Title: When You Get the Chance
Author: Emma Lord
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Recommended for fans of: Broadway musicals
Content Warnings: parental abandonment, anxiety
Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.
There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
This book made my heart so full. Millie, an aspiring Broadway star, finds herself living her very own Mamma Mia when she discovers her dad’s old Live Journal account, which hints at three women who could possibly be the mother who abandoned her at birth. This book made me so nostalgic for my own high school theater days.
Millie is so spunky and passionate. She reminds me a bit of Rachel Berry from Glee, but not so insufferable. At times Millie could be stubborn and dramatic, but that just left her room to mature and grow. I really related to the way this book depicted her “Millie Moods,” when her anxiety sends her emotions into overdrive, and how she discovered healthy coping mechanisms. Positive and realistic mental health representation is so important in books, especially for young adults.
Romance was not the main focus of the story, but it was a big part of it. The enemies to friends to more was so sweet and well-written. I couldn’t stop swooning over the slow realization of feelings.
The father/daughter relationship was the true star of this book. Millie and her dad didn’t always see eye to eye, but they were always there for each other.
This is a fun, funny, and truly beautiful coming of age story. I cried like 4 times, I laughed too many times to count, and I loved every moment. Emma Lord’s writing is so easy to read, making the story and characters come to life. I highly recommend this YA contemporary!
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC.