My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Time-Travel, First Love, Drama Club, LGBT
Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.
One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.
There’s nothing I love more than a book that makes me love a genre I usually can’t seem to enjoy reading about.
Time-travel has never been my go-to genre. I normally stay way away from it, because I never liked how it seems to always create a hundred misunderstandings or mishaps in a plot. Plus they’re usually very predictable.
But ‘‘Saving Hamlet’’ doesn’t rely on the time-travel theme. It serves the plot but it’s NOT the plot. It helps Emma—the heroine—realize some things about herself and gain more confidence. And it’s also used to grow a mild ‘‘coming-of-age’’ theme in the story.
It’s definitely original. And it’s got humour, too. Emma thinking that her new pixie haircut was the catalyst for all her adventures made me realize how such a simple thing as a haircut can be the signature of a book, if you know what I mean. When I think ‘‘Saving Hamlet,’’ three phrases come to my mind: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, awesome time-travel and Emma’s pixie haircut!
Emma is a very relatable heroine. The reason why I’m not giving this a higher rating is because it tackles many subjects that have already been tackled a thousand times before: unrequited love, love denial, petty friendship drama, gay best friend with homophobic parents… I actually really liked how open the book is about LGBT, but a lot of the contemporary situations in this book can be found in many, many others. And none of them are explored in extreme dept.
I didn’t truly believe this story would have a ‘‘quadrangle’’ love story because those are extremely rare and hard to pull off. But Molly Booth manages to make it interesting and not at all annoying. So kudos to her.
I want to see these characters again. All of them. So I hope the ending, which alludes to a future sequel or companion novel, isn’t meant to only deceive us into thinking that or for characterization purposes. I don’t like to be played with this way! Gah! But yes, good story, charming characters and gripping writing.
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