Review Blog

Jul 09 2013

In the wings by Elsbeth Edgar

cover image

Walker, 2013. ISBN 9781922077325.
(Age 12+) Recommended. Acting. School productions. Ella Jamison has always wanted to act but she really suffers from stage fright. Instead she works backstage for the school play, A Midsummer Night's Dream , and watches the new boy Sam and her friends play out their parts. At home things are difficult as her actor grandfather has moved from London and is staying with them. He is flamboyant and strange but her friend Jeremy really seems to like him as does Sam who forms a bond with him. However all is not well with Sam and he may put the whole production into jeopardy.
Ella is a girl whose caring character is easy to like. Although she has stage fright she is prepared to work behind the scenes and comes up with interesting and original ideas for the sets. She gradually comes to accept her grandfather and is prepared to learn from his acting experience and begins to trust his advice and to believe that eventually she may be able to perform on the stage. Sam's reasons for being aloof are handled very well and the gradual romance will appeal to girls.
The reader is left with the opportunity to think about some big issues in the context of an engrossing story. There is the theme of forgiveness and tolerance as Ella's mother begins to know her father again after he left here as a very young child. The frailty of old age is explored very well as is the idea that people can make very bad mistakes but can also be forgiven for them by both young and old alike.
This is an easy to read story that will delight its readers, especially girls and those who are interested in acting and stage production.
Pat Pledger

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