls are all budding sta
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The book reminded me of a thriller fiction version of Dance Moms due to the bitchiness of the mums. The plot was okay, not the greatest plot ever written. It got a bit boring at times as I felt it dragged towards the end. Rather predictable too.
Melanie Austin
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Clare Mackintosh and B. A. Paris and so when I found out they were working on a project together, I could not wait to read it. I have never had the pleasure of reading any of Sophie Hannah’s or Holly Brown’s books until now, but after reading this, I will definitely be buying. I was extremely excited to be offered a ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review and I was not disappointed with the content.

The storyline is extremely gripping from the beginning, b
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
I received an ARC of this novel from SerialBox.

The story of four girls at a performing arts school and (more particularly) their mothers, as Ruby, having bullied Jess the previous year, seems to be the victim of vicious pranks this year. Ruby has been tentatively taken back into the foursome, and then a new girl, Imogen, upsets the status quo.

I found this to be well-written and I had no difficulty in keeping going to the end, but it was bit exhausting in an all-girls scho
This psycological thriller is a collaberation project by B.A. Paris, Clare Mackintosh, Sophie Hannah and Holly Brown, with Hannah as the lead author. The four authors have written alternate chapters throughout the book, and the transition between them is pretty much seamless.
The story is set in a reputed academy for performing arts in London, and is told from the point of view of four very competitive mothers of more or less talented daughters. As it turns out, each of the mothers has some
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed 3 of the 4 authors of this book I was really excited what they would produce working together. The first and last chapters are written by them together and then they each write the chapter pertaining to each of the four main mothers and daughters. This does sometimes cause a little repetition but nothing to spoil the plot and it is interesting to have a slightly different writing style for each different mother and daughter. There are a lot of unpleasant traits ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

I wondered how a collaborative effort between four successful writers could work. Would there be distinct edges, jerkiness, or gaps in the story?

I soon forgot I had these questions after beginning the book. Unless the chapters were marked with an author’s name, I couldn’t tell the difference. It seemed as if one person had penned the entirety.

This was a fun read. Four mothers; each with their unique parenting style, jockey for position regarding their daughter’s success i
Colette Lamberth
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have previously read work by three of the four authors and was keen to read this collaborative work. To be honest I’m not sure I would have known from reading it that there were four authors involved had the chapters not been attributed to them individually. With 4 mothers and their daughters involved it was difficult for me to remember who they all were (might be an age thing on my part). I actually didn’t care much for any of the characters which left me with nobody to root for. I’m left wit ...more
Val Robson
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was an intriguing premise for a book as it is written by four already well known and successful authors. The plots centres on four girls, Ruby, Jess, Annabel (Bel) and Sadie and their respectively mothers Kendall, Carolyn, Bronnie and Elise. The girls are all about sixteen and studying musical theatre at the Orla Flynn Academy in London. Ruby and her mum are from the States but have been in London for a year or so. We start to learn of the dynamics within the girls and their mothers and the ...more
Elli (Kindig Blog)
Four girls all in competition for the role of leading lady in their end of year drama school showcase, but how far will one of them go to come out on top?

I must say that the premise of The Understudy – 4 authors each writing a chapter of a story from a different perspective, didn’t really enthral me. To someone unfamiliar with any of the authors it just felt a lot like a vanity project – something you’d perhaps do with your friends at school, or a marketing gimmick rather than anythi
Jacqueline  sharp
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I am a fan of all four writers involved and have read most of their books. The writing itself is great, and flows seamlessly for saying it was written by four people each with their own style of writing.

There are so many characters to remember four mums and their daughters, the introduction of a new student and the headmaster. At times remembering who was who’s mum was confusing until you got into the story more. The story is told
Jacqueline  sharp
I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I am a fan of all four writers involved and have read most of their books. The writing itself is great, and flows seamlessly for saying it was written by four people each with their own style of writing.

There are so many characters to remember four mums and their daughters, the introduction of a new student and the headmaster. At times remembering who was who’s mum was confusing until you got into the story more. The story is told
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read and loved books by each of the four authors of this book, I was both intrigued and excited to see how they would do with this collaboration. Sadly, for me, the expectation fell short in its execution. I am not sure of the mechanics behind how they wrote the book, apart from each author taking one of the four main characters (the mothers) and writing their chapters but however they did it, it didn't really work for me. The story didn't quite flow as well as I would have liked it to. I ...more
Caroline Kerdouci
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written by some very big names in crime fiction, The Understudy delves into the highly competitive and cut throat world of acting/show business.
Centre stage are four young aspiring, talented wannabe actresses and their equally pushy mothers seemingly willing to do anything to put their daughter in the spotlight. The OFA academy in London is where the action takes place and the reader is given a front row seat to witness the drama that is unfolding backstage. Ruby is a bully, having targeted Jes
Vicky-Leigh Sayer
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Understudy is the first collaborative novel that I've read in a long time. Written by four amazing authors, I had been looking forward to it's release for a while, and I wasn't disappointed.

Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise and Kendall are four very different women, with only one thing in common; each of their daughters attends the Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts, and wants to be a star.

Unfortunately is it impossible for all four girls to get the female lead role in
Fay Flude
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
London and a performing arts school where a group of 4 girls, Bel, Sadie, Ruby and Jess are causing trouble, not just any trouble but the sort of antics that can get a girl expelled. Is Ruby jealous of Jess? Is that why she placed a mutilated ballerina in a music box, playing an audition piece, in Jess's locker? This question is the starting point for a novel based on secrets, lies and a lot of acting.
The mothers of the 4 girls, Elise (Sadie), Carolyn (Jess), Bronnie (Bel) and Kendall (Rub
Tiffany {Beyond the Stars: Book Blog}
I was gifted a copy of The Understudy by Serial Box in order to read and give an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Classic case of who-done-it, right here ladies and gentlemen. The best part though is you literally don't know. There are so many options, so many people you mind takes you to, and none are correct.

The book is set in London at a performing art school and is told from the view point of the mothers, Carolyn, Bronnie, Kendall, and Elise, of four of the stud
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise, and Kendall are bound together by one thing - their four daughters are best friends at the highly competitive Orla Flynn Academy for the Performing Arts.
Imogen Curwood is a new girl at the Academy and her behaviour is odd from the start. On the day she arrives, bad things start to happen. As one threatening incident follows another, the four mothers begin to ask themselves: are their girls in danger?
When an
This book is a collaboration between four writers of psychological/thriller books, and will interest many readers because of this.
It’s told through the eyes of four mothers of daughters at a performing arts academy. Carolyn is a Cambridge Law Professor, with aspirations to write musical theatre. Bronnie is a stay at home mum, in charge of costumes and wardrobe. Elise is a driven businesswoman with her own tech company. Kendall is an American cancer survivor who is very invested in her daug
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensiti ...more
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