As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

February 22, 2013

EYES LIKE STARS by Lisa Mantchev, 2009

All her world’s a stage. Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater. She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. That is, until now. Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Danielle, who even reads acknowledgments

Ah, the theatre, that magical place where we store word craft, music, whimsical fairies, swashbuckling pirates, airy spirits, and, well, Bertie.

I’ll admit, I had really silly reasons for picking up this book. It has the prettiest cover I’ve ever seen and I had just wrapped up my high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I was going through some pretty serious theatre withdrawal (and the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream are in this book!). However, after reading Bertie’s story I’ve come to a conclusion:

 I love this book.

I love this book a lot.

Bertie is a compelling character, desperate to prove herself to the Theatre Manager and earn her place in the Théâtre, while also trying to unravel the secrets of her past. Sure she might catch the stage on fire, drip hair dye on the stage floor, call for unscheduled scene changes, and tango in storage rooms, but it’s all part of what makes the reader root for her.

Then there’s Ariel, an air spirit from the Tempest, who wants nothing more than to be free and possibly Bertie. Pitted against him is Nate, a swashbuckling pirate from the cast of The Little Mermaid. He’s most likely the reason Bertie set the stage on fire in the first place, but I don’t think he knows that. Rounding out the list of Bertie’s helpers are four mischievous cake-loving fairies, Moth, Mustardseed, Cobweb, and Peaseblossom. It’s quite possible that the only reason Bertie hangs around them is because of her “innate inability to pee standing up” but I find them to be the most engaging of all the characters.

EYES LIKE STARS is a definite read for anyone who loves funny engaging humor, and doesn’t mind a smattering of grade school humor. I’ve lent it out to three friends and it always seems to take it’s time coming back to me.

Market: Young Adult
Language: None or almost none I certainly don’t remember any…
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild, mostly joking threats
Mature Themes: None


MKHutchins said...

This has been lingering on my Goodreads to-read shelf...I need to get around to picking this up. Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

This is such a unique book! I loved it. Thank you for the terrific review, Danielle!