Cover Image: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

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Member Reviews

4/5 

This book was so sweet! I really love any book set in a Theatre and this book did not disappoint on that front. I think it was amazing to read a book about the Tech crew as so many theatre books are just about actors. I also loved the way Melody embraces her bisexuality and her slow relationship with Odile.

I do think you'd need some knowledge of the plot of Les Mis and I found this book pretty forgettable.
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I read this for a blog tour. 

I loved, loved, loved this book. Be still my theatre nerd, bisexual heart. Honestly, it's freaking adorable. Funny, silly and very realistic to the stress of putting on a show.

If this book had been around when I was a teen theatre geek, it would have been my go-to read. I loved the characters, Melody and her friends are so charming and snarky and funny.

The relationship between Melody and Odile is sweet and romantic, their sneaking around less so, but we all make mistakes when we're young.

The triumphant staging of Les Mis is a joy, when all the disasters of rehearsal (as any theatre kid knows, a terrible dress makes for a great run) finally come together, and if you can get through this book without breaking into One Day More, you're dead inside (and as someone who is dead inside, I mean really dead inside).
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Genre: YA Fiction/LGBTQIA+

The Gist: A bunch of superstitious theatre students put on a performance of Les Miserables.

Short Review: A delightful young adult fiction that celebrates the love of theatre, falling in love and the growing up.

Long Review: Aspiring stage manager Melody McIntyre promises her crew that she won’t fall in love during their upcoming performance of Les Miserables because they are worried that it is bringing on a theatre curse. However, when popular student Odile Rose starts showing interest in Melody McIntyre her resolve begins to crumble. However, when strange and unusual things begin to happen during the performance rehearsals Melody starts to believe that the curse is real.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a great read. It doesn’t try to be anything other than it is. A fun theatre romp that looks at the love lives of teenagers. One aspect of the novel that I really appreciated is that LGBTQIA+ relationships are central to the plot however Robin Talley does not emphasise this as an issue. I think more YA novels need to have non-heteronormative relationships at the heart of their stories without it being the main point. It shows that LGBTQIA+ relationships are the norm. By taking away what she my see as an issue Robin Talley has moved the goalposts to where they should be for other authors writing fiction with LGBTQIA+ relationships at the heart of it.  

A fantastic read. Be warned though, you will be singing the soundtrack to Les Miserables for days afterwards - I don’t see how that is a bad thing. 

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Talley (@robin_talley) please visit www.robintalley.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.
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Such an enjoyable, fun book to read, the story of Melody, stage manager of the high school play Romeo and Juliet, who messes up the light cues, when her girlfriend breaks up with her in the middle of the play. Everyone is therefore convinced the theatre is cursed and that Melody can't date anyone during their next production of Les Mis. The book follows the challenges, accidents and romances that inevitably happen as the high school puts on one of the most ambitious musicals ever. With lots of detailed knowledge about the elements that go into putting on a show and especially being a stage manager which add to the believability of the story. Some of the formatting didn't work well, which I am sure they will fix for the ebook edition but maybe get an actual book instead. As you would expect from Robin Talley this is an engaging story, told well, with an interesting set up and believable characters, can't really go wrong with a mostly LGBT cast putting on a musical. 

With thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for a review.
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This is very different in terms of style than the books I’m usually reading, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I found the writing to be refreshing and perhaps that’s due to it being YA, but it’s definitely also down to the writer.

Melody is the stage manager for the performing arts productions at her high school. She’s known as a serial monogamist, even as a junior. Like most people involved in theatre she follows a number of superstitions and her crew manages to convince her that for the sake of their productions she needs to be single or the curse will strike again.

Odile is the school success story. She’s already been to Broadway, featured on some TV shows and is up for a movie. She returns to school for her senior year, adding a certain star quality to the school musical.

The majority of the book explores the things that take place in order to put on a musical - in this case Les Miserables. I love musicals, did perform in them at school, but have managed to not somehow not see Les Mis, so some of the references went over my head a little bit - but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the narrative.

