Stage Lights by Dana Burkey — A Review

Stage Lights by Dana Burkey

RaeleighReads rating: 3 out of 5 coffee cups

I received a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

A cute, quick little story. Stage Lights follows the story of Tess, who is friends with Summer, the lead character from the second novella in the Hearts to Follow series.

Tess, a high school student, is taking on the role of Juliet in a summer play at a college and wants her Romeo of the stage to be her Romeo in real life too. Unfortunately, in a true Shakespearean comedy of errors, miscommunication reigns, hearts are broken, and new loves forged.

At times the romantic elements seemed a bit forced to me. I don’t particularly care for love triangles, and while this wasn’t a love triangle per se, it was a convoluted love mess of sorts.

I found it somewhat frustrating to witness the back and forth between Tess and Anthony and Tess and Ian, and I was a little disappointed by how quickly Ian seems to get over his feelings for Tess and fall head over heels for someone else at the end. He’s supposed to be in college I thought? I realize there isn’t a huge difference between a seventeen-year-old and a freshman in college, but I got the impression that Ian and his brother, Anthony, were upperclassmen.So, this juvenile treatment of feelings seemed out of character for him.

Maybe this is just my view of the world, but at some point people stop experiencing the trivial “love” affairs of high school and experience meaningful connections with other human beings. So, the ending just really didn’t work for me. However, I am quite a bit older than the characters in this story so there may just be a generational disconnect there.

I still maintain that this series works well for high school aged people. I think it may work particularly well for teenage girls between the ages of fourteen and sixteen or seventeen. The characters of Tess and Tony are relatable and familiar, and the way Tess over analyzes every moment with Tony will probably strike a chord with many young, female readers.

I wanted to like this more, but as it is I am only able to give it three coffee cups. Just Pretending, the first novella in this series, is by far the best of the three stories.


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