Wednesday 4 July 2018


Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt [blog tour]

You only have to look at the name of this blog to know what two of my absolute favourite things in life are books and theatre. So when I heard that Maggie Harcourt, author of the delightfully geeky Unconventional (which was super relatable to this fangirl, let me tell you that), would be publishing a stagey YA novel I realised that we should probably be best friends. Spoiler alert: this has not yet happened. However, I have had the pleasure to transport myself to an entirely new theatrical world through her wonderful new book and oh boy did I love the stageyness of it all. (And Maggie: if you're in the market for a BFF, you know where to find me.)

This book resonated with me on so many levels! You guys knew what a fan I am of the stage by watching shows pretty much on a weekly basis, but my theatrical journey actually started several decades ago when I was a kid and my mum signed me up for theatre school. I was incredibly shy at the time and she thought that that might help me get out of my shell.

It took a good few years for that to be achieved outside of being on stage, but I had unexpectedly found something I would love for the rest of my life! I performed in the annual musicals at my high school during my teens and after uni even moved to London because there is a wealth of fantastic theatre right on our doorsteps here – and eight years on you can still find me at the theatre several times a month.

The magic of live theatre really is very special; the way a group of mostly strangers will bond so instantly and so strongly as they spend every waking hour together to create something incredible. The show will be the most important thing in their lives for that short period, with little time for anything else, and the cast and crew will feel like family for the duration of a production.

The wonder of sharing that theatre passion and working together to create something amazing really is a marvel. Not to mention how the right costumes, lighting, make-up and staging can transform the actors completely and pull the audience along for the ride with them to a time or place beyond their wildest dreams. There really is nothing quite like it.

And Maggie Harcourt has captured that stagey passion and the thrill of working on an incredible piece together to create magic so wonderfully in Theatrical.

You may remember the awesome fictional story of Piecekeepers in Unconventional, well the story has been so successful that it's being turned into a play with none other than Hollywood heartthrob Tommy Knight in the lead. Protagonist Hope manages to get an internship at the theatre working on the production and through her eyes we get a sneak peek backstage into tech, dress rehearsals and ultimately opening night.

The journey to opening the play isn't an easy one, and especially Hope has some big hurdles to overcome, not in the least hiding from her parents that she's working the internship in the first place! Her mother is a theatre big shot and Hope wants to get further in theatre on her own merit.... not her mother's name. Then there is the friction between the director and lead actor, paparazzi getting the wrong end of the stick, and a very cute but forbidden romance brewing between the wings. Taking the play in one piece to opening night is no mean feat!

Ugh Theatrical is so friggin' cute, I can't even. I'm well out of the target age range for young adult novels but I swooned hard over Hope's crush Luke, let me tell you that. And Hope herself was such a great main character. Super relatable and a bit awkward, and despite all the hurdles on the road to opening night she was also pretty great at her job as her dedication and sheer determination put her back on the right track each time. We can all take a leaf out of her book when things at work aren't going to plan.

While Hope was very much the heart of this story, the production itself was almost like a second protagonist and had an equally big hand in making this book so fantastic. With the fascinating detail into every step of getting it onto the stage without any major disasters leaving permanent damage, Maggie makes the reader a part of the play's back stage crew and you can't help but feel a personal connection and investment for everything to run smoothly on opening night.

There are also some really cool nods back to Unconventional that will make fangirls like me squee while simultaneously not detracting from the story for those who have not yet picked up that novel. If that is you, what are you waiting for?! Get your copy now!

Theatrical is super cute and adorable, with loveable characters like fellow intern George, love interest Luke and best friend Priya. It's the perfect contemporary teen read to swoon away with the summer. If you're already a very stagey person you'll also love the insight you'll get into the inner workings of a theatre production. And if not, you'll be converted to a theatre geek by the end of it.

is published by Usborne and you can get your copy now from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

* * * * * BLOG TOUR * * * * *

This review for Theatrical is a part of the official blog tour for, make sure you check out the other stops too for reviews, stagey stories, guests posts by Maggie and much more!

🎵 Listening to: Fall Out Boy – What's This?

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