Both the narrative surrounding Mel and Odile falling for each other, and the storyline of the curse and the production itself work really well, especially when they intertwine. Naturally as the book centres on a group of teenagers there are some moments of drama but none of it feels out of place or overblown.

All of the characters, even the bit part ones, fit in the narrative and despite the large ensemble I was able to keep track of who was who - which is an achievement on Talley’s part as far as I’m concerned. 

It’s a longer book than I was expecting, but I still read it one sitting as it became quite the page turner and was very disappointed when it finished. 

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I've never read anything by the author before so wasn't sure what to expect, however I found this rather enjoyable. It was easy to read, easy to follow and I finished it quickly which was a bonus.
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The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley was exactly what I needed after a bit of a reading slump.

I’ve only read one other book by the author – Pulp – which I really loved, so when I saw the opportunity to join the Blog Tour for The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre I just had to. Especially, being someone who absolutely adores Theatre, I really couldn’t resist a LGBTQ+ YA RomCom set in the theatre department of a High School.

I’m not going to lie, I really left this one until the last possible minute to read, because due to this pandemic my ADHD and Anxiety have been all over the place. I’ve started so many books in the past couple of months, but I just couldn’t block it down. However, I gave my word that I will be part of the Blog Tour so many weeks ago and one thing that gets me going it’s the fear of disappointing people.

With this in mind, on Sunday night I decided to pick up this book and I’m glad I did because I couldn’t stop reading until I was done!

Not sure if it was the fact that I’ve been missing theatre so much since this cursed pandemic started or that it has the cutest f/f love story, but The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre was the book that I really needed right now. (So, thank you past Ana for saying yes to this blog tour!)

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley, plays on theatre superstitions. Any theatre geek knows how you should not wish Good Luck but instead say Break a Leg, and how you should not mention Macbeth in a theatre (unless it’s during the performance of said play). If you disrespect the superstitions, really bad things can happen to those working in the theatre. So everyone, even the non-believers, usually respect the superstitions. Unless your name is Nick the Dick…

What I also loved about the book, was how it was divided like a play, by Acts and then with scene heads as a way to represent a new chapter. The writing was a bit more simple from the one from Pulp, but I think with how theatre techie it is, the simplicity actually made the the story flow so much better.

Melody, our main character, isn’t the instant likeable character, at least not for me. (I wonder if it was due to our difference of opinions when it comes to liking actors and her Musical Theatre preferences! ahah) But, she really grows on you and I love how she knows what she loves and just works hard for it. Maybe a bit too hard, but what teenager doesn’t just go overboard with something they’re passionate about? I sure did!

I think some of the lessons that you can get from Melody’s story is that the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return, and that one can’t just throw away their shot.

This book actually made me shed a few tiers. It could be because I’m emotionally misérable since this pandemic started, but I like to think it was because I actually started to relate to Melody and her love story. It was spot on what I need to read right now, and I’m so happy I had the pleasure to be part of the Blog Tour.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley, is perfect for fans of Leah On the Offbeat and Musical Theatre geeks who also like Pitch Perfect and Glee. Out this Thursday!
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I requested this book because of how much I'd loved Music From Another World, and I wasn't disappointed. The premise alone was enough to hook me - theatre nerds falling in love??? I was in two school theatre productions, tech once and acting/writing once, and the tech part was definitely my favourite. Anyway, I loved everything about this book, from the detailed technical theatre, to the teenage drama, the romance, the pacing, the writing...This book was pure delight from start to end. I loved Melody, who reminded me very much of myself (organised and stressed out? check!) and I loved seeing her and Odile come together through their love of theatre. The ending was perfect - I don't usually like big public declarations (in either IRL or fiction) but here it made a lot of sense and fit the characters perfectly, so I was essentially squealing into a pillow the whole time.

Perfect pick me up, lighthearted, fun, with appropriate amounts of teenage angst and drama (which is to say: a lot, but not overwhelmingly so).
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Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to read an ARC copy of Robin Talley’s first release of 2020, Music From Another World, so when I first heard about her newest release, I knew that I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. So, when I saw it on Netgalley I clicked that request button so quickly and luckily I was approved! And the book definitely did not disappoint!

