Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Dress Rehearsal by Zoe Thurner

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 269 pages
April 1, 2011, Fremantle Press

‘This term we’ve had a bank robbery, an abduction and this crazy show. You kids are running wild, Lara. It’s too much.’

Lara Pearlman has an appetite for life.

She loves acting, vintage clothes and her best friend Oggy. She flirts with Nathan but really likes Blake. She devours muffins with cream and chocolates by the box. Lara’s mum says big girls shouldn’t eat cream, but if rules are made to be broken then Lara’s the girl to do it.

Source: Claire, Fremantle Press (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

After reading the first five sentences, I was instantly hooked to Dress Rehearsal. The story started out as light and hilarious then it became conflicted, sadder and darker. This twist was intriguing and surprising. I never expected it to turn out that way. But I love surprises especially the ones in contemporary novels. The writing was marvelous. It brought out the beauty of ordinary things and even ugly things. I don’t usually read contemporary novels but I enjoyed this one. I laughed, hurt, groaned and smiled at the scenes. It was the kind of story that was easy to read, easy to like and completely enjoyable.

Lara had an appetite for life. She was wild. There was a burning flame inside her, something that ushered someone young as her to do the things she did. She was uncontrolled and free – as free as she could be. Theater was a part of her. But Oggy, her bestfriend, was a bigger part. She adored Oggy and she would do almost anything for her. She was best friends with Nathan, the reliable and comfortable shorter guy who was always looking out for her. She had always wanted Blake, the top drama student at her school and the guy that every girl wanted. She craved for him, wanted his attention like any other girl.

The characters were bright, fiery individuals in the beautiful landscape of Dress Rehearsal. They filled the pages with drama, chaos and emotion. Some of them were easy to relate to while some of them were not. There were a few who were extremely hard to understand and to like. But that worked out with how the story progressed. Each character had something to deal with. I may not like how they chose to solve their problems but their decision and the results of those made this realistic. They suffered the consequences of their actions. Sometimes they were strong enough to face it, sometimes they were not. I liked how it became a domino effect. Each action, each decision of one character affected the other characters, until all of them were affected one way or another.

The family dynamics in this novel would appeal to teens. There were two of them, both imperfect. One had a brilliant disguise but underneath it was in tatters, ruined and splintered. The other one was better – firm but it had sutures in the middle. Lara’s friendship with her two best friends would be tested. Could she make it up to both of them before it’s too late? I loved how this novel showed how fragile relationships could be and how these could affect a person. It’s like a wake-up call for everyone to see what we mostly take for granted.

Dress Rehearsal is a humorous, fun contemporary novel that readers will love. It’s a reflection of youth, passion and flaws told through Lara’s witty voice. This is a work of art and I appreciate every page of this novel. This is the kind of novel that does not spell out everything for the reader. I loved that I needed to fill in the gaps with my thoughts, my realizations about the story. I recommend this to everyone!



  1. I hadn't heard of this before, but it sounds really good! And the cover is gorgeous! Glad you liked it and thanks for the review!

  2. Oooo this sounds pretty good. I am not a fan of contemporary fiction but I love books that have a depth to them that isn't expected. I think I'll be giving this a try.

    Thanks for the review! :)

  3. This sounds very intriguing although this is probably not the book for me. Great thorough review.

  4. Oh this sounds so good! Books like are the reason I need to read more contemporary. Every single time I am blown away, but somehow paranormal and dystopian always seem to dominate my reading! I like that the characters really stand out and the story makes the reader think. Great review!