My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix. 

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.


Sweet, funny, and heartfelt, Allen Zandoff’s My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies truly captures the voice of teen in nearly every way possible.

Ever since the death of his beloved dad, Adam Ziegler has made it a point to fall into the background. From his friendships, to his after school actives, to school in general, Adam never lets himself truly get involved or attached. However, everything changes with his high school’s production of A Midsummer’s Dream, because after meeting a cheerful and mysterious new actress, one who may just be interested with him, he suddenly wants to be in the spotlight- for better or for worse. Though what happens when you throw in a crabby student, a tainted production, one teeny tiny rule, and one huge director? Will everything come out okay, or will Adam once again retreat out of his life? Only time and more pages can tell in Allen Zandoff’s memorable sophomore novel.

I always love when a YA book is not only told from a boy’s perspective, but also in a realistic tone. Thankfully, Allen was able to give readers both with Adam’s character. Awkward yet likable and sweet, Adam stole my heart from the first page to the very last. His feelings over his dad’s death were very realistic, and they constantly made me want to reach out and give him a big hug. Furthermore, I also enjoyed seeing him build up relationships with new friends as well as one certain girl, because it allowed him to grow as a character in many fantastic ways. Other characters that always managed to steal the spotlight were Adam’s fellow techies and actors/actresses. Sure, some of them were shallow and narrow-minded, but they still brought lots of drama and laughs to the table.

Another memorable aspect of this book was the premise. Books dealing with play productions always interest me, and this one was no different. I especially enjoyed being able to go behind the scenes so to say and see all the work and dedication that goes into making a show spectacular. Moreover, with the quick chapters in which this was told, it was easy to get lost in the world of costumes, lighting, and fairies for a few short hours.

The only aspect of this novel I was not particularly pleased with was the lack of development in certain characters, because I felt it would have been even better if more details were included.

However, Allen Zandoff still provides a great retreat within the pages of My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies— one that will be sure to leave readers craving for more memorable boy protagonists.

Grade: B

My Life, The Theater, and Other Tragedies is now out!

Source: Goodman Media- thanks Jenny!

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