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre opens with Melody absolutely smashing it on the final night as stage manager of her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Everything is going perfectly, despite the multitude of curses seemingly placed upon the theatre, until partway through the play when her girlfriend very publicly, over the crew’s headsets, dumps her and brands her a slut, causing Melody to make an almost disastrous mistake with the lighting. Melody’s fellow crew members notice a pattern of things going wrong in plays whenever Melody is in a relationship, so in order to stay on as stage manager in the upcoming production of Les Mis, Melody vows to stay single until the play is over, so her supposed ‘love curse’ doesn’t rear its head and ruin the play. That is until star actor Odile Rose reappears at school and auditions for the musical and Melody might be feeling the beginnings of a crush…

I knew off the bat that this book was going to be a real hit – as an ex-drama club member who has performed in Bugsy Malone (albeit, I played several minor roles and was actually the first person in the play to die!), this brought back so much nostalgia from those days! I loved seeing the crew members place bets on who was going to get into a relationship during the show (super relatable!) and all the hectic stress of tech week (so many tears were shed!) and it really brought me back to my fourteen year old self!

Straight away the characters felt so realistic and I especially felt really connected to Melody – she’s super determined to put on the best play that she can and loves being super organised (side note, I loved all the little cast lists and blocking diagrams throughout the book!) and she also gets adorably flustered around cute girls that she bumps into in the school bathrooms! She also has two dads and is bisexual and there was a really positive feel about sexuality in this book – there is no homophobia and the love interest questioning her sexuality was handled very delicately. Although I cannot speak on the bisexual representation, I think it was really great to see two bisexual girls in a sapphic relationship, as that’s not something I’ve seen very frequently in books! Speaking of the love interest, you can’t help but love Odile Rose! Due to her being in some pretty high profile adverts and tv series, and thus being absent from school for most of the year, many of her fellow classmates seem to think of her as being very stuck up and that she thinks that she is better than the rest of them, but she’s the complete opposite! Odile is the sweetest cinnamon roll – she’s always offering to help out her fellow actors to perfect that singing technique or to go over their lines, and is just a real soft ray of sunshine! Even the side characters felt realistic, from the popular guy who thinks he’s above everyone and refuses to keep his voice intact, instead opting to yell and cheer at a sports match (I’m sure every theatre kid knows one of them…) and even Melody’s drama and choir teachers. The teens felt like teens, their dialogue never felt stilted or like an adult had written them trying (and failing) to sound like a teenager!

The plot of the book was a real highlight. I loved the addition of the curses and superstitions in the theatre, all dating back to a rather disastrous production of Hamlet in which the theatre caught on fire. It was really fun seeing how Melody’s love curse developed throughout the book, and her and Odile’s flirting was just so adorable and awkward in the best way! As I’ve mentioned, as an ex-theatre kid I loved seeing all the little details, like the blocking notes, and the stress of trying to fix a rotating platform five minutes before the curtain’s meant to go up (been there, done that!), and it made me feel a renewed sense of respect for everyone working in the industry. Seeing both the productions of Romeo and Juliet and Les Mis was really fun as, honestly, they’re not two plays I’m very familiar with, but I loved seeing everything that goes into the production of a musical.

Overall, this book was a sweet, sapphic rom-com that will leave you grinning so much your cheeks hurt, and also perched on the edge of your seat as the drama (pun intended) unfolds! This was another hit from Robin Talley that makes me even more excited to read her backlist, and I really hope that everyone reading this decides to pick this book up and that you love it too!
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I think having never been involved in a big theatre production made this a tricky read for me. Dialogue heavy, the story dragged a lot and honestly I found it tricky to get behind the characters. 

What I did like was the romance - but the love interest was so over the top British that I just cringed. 

Not awful but not great, overall.
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The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a YA queer novel by Robin Talley. I do not read a large amount of YA, but as a big fan of Musical Theatre I was keen to read this!

