Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Review: Viola in the Spotlight by Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: March 31st, 2011
Grade rating: B+
Viola Chesterton is back home in her native New York after a year in the Middle-of-Nowhere at boarding school. All Viola wants to do is spend the summer doing with her best friends, Andrew and Caitlin. But she should know by now that things don't always go according to plan and, with Andrew being shipped off to summer camp by his parents and Caitlin swept up in her first real romance, Viola finds herself feeling lonely in her home town for the first time. Once again Viola turns to her love of film and theatre for solace as she helps out backstage at the Broadway show. And when she persuades her roommates from the Prefect Academy to come to New York for the opening night, things finally start to look up for Viola.
This series is fast becoming one of my favourites for teenage girls. It's so easy to get lost in Viola's story and surroundings, and thanks to that I read this one straight through in one sitting. Trigiani's writing is fun and contemporary, with media references littered throughout. Theatre, music, films - you name it, it's here. It makes it that much more realistic, which is never a bad thing in YA fiction.
I really loved the first book in this series, Viola in Reel Life, and I'm so glad that Viola in the Spotlight lived up to my expectations. It did take me a few chapters to get myself reacquainted with everyone but, once I got back into the swing of things, I didn't feel like it had been over a year since I read about these lovely characters. They feel like old friends to me now, and I like every single one of them. Trigiani's story of high school hardships, first loves and friendship is something that all teenagers will relate to, and even I find myself getting nostalgic for my school days!
In Viola in the Spotlight, Viola has completed her year at Prefect Academy in South Bend, Indiana, and is now back in New York. Boy trouble has inevitably followed her, and being reunited with her BFFAA Andrew isn't all she thought it would be. She needs her boarding school friends to help get her life back on track, and luckily her Grand's Broadway play is the perfect place for a meeting. NYC is one of my favourite settings to read about, as it just seems so glamorous and unbelievable. From descriptions of the sweeping skyline to Brownstone houses, nothing is left out, and it made me want to visit the city even more. I want to see these famous landmarks with my own eyes, but until then I'm glad I get to imagine it in such vivid detail.
Viola in the Spotlight is an enjoyable read from start to finish, with more depth than I originally thought. Along with that feeling of excitement for life and all the possibilities it brings, there are also sad and incredibly poignant moments that Viola and her friends find themselves facing. Also, there's a bit of a surprise at the end of this one. I saw it coming, but still, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. This series is fiction for teen girls at its best, and I can honestly say that each book is a joy to read. I can't wait for the next one!