I’ve got an exciting post lined up for you guys today! I’m starting off the blog tour for Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth, and let me tell you guys, are you in for a treat with this book! Before I jump into my review, here are the deets on this book:
Author: Molly Booth
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fantasy, Romance
Pub Date: November 1, 2016
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.
It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?
This is one of those books that a certain group of people will really love. That group of people? Theater kids! This book revolves around not one, but two productions of a play, and I’m sure quite a few high school kids would love to see the theater world come alive on the page. I’m not even in theater and I loved it! The english nerd in me thought it was pretty cool that Shakespeare was an actually character in the novel? But is it for people who aren’t into theater? Read on and find out!
I think it’s important before I really get into my review to point out that this is a book on the younger side of the YA spectrum. The main character is only a sophomore (15 ish), and while there is a couple mentions of beer, the tone of the book is much more lighthearted than it is serious and heavy. If you go into it expecting this, then I think you’ll really enjoy it.
It’s a good thing when I don’t think about the pacing of the plot, because that means there’s nothing glaringly wrong with it. This book was perfectly paced, with slower scenes balancing out the ones that were high with emotion or rife with action. And trust me, with theater kids, there is a lot of drama (as one character points out), so it was nice to have some resting scenes so I could adjust to the tone of the chapter. As for the plot itself, I thought it was super unique and well executed. I loved reading about the high school production just as much as I liked reading about the original Hamlet production!
There were quite a lot of characters, but I thought they were all pretty much well developed and unique. Sometimes, the three love interests seemed to overlap, but they were also pretty original characters. As for our narrator and main character, Emma, she was a pretty relatable teen, I think. In the beginning of my sophomore year, I remember feeling that same anxiety (and that same jittery feeling around my crush). It’s always great to see an authentic high schooler in a book, and the author definitely achieved that with Emma. The relationship dynamic she had with Stanley and Lulu was also very relatable, so props for that as well.
Okay, down to the important stuff you all want to know–the romance. Or, I should say, romances. There are three different love interests. Emma doesn’t necessarily like them all at the same time though; it’s a naturally progression from one guy to the next, and at the end, she’s finally settled with one of them (my favorite, for what it’s worth *cheers*). With all of the guys, there is a different romance trope. Brandon is the unrequited crush Emma thinks she’ll never get to be with. Cooke is the cool, friendly guy who seems just out of reach (as he’s hundreds of years in the past, lol). Josh is the popular guy in public, but the boy who helps her with her anxiety in private. All of them were well rounded, and all of the romances were pretty cute.
Overall, Saving Hamlet was a quick, cute read. The main character was super relatable, the plot was engaging, and the romances were reminiscent of every high school crush and full of cute moments. Theater kids will definitely appreciate this book, but I think everyone else will, too! It’s definitely worth checking out when it’s released next week!