The story follows high school stage manager, 16 year old Melody, who has been in love more times than you can count. Big on theatre superstitions, the crew believe that Melody’s love-life is causing a curse on the theatre and consequently she cannot fall in love before or during the Spring musical- Les Mis. Enter Odile Rose, the Senior who has starred on Broadway. . .

I won’t go into too many details about the plot itself as it is readily available, but if you’re a fan of Theatre/Musical Theatre this could well be for you! 

I will be honest and admit that I have mixed feelings about this book. My main issue was that Melody wasn’t very likeable to me and quite annoying. I appreciated her confidence in her bisexuality and role as stage manager, but she was a poor friend and lied to everyone throughout and never seemed to grow from that. I felt sorry for her though as she seemed to shoulder a lot of blame for things that weren’t her fault and some of her friends were also not great- I guess that makes it more realistic! Mel and Odile’s relationship was sweet, but I do wish that we had seen more of them.

There was a lot that I loved about this book though. Talley referred to the MT fandom a lot as well as cast recordings and many other musicals and I loved that it was so focussed on theatre. Naturally as Les Mis was the Spring musical this was the focus and there was a *lot* of detail around the characters, stage direction, costuming and songs which I really appreciated but if you aren’t especially interested in MT then I imagine that the terminology could be more difficult to follow at times. I also loved the format of the book and how it was split into Acts, Intermission and included a cast list! I also thought that there was great queer rep throughout (including Mel having two dads) and that the off-stage drama wasn’t homophobic. 

I'd give this 3.5-4*.

Many thanks to HQ for providing me an advanced copy and including me on their blog tour.
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BOOK REVIEW: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

3 stars

After reading Robin Talley's "Music from another world", I was really excited to read this book! A queer romance based on a school production of Les Miserables? What's not to like?! Unfortunately for me, quite a bit...

Firstly the things I enjoyed. This was a fun book, it made me smile and I did enjoy reading it.
I haven't read a YA book so focused on theatre (especially backstage) before so that was really interesting. Also I adore Les Miserables so I enjoyed all the references and could picture the set and hear the songs in my head. I also loved that there was a bi lead female who wasn't afraid to be herself and has two gay Dads. There isn't any homophobia in the book from any of the characters which was a breath of fresh air.

What I didn't enjoy was how over the top alot of it was. Firstly our lead female Melody is 16 years old yet she has been in love more times than she can count?! Just...no. I also felt there was a lack of chemistry between Melody and Odile (her love interest).
Alot of the drama was very high school, which I realise they are in but to make a YA book enjoyable for more ages, you have to have a character that everyone can relate to and a story that isn't too immature. Melody's problems in general just felt OTT and really blown out of proportion. 
If you haven't seen or read Les Miserables, you may get a little lost in this book. Also I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it if I didn't have an interest in theatre and musicals. The idea of a curse of the theatre was interesting at first but it got really silly. I have much more to say about that but I don't want to give away any spoilers!
The character development of the main characters was also really lacking and there were so many side characters, I often got a little lost with all the names!

Overall it was a cute queer YA read but the fun was overshadowed by alot of ridiculous drama. 

Please note that I was #gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Robin Talley is fantastic is bringing the world sapphic love stories and that’s what I presumed Love Curse was going to be, but I’m not sure it really is. Whilst the romance between Melody, the stage manager for her school’s production of Les Mis and the actress in one of the leading roles, plays a large role in the story, I would argue its more about the production and theatre group as a whole. As someone with a casual interest in musicals I found the references to Broadway shows fun to begin with – unfortunately for me it got tiring quite quickly. The characters, especially Mel as the first-person narrator of the novel, are unashamedly and utterly devoted to their show. 

Largely, I found the characters in Love Curse okay – they served their purpose and I didn’t have any strong feelings about them either way. The two core young women at the heart of the story – Melody and Odile – do stand out amongst the array of students involved in the production. Melody is stubborn (almost frustratingly so) and completely unashamed of who she is. It’s refreshing to read about a character who doesn’t internally shame herself for the number of relationships she’s had or the fact she wants to follow a creative career path rather than an academic one. But I found it difficult to settle into her narrative voice – at times towards the beginning of the story she felt like a younger narrator than she is. Odile, the rising acting star, felt genuinely quite charming and I really enjoyed her as a character.

