Came out: July 7, 2009
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Paperback from Inkwood
Age group: Young Adult
All her world’s a stage.
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.
That is, until now.
Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.
I quite literally fell in love with this book. It had this dreamy, rich quality that I absolutely loved. It is amazingly weaved and complex. It’s the type of book that you take with you on a really sunny day and sleepily read outside.
The characters were amazing and I could feel Bertie’s yearning for Ariel and blossoming romance with dependable Nate. Although there are a lot of storylines and threads all over the place, Lisa Mantchev makes them work.
I loved all the Shakespeare allusions, and while the magic of the Theatre was slightly confusing at times, I absolutely ADORED this book. The writing flowed easily and gracefully and the plot was very original and wonderful.
The fairies provided comic relief, and with the addition of romantic tension and magic, Lisa Mantchev weaves an unforgettable story. There were so many great elements added to this book and I loved it. And the thing is that even though this book came out in 2009, I still have yet to see another book even remotely similar to it.
Completely ignore the back. If you can, tape a piece of paper or something to the back. It’s a good description, but it doesn’t capture the essence of the book, or the great and unique feel that this book has. This book is unique, Bertie is quirky, and the story was absolutely….well, all I can say is WOW.
Did I say how much I loved this book?
Recommended for anybody who loves:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream anything written by Shakespeare; acting; fairies; pirates; backstage; quirky main characters; love triangles; amazing books 🙂
Possible book club questions:
Ariel and Nate are complete opposites. So why do you think that Bertie is attracted to both of them? Which one do you think she is going to end up with and why?
How do you think Lisa Mantchev did while weaving in Shakespearean elements and classic literature?
What would you do if you had the power to command words?
How do you imagine How Bertie Came to the Theatre?