When I was a little girl, I used to daydream before going to sleep each night. As I got older, I started dreaming about certain boys falling in love with me, becoming famous (ha!), or traveling the world. But I still remember the dream I had when I was 9 or 10, before boys came into the picture: I dreamed of playing Liesl in The Sound of Music. The "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" scene in the gazebo was my favorite in the entire film, and I would imagine my school was putting on the play, and I, along with some nameless-and-faceless boy, would put on the best performance of that scene that anyone had ever seen.
I'm a horrible actress with a decent but not stage-caliber voice, and the only musicals my school put on were the elementary's annual Patch the Pirate play, so I knew my dreams would not come to fruition, but I sure enjoyed thinking about them. In the years since then, I've gone on to have quite a love affair with showtunes (my favorite musical is Les Miserables; I'm currently obsessed with Hamilton), so I was thrilled to learn that Serena Chase, an author I'm familiar with but had never before read, had written a musical theatre-themed novel. Intermission provides the Broadway references and romance I'd hoped for, but it's also so. much. more. We are starlight on snow. The reflection of something already beautiful—absorbed, reflected, and remade into something . . . more. And this kiss . . . This kiss is everything I’ve needed to say . . . and longed to hear. Sixteen-year-old Faith Prescott eagerly awaits the day she will exchange her small Iowa hometown for the bright lights of Broadway, but her success-driven parents want her to pursue a more practical career, labeling “artsy” people—including their daughter—as foolish dreamers worthy of little more than disdain. When Faith meets nineteen-year-old Noah Spencer she discovers someone who understands her musical theatre dreams . . . because he shares them. Faith’s mother despises everything about Noah—his age, his upbringing . . . even his religious beliefs—and she grasps at every opportunity to belittle his plans to study theatre and pursue a stage career. When those criticisms shift further toward hostility, resulting in unjust suspicions and baseless accusations, an increasingly fearful stage is set for Faith at home, where severe restrictions and harsh penalties are put in place to remove Noah Spencer from her life. But Faith has never connected with anyone like she has with Noah, and no matter how tight a stranglehold her mother enforces to keep them apart, Faith will not give him up. Behind the curtain, Faith’s love for Noah continues to grow . . . as does her determination to hold on to her dreams—and him—no matter how high the cost. Intermission is a heart-wrenching contemporary YA romance set against a backdrop of musical theatre and family drama. With coming-of-age themes that honestly explore gray areas of moral dilemmas, this novel traces the path of one talented teen girl as she crosses painful thresholds of first love, faith, and betrayal to take the necessary steps toward adulthood, independence, and the dreams that set her heart on fire.
When I began reading Intermission, I expected a cute romance with a musical theatre backdrop. And that's what it is, in part. However, Intermission is surprisingly deep, dealing with abuse, finding God, and what it means to honor your parents.
I read Intermission on an airplane, and I had to fight back tears a couple of times, lest the people around me think me a basket case. Faith's relationship with her mother was particularly heartbreaking, and I found myself thanking God for the gift He gave me in my own mother, who bears not one iota of resemblance to Faith's. As Faith's relationship with Noah progressed and her relationship with her mother eroded, I just wanted to grab Faith's mother and knock some sense into her. I know that women like her exist, but I don't have firsthand experience with them; I'm so glad I had a godly example of motherhood in my own life.
The romance between Faith and Noah is sweet yet fraught with turmoil as they seek to honor God and Faith's parents. And one of the turning points for their relationship is when—wait for it—they play Liesl and Rolf in a community production of The Sound of Music. That in itself made the novel extra special to me!
Intermission is a sweet, thought-provoking young adult romance. I absolutely loved it, and I can't wait to read more of Chase's work. 5 stars.
Content note: Intermission contains instances of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. Nothing is ever graphic or sexual in nature, and I think it's perfectly appropriate for teens and older, but it may be a trigger for those who have suffered abuse.
SERENA CHASE is the author of the critically-acclaimed Eyes of E’veria series and a regular contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog. A lifelong performer who sometimes speaks in show tunes, Serena lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, teen daughters Delaney and Ellerie, and a 100-pound white Goldendoodle named Albus, who is the biggest star of her Instagram account. Connect with Serena Chase by visiting her website and signing up for her newsletter, “like” her official Facebook page to stay up-to-date on new release news, and enjoy her sometimes poignant, but more often chuckle-inducing random observations of life on Twitter. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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