Generally speaking, Love Curse is a story about a group of young people coming together on the verge of a disaster however there was one aspect of the premise which irked me from the beginning. The “love curse” of the title ties to the superstitions surrounding theatre – Mel’s friends believe that whenever she is in a relationship, their show goes wrong. Long story short, they agree that Mel is not to fall in love over the course of their production of Les Mis. If Mel had made identified the connection herself and made a kind of internalised agreement with herself, I would have probably been more on board. But there was something about her friends confronting her about it which felt genuinely unpleasant and I wish Mel reacted in a different way. I understand that the cast and crew are a superstitious bunch but that just felt like they were crossing a line. 

Overall, The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre was a chaotic and fun journey through the process of putting on a theatre production. The vast array of characters at times blurred into one another but the plot surrounding superstitions really carried the novel through. Whilst the romance felt a little underdeveloped it was great to see Robin Talley deliver on another sapphic love story. It’s definitely a fun book with moments of seriousness and packed to the brim with drama.
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The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre follows Melody whose the stage manager for her school’s musical productions, following the outcome of the last production the crew come up with a superstition that whenever Melody is in love the production ends up a disaster – this year she sets herself the goal of staying away from love.

The book was such a fun read, I loved the concept of the book – it was so entertaining and I liked the way the book was structured and how it linked to musical productions and made me feel connected to the story. I really enjoyed the first half, it was light-hearted and built up the story really well – I liked how the various side characters were introduced and I enjoyed reading about the build up to the production. I did like Melody as the narrator, as the stage manager she deals with a lot and is involved with dealing with all the issues but I also like her confidence and how unapologetic she is about herself even when people slut-shamed her – she has a lot of exes which is something people make jokes about/use against her but I did want her to stand up for herself more especially towards the end when everybody was interfering and speaking about her personal/love life. I really enjoyed reading about the behind the scenes of what goes on/how a production comes about and Melody is really passionate about her role which makes everything more interesting to read.

The second half is more fast paced but I did feel like at times it did drag on and that the ending resolve was a bit rushed. I did want the curse/superstition to be addressed more near the ending because it is such a big deal to the students and the ending does not seem to address it much or really wrap it up. I did like Odile and her relationship with Melody, it was very quick but I liked their interactions together but I did not like how Odile was written. Her character felt a bit flat, she had a lot going on in her personal life and was constantly hiding her true self but I felt like Melody idolised her a bit too much. She saw her as being this perfect person all the time and made it hard to connect to her character.

4/5
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I finished The Love Curse a few weeks back, and still have moments where the characters pop back to me - mainly the supporting characters, if I'm honest, but still a sign of a good book, in my opinion.

The premise is simple: theatre at a high school seems to be cursed, and while the curse has been around for decades, the current crew of the theatre production lay blame at the feet of their Stage Manager, Mel. If Mel can only stay single for the duration of the their production. the curse will stay away. 

And so begins the 'spot who Mel might fall in love with' plot line!

Now, I grew up in an amatuer dramatics society, so while I didn't have the whole school element of this tale, I did have font memories of the tech box, of the dressing rooms, of standing side of stage - which might exlpain why I 
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I really needed a light-hearted book this week, and Robin Talley’s ‘The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre’ was exactly that. It was a nice, easy and quick read, and I have enjoyed the story, even though it had been predictable and cheesy at moments. 

‘The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre’ follows Melody, a stage manager of the high school play. The cast and crew of Melody’s high school theatre group strictly believe in superstitions – every year they choose one curse, a superstition, and counter-curse in order to prevent the disaster happening. Now, they are preparing to prepare musical, ‘Les Misérables’, and Melody couldn’t be happier to be named a stage manager – the only problem? The crew decided that her love life is cursed, and in order to make the performance work, Melody has to stay single and not fell in love. Enter Odile, a gorgeous and talented actress that Melody is definitely developing a crush on.

