Author: Cheyanne Young
Pages: 178 Pages (Paperback)
Release Date: February 14, 2014
The high school play is in two months and senior Wren Barlow just became director. Wren still isn't over the fact that she got stiffed as a stagehand instead of the lead role that she totally deserved. Now she is in charge of rehearsals, costumes, navigating around cast member hookups and managing the real life drama at home.
The principal counts on her to succeed because tickets have been sold and the money has been spent. But when he drops a gorgeous bad boy on her and wants him to help the play for extra credit, she falls hard for someone she knows she can't date. With everything spinning out of control, the mysterious and secretive detention king named Derek has a few tricks up his sleeve and wants to help—too bad Wren is scared to give him a chance to prove himself.
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So honestly, I kinda expected this to be totally cute and fluffy - all about the romance kinda book.
But Understudy wasn't really what I'd expected.
As I started, I wasn't really impressed with two things: Wren the protagonist, the entire story is told from her POV and also the writing style - it seemed kinda simplistic.
BUT the story line kept me going. While it is angsty, a wee bit predictable (ok quite a lot predictable) it also was funny, entertaining and captivating. So much so that when I got to the end of the book, I was a bit well, disappointed, cause I wanted more.
I am really glad I kept going, despite the fact that I wanted to throw something at Wren for probably the first third of the book, then just screamed at her in fury for the second third, She grew on me and I totally routed for her in the last third. I think my reactions mirror Young's surprisingly well thought out character building. And let me tell you, the characters ALL evolved and changed, Wren grew so much that, after reading the book, I not only liked her, I also remembered doing stupid stuff when I was her age. She seriously came bound and heaps from being Miss opinionated judgment to just trying to be herself, find herself and trying to see others for who they are.
So I really didn't care for Wren. But I cared even less for her friends. Gosh, I just couldn't believe she would actually call people like that her friends. Everything they did, was judge others and make sure they looked good in front of others.
Then there was Derek. Seriously, I totally fell for him from the word go. Totally cute, mysterious- a tad bit bad and more importantly really nice, loyal and fun.
He scoops up a handful of Skittles, drops the green and yellow ones in the small pile and puts the rest in his mouth. “Why are you doing that?” I ask. “I don’t like those colors.”
See what I mean? I mean, who doesn't love a hot, easy going dude that knows what he likes?
I wish there were more scenes with him, since those were my favorite. But often Young just referenced that Wren and Derek had spent time together- so I got not enough fun flirting or witty banter from them for my taste. While I wish I would have had more romance more cute more fluffy, I think if I wouldn't have expected that, I would have been ok with how things are now. Then again, this is pretty short, so it wouldn't have hurt to have more cute and fluffy - especially since Derek is just fabulous.
At first I was not very sure about the writing style. It is to a degree quite straight forward and it felt a bit simple, especially since the MC was actually quite on the bitchy side.
The only other stagehand is absent today. And I probably wouldn’t have asked him anyhow, because he breathes loudly and always stares down my shirt.
But then Young slowly changed Wren's perceptions and with that her voice and suddenly there were sentences that hit home, suddenly I could relate to Wren.
Why is it that when the perfect guy for me comes along, he’s riddled with imperfections?
I’m not even sure what my point is, but I hope Derek got it anyhow.
The writing style is straight forward. Simply the voice of Wren: snarky, funny, angsty and straight forward. I think it actually worked well with the entire setting up of the book.
Probably the most surprising thing about this book was how well thought out it actually is. After reading it, letting it sink in for a bit, taking a step back of it all... I realised that Young crafted this rather cleverly. It's a deceivingly simple story at first glance. But as one reads, totally side tracked by the humor in it, suddenly one gets drawn in, subtly pointing at deeper issues. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a deep thought provoking book, no. But also while I thought at first glance this is a bit of a "TV series" book it offers more than what one sees at first glance.
My biggest issue- it was too short for my opinion. I think that if Young would have fleshed out a few more scenes- rather than just mentioning that they had happened- this would have been a really great book.
Still a fun read, great character building, fabulous snarky humor and more to it then one would think at first glance. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Young.
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School has been out for thirty minutes so I’m surprised to find a student in the back of the warehouse using the skill saw. I don’t recognize him from behind, but from what I can see of his backside, he’s too hot for Lawson High. Maybe he’s a movie star researching his next film role. He’s wearing jeans a tight fitting black shirt. His brown hair touches his shoulders and is as silky smooth as mine is after an hour of flat-ironing it to death. Ugh, why do guys always get the best hair?
Mr. Harrison gives an old man arthritic grunt as he settles onto his work stool. He slides the longest piece of molding across the workshop table toward me. “Cut this on the chalk line.”
I slide open my tape measure, but he stops me. “Use the square. Come on girl, I taught you better than that.” Of course he did. The normal me would have known to grab the square to mark a perfect line, but right now I can’t think over the thudding of my heart in my chest. How is it that I’m more nervous standing across the room from a guy who hasn’t even noticed that I exist, than I was moments ago while auditioning for the biggest role in the school play?
I head over to the pegboard wall with all the tools on it. The square, which actually looks like a triangle, should be on the lower left corner but it’s not. I check the workspaces around me but still can’t find it. I’m about to tell Mr. Harrison that someone stole his tools again when I see it.
It’s shoved in the back pocket of the hottest ass I’ve ever seen. I make my way over to the possible movie star, miraculously not dropping dead from cardiac arrest. A sheepish grin falls over my face. “Can I have that square?”
Hot Boy turns around, a carpenter’s pencil sticking out of his mouth. He takes the square from his pocket and hands it to me. “Thanks,” I say. He glances over at my project and then back at me, and I’m pretty sure his eyes graze over my entire body in a split second, but it feels like it takes an hour.
“Crown molding?” He says it like he’s confused. Like we’re in a shoe factory instead of wood shop.
I give an awkward shrug. “I want my room to look like a French boudoir.”
He nods and this smirk spreads across his lips as he looks at the molding and then back at me, as if suddenly understanding my entire personality.
There’s something in his smile that makes me want to rip off my shirt and throw myself into his arms, declaring my soul as his love slave, like some lunatic in an Axe body wash commercial. He holds out his hand. “I’m Derek.”
About Cheyanne Young
Cheyanne is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world.
She also writes under the pen name Amy Sparling.
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