About This Book:
Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream of becoming a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super introverted dad, who raised Millie alone since she was a baby. Not her drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not her “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm. Millie needs an ally. And when an accidentally left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do―find her mom.
But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE is a charming YA contemporary with a new take on Mamma Mia. Millie lives life loudly. She dreams of being a broadway star and is determined to make it happen. When she gets into a prestigious precollege program across the country, she thinks her path is set – that is, until her father says no. She ultimately gets him to agree to put off the decision for a little while and decides to find someone who will be on her side. If it’s parental permission she needs, she suspects that her mother would be on her side, if she knew who she was.
Millie’s mother left her with her father when she was an infant, and Millie knows almost nothing about her, except that she was also theatrical. When she finds her father’s old livejournal entries from back in the day, she comes up with 3 possible women who could have been her mother. With the help of her BFF Teddy, they figure out ways that she can get closer to them to see if they may be the one. She joins a broadway club run by Beth, takes dance classes with Farrah, and signs up for an internship to get to know the assistant, Steph. The internship puts her in direct competition with her archnemesis, Oliver, who might turn out to be her crush. This summer is sure to be life-changing.
What I loved: This “Millie Mia” is a really heartfelt search for belonging and family. Although Millie has a loving father and aunt who are very involved in her life, there is something missing with the mother she knows must exist but barely knows anything about. Millie is coming-of-age, but to understand who she is, she wants to understand where she came from. Her journey is really fantastic, full of fumbles, but a really genuine journey of self-discovery and understanding. The romance is also really sweet, and I love the way she and Oliver carry from nemeses to friendly to crushes. Between the internship, crush, and mother search, this is a book that moves quickly and keeps readers on their toes.
Important themes of family, friendship, theatre, reaching for your goals, embracing yourself, and trying to outrun your past make this a really lovely read. With the showbusiness background and lessons, the Mamma Mia storyline is taken to a whole other level. I loved the old friendships (Teddy the GeoTeen is delightful), new ones (especially darling Chloe, whose story I also would have loved to read), and the search for belonging that make these characters and Millie so compelling. Overall, this was a really delightful and entertaining read with some very heartfelt and lovely scenes.
Final verdict: A charming YA contemporary, WHEN YOU GET THE CHANCE is a heartfelt coming-of-age read about family, friendship, and broadway. Highly recommend for fans of BETTER TOGETHER, JUST A BOY AND A GIRL IN A LITTLE CANOE, and DATING MAKES PERFECT.
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