THEATRE MEETS ENEMIES TO LOVERS: As If on Cue Review

Summary (from the publisher):Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on.

But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win.

Except Natalie and Reid.

Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

After falling head over heels from Marisa Kanter’s debut in 2020, What I Like About You (featuring a book blogger & bookish baker), I had to get my hands on her upcoming sophomore novel, As If on Cue.

This YA novel takes on one of my all-time favorite tropes, enemies-to-lovers, set against a high school musical that needs to go well in order to save Natalie’s drama club and Reid’s school band. Natalie and Reid have been rivals since their middle school days, competing for clarinet first chair and Natalie’s music instructor of a dad’s attention. After a prank gone wrong in middle school, Natalie and Reid’s high school rivalry escalates even further when their high schools’ arts budget is cut, with Natalie losing the drama club… but more than enough funds still allocated for Reid’s award-winning band, led by Natalie’s dad. When a prank goes too far once again, Natalie and Reid are forced to convert Natalie’s play into a musical and create a production that will convince the school board to bring back money for the arts. 

As If on Cue was a fun enemies-to-lovers that felt really unique for its musical premise. I love a good enemies-to-lovers featuring school rivals (hello Rachel Lynn Solomon’s Today Tonight Tomorrow) and As If on Cue reminded me why I love this trope so much through Marisa Kanter’s storytelling. The book transitions between Reid and Natalie’s current prank war and being forced to run the school musical together, while going back to their middle school years and the prank that cemented their rivalry for good. I love revisiting their past while seeing them working through their issues and coming together in the present (with a few bumps down the road of course).

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SWEETEST YA: What I Like About You Review & Inspired Cupcake Recipe

Summary (from the publisher):
whaThere are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

 

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I firmly believe that What I Like About You is the YA contemporary meant for my bookish soul. Main character who shares the same name as me (albeit, spelled differently from yours truly), blogs about YA books, loves books and baking, and dreams of a job where she can share her love for books? Marisa Kanter’s debut novel literally has made my bookish dreams come true in the best way possible- in the cutest YA contemporary book that is!

What I Like About You follows high school senior Halle Levitt. By day, Halle is adjusting to spending her senior year in Connecticut and dreams of getting into NYU and landing a job in publishing. But by laptop and phone screen, Halle is Kels, the creator and blogger behind One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs YA book covers with cupcakes. Halle loves just about everything about One True Pastry, but especially loves talking to Nash, fellow blogger and her online best friend. Things get extremely complicated for Halle IRL when she meets Nash face-to-face at her new school and must figure out how – and if – she’ll reveal herself as Kels to him.

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What I Like About You is my favorite bookish YA contemporary. I have no problem at all relating to nearly any character who loves books or books that take place in a bookish setting like a library or bookstore. However, What I Like You steps up the bookish book game up so much for featuring a protagonist that runs a book blog. Halle’s platform is absolutely huge, but I was able to relate to her so much for not only her love of books and turning said love into a bookish career, but really having to balance blogging with IRL things like family and school. From drafting and editing posts to checking emails to scrolling through Twitter, blogging definitely takes a lot of time and I loved that we got to see Halle do all of these things. Halle finds herself in so many important conversations about book blogging and YA books, Twitter and who YA is for included, and so much of our everyday lingo, from ARCs to TBRs. Both Kels and Nash are vying for spots on a blogger panel at Book Con, and I loved all and any talk surrounding my favorite bookish weekend.Read More »