While I found some parts of the books overly simplistic and characters a bit too dramatic at moments – but then again it’s theatre – I had fun reading the book, especially as the narrative was framed around one of my favourite musicals. Overall, ‘The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre’ has a nice flow and pacing, with the exception being the middle section of the book where the dialogue completely took over, which felt unnecessarily overwhelming. 

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice YA romance.
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My inner theatre nerd is dancing after finishing the uplifting and glorious 'The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre'. We follow Melody as she stage manages her high school production of 'Les Misérables' in their theatre space which has a history of turbulent theatrical disasters. As a result, the cast and crew have a list of superstitions, actions such as saying g**d l*ck or uttering the name of the Scottish play bringing a curse upon the production and needing an immediate counter-curse. The new curse for Les Mis? After a string of broken relationships, the crew decides if Melody falls in love, the musical is doomed. Unfortunately for Mel, starlet Odile Rose is back in town for the show and the pair have an immediate sparky connection. Can Mel really avoid falling in love and bringing a curse upon them all?

Reading as someone who was always in the orchestra pit for school shows, viewing the process through the lens of the Stage Manager was a fresh perspective I really appreciated. The intensity of the process comes through in the writing particularly with the inclusion of various documents which share the rigour of the rehearsal schedule. Inexplicably, I found myself caring deeply about broken mic packs, missing props and lost singing voices. Talley develops the characters of the crew and cast to a point where the reader is invested in the success of the musical and everything which threatens this acting as a crushing blow. Additionally, the myriad of musical theatre references throughout were also an injection a stagecraft I needed while the theatres remain closed. (As an aside, where can I buy Odile's 'Young, scrappy and hungry' t-shirt??)

This book is 'You Should See Me in a Crown' for the theatre crowd, delivering cuteness, controversy and theatrical hijinks in equal measure with a beautifully heart-warming relationship between Mel and Odile at its core. I loved it! (and you will too)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you @hqstories @NetGalley & @robin_talley for the advance digital copy of THE LOVE CURSE OF MELODY MCINTYRE - out on 12th November.

READ THIS IF... you like musical theatre, high school drama, and sapphic YA stories.

THE STORY... Melody McIntyre is stage manager for her high school’s production of Les Misérables. The crew have decided that her romances have been bad luck in previous productions, and she’s agreed that she will not fall in love until after the show has wrapped. That should be easy, right? Wrong.

I WAS... so excited by this book, especially as a long time fan of Robin Talley, and this hit every expectation. I instantly loved Melody - her passion for theatre was infectious, and she cared fiercely for her friends (even if she didn’t always show it!). The dynamic of the cast and crew rivalry was really cleverly done, and I was impressed by the sheer amount of side characters that were distinctive enough that I could tell them all apart. As a theatre fan, I loved all the musical references, from acknowledging the difficulty/near impossibility of the Guns and Ships rap, to questioning why Russel Crowe was cast as Javert! This was humorous and heartwarming, and a perfect break from some of my more spooky reads this month.

NOW... If you’re a fan of LGBT YA, preorder this now! I’d also recommend anything by Robin Talley - but especially this, Pulp, and Lies We Tell Ourselves.
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I absolutely adore this book. It makes me want to be 16 again in some sort of alternate universe and be part of an epic love story because we all know that was never going to happen to 16 year old me in this universe.
This book had me hooked from day 1. I love the author's style of writing and the story was simply phenomenal.
I need more LGBTQ+ love stories in my life.
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I always have high hopes for Robin Talley books and, whilst this maybe wasn't as grand scale as some of her others, it certainly did not disappoint.
My own high school theatre days are long behind me, but this really captured the atmosphere - the excitement, the friendships, and (of course) the gossip. I had the songs from Les Mis stuck in my head the entire time. I also loved the romance at the heart of the novel, as both girls slowly became more comfortable with themselves.
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre was a eally fun, engaging read, with a wonderful uplifting ending.
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