Carolrhoda. Nov. 2023. 360p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728457598.
Gr 5 Up–After an embarrassing fall off stage during the school play, 13-year-old Calvin Conroy is ready for a quiet summer recovering from public humiliation. Then he learns his best friend Kennedy is moving away to attend a prestigious arts school in New York City, and he throws himself and his friends into creating a movie that will hopefully change her plans. Throughout the summer, Calvin must juggle the complicated dynamics of middle school friendships, his parents’ expectations and strict rules, his Catholic identity, and his emerging romantic feelings for boys. Although many readers will relate to Calvin’s experiences, they may grow weary of the intense focus on Calvin’s emotions and relationships with no attention-grabbing plot outside of them.
VERDICT Chock-full of theater references, middle school romance, and drama, this book will find fans among so-called “theater kids,” but is too niche for a general audience.

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