Seventeen-year-old Zelda Bailey-Cho has her future all planned out: improv camp, then Second City, and finally Saturday Night Live. She’s thrilled when she lands a spot on the coveted varsity team at a prestigious improv camp, which means she’ll get to perform for professional scouts—including her hero, Nina Knightley. But even though she’s hardworking and talented, Zelda’s also the only girl on Varsity, so she’s the target for humiliation from her teammates. And her 20-year-old coach, Ben, is cruel to her at practice and way too nice to her when they’re alone. Zelda wants to fight back, but is sacrificing her best shot at her dream too heavy a price to pay?
Equal parts funny and righteous, Unscripted is a moving debut novel that Printz Award winner Nina LaCour calls "a truly special book, written at exactly the right time."
Zelda doesn’t have a ton of experiences with boys, in particular with controlling boys. She attends an improv camp with her brother, and becomes the only girl to make the varsity team after catching the eye of the twenty-year-old coach. As they get to know each other more she learns the hard way that some experiences are best left unexplored.
What I loved:
First off, this book has amazing characters. There are a lot of them but the writing style makes it easy to remember who each of them are. Zelda’s brother, Will is protective of her in the best possible way. Not overbearing but enough to show how much he cares. And then there’s Jesse. Dear, sweet, Jesse. This book wouldn’t have any shred of hope without him.
The writing style in this book kept me glued for a one-sitting read. Even when I was uncomfortable (as this book should make everyone) I needed to keep going.
And holy diversity! A lot of books are diverse just for the sake of saying they are. But this... characters from so many backgrounds are weaves into the plot in a way that lets us know that they’re there, but treats it as a normal thing instead of some special aspect. Because diversity in our lives IS normal. That was the best part of the book.
What was just okay: In the first part of the book I didn’t get an inkling how bad things would get for Zelda and it made it hard to love the book at first. There are so many uncomfortable parts, and most were handled with care. I wish Zelda had stuck up for other people rather than doing what her teammates did when confronted with the sexism. There were examples of homophobia and racism that she looks for others to stand up about.
The kind of story all teenagers could learn something from (and adults). Well written. Fast paced. Diverse. I recommend this to anyone who wants more than fluff with their books. Stories like these are important.