August 15, 2012

Book Review: Take a Bow


Title: Take a Bow
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Synopsis:

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

Thoughts on the Book

The story was about six teenagers who were chasing their dreams. The story focuses on the four main characters – Emme, Ethan, Carter, Sophie. The four students have different attitudes and personalities which will determine their success as future performers and artists. They’ll come to different realizations about themselves, about whom they considered friends and about their real passion and dreams. 

EMME. A redhead who has a passion for music. She’s a very talented composer and she believes that her best friend Sophie is the most appropriate artist to sing her song. She was used to Sophie being the center of attention and her the person behind the music. She is contented being a wallflower that she didn’t realize her amazing talent. With the help of her three band mates - Jack, Ben, and Ethan – she discovers that she has more talents other than composing. Through her friends (except Sophie), she began to develop her self-confidence and she began to do things outside of her comfort zone. She finally got the chance to play the guitar and she had also begun to sing her own compositions. She started to believe in herself and in her capabilities. 

ETHAN. He’s Emme’s best friend. He is a silent person who loves to compose and write songs. He’s in love with Emme since the first day she approached him to share his table with her but he never found the nerves to tell her how he feels until they were ready to take off for college. He is Emme’s rock. Every time Emme doubts her capability, Ethan is there to assure her that she can do it. He made sure to include all of Emme’s top university picks in his own list because he wants to be with Emme. I think that’s so sweet of him. I specially loved his name. I don’t know why but I’m very fond of the name Ethan. 

SOPHIE. She was a very confident person and she really believes in her talent. Back in her hometown, she was adored by many people. She has a fan base. She knows what she wants and she’ll do anything to get it. So she auditioned at CPA. That’s her plan. She even encouraged her best friend Emme to audition because she knew that her chance of succeeding is higher if Emme will be there to compose her songs. However, her plans backfired. She wasn’t getting famous. She never excelled. Unlike her, Emme is making a name for herself. She was beginning to be recognized by her mentors. Sophie lost her confidence and began to worry about her dreams and about her future. So for their last audition for the talent showcase in their school, she asked Emme for a new composition. Emme agreed to do it but then she found out about her real motives towards her. That’s when Sophie’s plan began to lose its balance. 

CARTER. The wonder kid who managed to have a blockbuster hit movie at the age of nine. He was so popular until the day he realized that he doesn’t have the passion for what he was doing anymore. He auditioned for CPA and was naturally accepted. Every performance in the school, he got the last spot. He hated it because he feels like he wasn’t accepted because of his acting skills but because of his being famous. He knows that he’s being ridiculed behind his back. He knows that his passion lies elsewhere – painting. So he dropped out of CPA and began to enjoy what he loves the most to do. He took his paintings to curators and ask for their honest criticisms. 

JACK and BEN. These two were really funny. They were the ones who gave the comic relief in this book. I love the tragic stories they made about the group. How will they die in the end? What unlucky demise they might end up with? But what I love about them is how protective they were towards Emme. 

Reading this book is like reading the book version of the popular Korean drama, Dream High. The plot was almost the same. I can’t help but compare the characters from the book and the drama. 

The book was good but it did not leave any strong impression on me. I hope the writer will write a sequel for this one. I want to know what will happen to them after college.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • When Emme played the guitar for the first time. This was after Ethan’s accident. That was really hot. Everyone who watched that show craved for more guitar-playing from her. 
  • When Emme confronted Sophie in front of the other CPA students. 
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see what you’re really like. Since you feel the need to air dirty laundry in front of everybody...Guess what. When I write songs for you, I have to limit the melody to ten notes because those are the only notes you can hit well. You don’t have a good range, which is what your problem is. I’ve known that for years, but I’ve hidden it. That’s why you only shine when you sing my songs, because I’ve been trying to help you...by disguising your biggest flaw. Well, one of your flaws. You can’t blame me for your lack of range. You can’t blame me for you not getting into the showcase. You always want things to be all about you. Anytime I come to you with a problem, you don’t want to hear it, unless it has to do with you. Well, congratulations, Sophie – you finally got what you wanted. Because this, not getting into the showcase, is all about you. You struggling in class, it’s all about you. The wake of relationships you’ve destroyed to get to this moment, it’s all about you. Enjoy your moment. You’ve earned everything that’s coming to you. Truly. 
  •  When Emme and Ethan auditioned for Juillard. I loved how Emme nailed the interview portion. She’s so brilliant. She finally found a place where she really belongs. So bad, Ethan hadn’t gotten in. 

Judge: Can you tell us why you wish to get a degree in composition?
Emme: Yes. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a special connection to music. I would spend hours listening to the radio or watching concerts on TV. When I started to take piano lessons, my teacher would get annoyed with me because I’d change the melodies of songs since I wanted them to sound like songs that I had in my head. For so long I thought it was a bad thing to do because I’d always get in trouble. She’d tell me, ‘That’s not what’s written on the page’. I was getting so upset because I wanted to do my own songs, but then when I was six, I got a new teacher who encouraged me to write my own music. I love starting with a blank piece of paper and making a new song from scratch. There are many times when I step away from the end of a long day of composing and I’m surprised about how much I did. Like it was coming from someplace else. All I know is that I have this need to create music. And if I don’t get into any music programs, I’m still going to do it for as long as I breathe. 
Judge: Favorite composers? 
Emme: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Lennon/McCartney 
Judge: Can you tell us about a challenge you’ve had to face and how you’ve grown from it? 
Emme: To be honest, being here, onstage, is a challenge. I’ve never been the kind of person who has a desire to be in the spotlight. What inspires me is the writing, not necessarily performing in front of an audience. Most of the music students I know enjoy seeing their name in lights and being onstage. But that’s always been my least favourite part. So standing up here having to sing for you, to have the confidence it requires to be an entertainer, that’s been a real challenge. However, this experience has really taught me a lot about myself. It’s wonderful to have people believe in you, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you really can’t accomplish much. So the fact that I’m standing here, and I’ll be able to walk out that door and be proud of what I’ve done, is an unbelievable accomplishment. It makes me wonder what else I’m capable of. 
Judge: Why Juillard? 
Emme: Because it’s Juillard. I’m from Brooklyn. New York City is part of who I am. I attend the New York City High School of the Creative and Performing Arts, mainly because of its proximity to Juillard. This has been my dream for so long. I think it would be more difficult for me to answer ‘Why would anybody choose to not to go to Juillard?’ 
  • When Ethan sang a song he composed for Emme to express what he really feels. That’s sweet! 
There are so many words bottled up inside
They scream out to be released
You’ve cast a spell over me
Been blinded for long, but can now see
 
You’re the only thing that matters in my life
All that I’ve done is for you
The biggest piece, the biggest part
The one person who controls my heart
 
If I could kiss away your pain, I would
If I could hold you every night, I would
If I could erase every mistake, every other face
I wouldn’t change a thing
Because all those things led me to this place
And to you
 
Because I … I could never break your heart
I wouldn’t know where to start
All I know to be true
Is the only breaking will be done by you
 
If I could make you smile all day, I would
If I could be the person you want, I would
If I could erase every mistake, every other face
 
I wouldn’t change a thing
Because all those things led me to this place
And to you
 
Because I … I could never break your heart
I wouldn’t know where to start
All I know to be true
Is the only breaking will be done by you
Rating: 4/5 

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