With David's Julliard audition approaching, and his relationship teetering on the brink of disaster, Oak Fields is thrown into chaos as a mysterious prankster begins attacking the school's highest achievers, determined to sabotage their college aspirations. Anyone who excels is a potential target, and David, the star of every play, could be next.
From the author of the highly praised The Brothers Torres comes a dangerously insightful book about enduring the pressures of high school, surviving the ins and outs of love, and fighting for your dreams, no matter what.
It's well written and while the story ebbs and flows in places, the characters are interesting. David Ellison, the MC is the school's theater star with the long-time girlfriend, Ellen, who has his sights set on Julliard. His parents want him to have a back-up plan just in case Julliard doesn't work out but David doesn't really see the point. He's a decent enough guy but he's also slightly egotistical and his attitude doesn't begin to change until a series of anonymous attacks on his fellow students begin to take place. These mysterious attacks are done by someone who calls themselves, "The Artist" whose intent is to take out the school's most promising students by tarnishing their reputations.
Ellen, David's girlfriend is smart, pretty and loyal, almost to a fault but I had a hard time with their relationship. It lacked any kind of romance for me and I'm not sure if that's because he seemed so focused on himself and his infatuation with his costar Vanessa or because there weren't many opportunities for them to be alone. Vanessa didn't impress me either and I felt like David was more enamored with her than he should've been; something Ellen and his sister Lisa tried to warn him about. Colten was refreshing and funny, albeit quirky but good for David nonetheless.
As David's Julliard audition approaches, the pressure begins to build making him doubt whether he's good enough, not just for the school of his dreams but for the stage at all. It doesn't help matters that his feelings for Vanessa, his beautiful co-star are growing harder to deny each day and causing more problems in his relationship with Ellen. Before David can say, "Break a leg!', his real life becomes more dramatic than any play he's ever performed in and once again, he's got the starring role, one he doesn't remember auditioning for.
As his life begins to slowly unravel, leaving David to wonder how things could possibly get any worse, "The Artist" strikes one final blow. David will learn who his real friends are and what matters most. He'll also learn the true meaning of success. Is it measured in the amount of fame one receives? How much money one makes? What other people think or is it how YOU feel about yourself and the career you've chosen to pursue? Ultimately, David will have to decide if following a dream is worth the risk of failure or of not ever knowing because you never tried.
My favorite quote comes from a conversation David has with his drama teacher...
"My point is that the second-the second-you start basing your definition of success on what other people think, you've lost. If you know what you want, and you're doing everything you can control, then it doesn't matter who tells you that you suck or how privileged you are or how normal your childhood was; your self-worth is safe no matter what happens." ~ Big Pro