A Whole Song and Dance

Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2023. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368077552.
Gr 9 Up–Nasrin lives and breathes theater, which leads the teen to lie to her business-driven maman and baba about going to NYU’s Stern School of Business while she’s really attending Tisch School of the Arts. Initially, freshman year is filled with new friends, like Beckett, and opportunities (a musical web series). However, keeping up the act of a business student means dealing with a meddling cousin, Max the surly Stats T.A., and constantly pretending for her parents. Acting may be where Nasrin excels, but doing so in her everyday life has her now questioning the cost of pursuing her passion. Tash sets up a theater-forward tale, driven by character relationships, that’s an entirely delightful read for any person experiencing transition in life. While Nasrin’s story can be predictable and lacking that “edge of your seat” intensity, it delivers excellent pacing with a plethora of pleasing theater references. Nasrin’s flawed sense of self propels the building conflict with her peers and parents, ultimately resolving with a reality check that the world doesn’t revolve around her. Stopping to truly listen to others and honestly communicating her feelings is what brings Nasrin’s chaotic world to peace. Nasrin is Persian, Beckett is Indian, and Max is white.
VERDICT A comfort read for the artistic dreamers juggling changes in their lives.

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