I was into this from page one. I loved the MC's voice. It was strong and funny and clever while being vulnerable and honest. Then I devoured it. This is a pretty dark book, but it is not told in a dark way. Maybe dark is the wrong word, but it deals with some serious issues with a light voice. For me, it so fully captured the world of having a competitive group of friends that really might not be your friends. Which is probably more true to the adolescent experience than a book with a bestie and an amazing group of friends while falling in love with your amazingly sweet totally secure best boyfriend.
Anyway this book kind of blew me away, so imagine my surprise when I go on goodreads, and it has a really low rating. People don't like this book? How could they not like it? Maybe it didn't speak to them like it spoke to me. Maybe being 36 and NOT a teenager made me appreciate this more. I don't know. But I was really impressed by this book.
When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.
Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.
Light swearing, talk of sexual situations without being too graphic, talk of sexual identity, deals with mature relationships between adults and teens, and teenage drinking & smoking in a way that makes it feel like no big deal....especially the smoking could have really done without the smoking.