Cut the Lights

9781459804135. ea vol: (Orca Limelights Series). ebook available. Orca. 2013. pap. $9.95.
Gr 7 Up—Readers are introduced to three different creative teens in this new hi/lo series: a ballet dancer, a theater student, and an aspiring rock star. In Attitude, Australian Cassie is invited to spend the summer at a prestigious ballet academy in Vancouver. Being the new girl, she has a difficult time fitting in. However, when another dancer named Melissa begins to make threats, Cassie becomes afraid of how far Melissa will go in order to stay on top. While the plot is fairly predictable, there is just enough drama between the ballerinas to keep teens interested. Cut the Lights follows Briar, a sophomore who wins a coveted spot as the director of a one-act play at her performing arts school. Unfortunately, Briar soon finds that neither her cast nor her crew are supportive of her vision. As tensions mount, the girl learns about what it takes to be a good leader. Each chapter opens like a play complete with stage directions. Briar's struggles with finding her voice as both a director and a leader will resonate with teens, especially drama students. In Totally Unrelated, Neil has always been a guitarist for his family's band. When his friend Bert convinces him to form a rock band and enter a local talent show, Neil realizes that he wants to be more than just a background player. But when he is forced to choose between the talent show and an important gig with his family, the boy will have to decide what matters more-fame or family. This is a solid story about becoming your own person. Neil is a sympathetic character who readers will root for throughout his journey. These titles are all great choices for younger teens and reluctant readers.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH

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