★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I guess I’ll start this review with a little confession – I’m kind of a musical theatre nerd. OK, I’m definitely a musical theatre nerd, and I most definitely am listening to a soundtrack as I write this – but, hey, there’s pretty much a song for every situation. Of course, when I then saw a tumblr post (find me @razreads) listing ‘books involving musical theatre’ I knew I had to investigate and see if any were for me. This one made it to my to-read list, and I’m glad it found it’s own quaint little place there.
By no means is A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend going to take the young adult world by storm with a unique, captivating and soul-consuming plot, but it most certainly is an enjoyable read. Horner balances two timestreams (‘then’ and ‘now’) with a subtle finesse, blending them seamlessly and maintaining momentum throughout both. Sure, at times the ‘then’ lacked fast-paced action and the ‘now’ was rather predictable, but as a whole it sculpted the novel with real class. Utilising this plot device, Horner ensured Cass’ character was deeply explored in a multitude of realistic scenarios, allowing the reader to develop a real connection to the character.
From reading the blurb, I was expecting a greater connection to Julia, and it was a little disappointing to not understand her motivations (especially when all the ‘now’ action was centred around her legacy). Having read books such as Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray, I was also expecting the strange objects from the ‘then’ to have a specific meaning, and yet there was a limited mention of them and (until Aquaman) they seemed to not really represent anything. Had there been more focus on each object obtained from each adventure, more symbolism could have been used to create a greater connection between reader and Julia (and indeed Cass).
All that being said, they are mere suggestions not real criticisms. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend is a truly solid novel, with great character exploration, an engaging plot and well-written literate styles. It would be dishonest to say it’s a groundbreaking novel, but it is clear that Horner knows what it means to be a ‘theatre kid’, which adds realism and enjoyment to the novel. I would most definitely recommend it for fellow thespies and lovers of the theatre.
Recommended for fans of:
- Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray
- Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
- I Was Here by Gayle Forman