Viola in the Spotlight by Adriana Trigiani
Viola is finally where she belongs—back home in Brooklyn, where there are no khakis or sherbet-colored sweaters and people actually think her yellow flats are cool.
But her BFFAA, Andrew, has started acting weird around her, and a new boyfriend has her friend Caitlin ditching her every chance she gets. When Viola’s roommates from Prefect Academy show up for a visit, she starts to wonder—is Brooklyn where she wants to stay? When a tragic event shakes everyone’s world, Viola realizes it’s not where she belongs that matters—it’s who she’s with that really counts.
I quite enjoyed Adriana's YA debut, Viola in Reel Life, last year, and was eager for the sequel to be released. Viola in the Spotlight did not fall into the sequel slump, and, in my opinion, it was even better than the first! Viola Chesterton spent her entire freshman year away at boarding school, and she is ecstatic to be returning to New York City for the summer. She can finally spend everyday hanging out with her best friends, Andrew and Caitlin, and relax all summer. But, this summer will not be at all what she expected.
Viola in the Spotlight allowed readers to get to know certain characters even better than in the prequel. Her parents, Andrew, and Caitlin, especially. Andrew, her best friend, has changed a lot while she was away at boarding school, and Viola is worried about their friendship. And when a British play director and his teenage son, Maurice, move into their basement, Caitlin falls in love. Caitlin's character was very complex in this book. We got to better understand her and her parent's rules, as well as her Indian culture. She didn't always prove to be a great friend to Viola because she constantly had Viola cover for her and Maurice so her parents wouldn't find out she had a boyfriend. In addition, so many of Viola's friends (including her roommates) have gotten summer jobs and Viola's grandmother helps her get an internship with the lightning director for her play. Viola's "Grand" and her boyfriend are both fabulous actors, and are starring in a Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace.
There were so many great plot twists in this book and Viola was such a real character. Anyone could relate to her as she dealt with the ups and downs of the summer before her sophomore year of high school. My heart went out to Viola when things got tough and some of her friendships were tested, and I only wanted the best for her.
Her boarding school friends also played a role in this story. I am so glad I got to be reintroduced to the trio of fabulous girls Viola got to know during her first year of boarding school. Each of the girls had a distinct personality and they were such great great friends for Viola.
I love realistic fiction novels and this one was no exception. The premise was unique and well executed and Adriana Trigiani created a memorable character in Viola. While there were a lot of laughs and fun moments, there was also a more emotional side to the book, making it that much more real. I liked the first book in the series, but I loved this one. I can only hope for a third book about Viola and her friends soon!
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
April 5, 2011/HarperTeen/256 Pages/Young Adult/Book Two
Source: Author (ARC)
Other books in the series: Viola in Reel Life