Withering Tights, by Louise Rennison (fiction) – theater camp, boys, and more drama

Performing arts school!
Taught by real actresses and dancers!
Far in northern England, on the Yorkshire dales

It’s Fun Friday, as Tallulah searches for her time in the spotlight, on stage, away from her silly little brother. She’s off to Dother Hall and a chance to audition at the end of summer for a permanent spot at the school.

Such *dramatic* drama instructors… and weird improv exercises… and strange interpretive dance classes. How is it that she suddenly can’t dance or sing or act?

Throw in a brooding mother owl, the nearby boys’ school, various odd villagers, worries about casting for Dother’s all-girl version of Wuthering Heights, and Tallulah’s concern that her legs will keep growing (and the interesting parts never will), and you can see why Georgia’s cousin (as in the hilarious “Confessions of Georgia Nicolson” series) is a just trifle worried about passing her audition.

So what will Tallulah be doing on stage next? Watch for book 2, A Midsummer Tights Dream, due out in February 2012.

Book info: Withering Tights (Misadventures of Tallulah Casey #1) / Louise Rennison. HarperTeen, 2011 [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: Tallulah knows that summer drama school will be better than bug sandwiches with her crazy little brother. With her parents overseas pursuing their own interests, it’s certainly time for her to dance and act in Yorkshire. Her just-older cousin Georgia promises to write with advice about boys – surely, there are boys nearby…

Rooming in the village with the wacky Dobbins family (they’re keen on squirrels), she and Vaisey (staying with the pubowner’s family) walk past millions of sheep on their way to Dother Hall, where improvisation and dance and art and the rest of the students live.

The full-time girls perform strange plays with confusing dialogue, the handyman plays heavy metal music in the workshop, and the instructors tell the girls to act without any scripts. Their modern version of Wuthering Heights is, um, uh, different.

Things start looking up when the boys from Woolfe Hall invite Tallulah and friends to the cinema. The school director says it will help them look through the inner darkness; the girls just want to be with the boys.

A local band is performing at Dother so they can get a live recording – and village badboy Cain is the lead singer. How many hearts will he break over the summer? If he’d just stop harassing the owl nest and killing foxes…

Will Tallulah pass her auditions to become a permanent student at Dother Hall if she can’t tap dance or sing? Can a knobby-knees girl who’s waiting for the rest of her body to grow up to match her 14-year-old heart find happiness on stage? Is a first kiss too much to ask of this summer?

More laugh-out-loud fun from the author of the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series, who brings readers along on Tallulah’s bumpy ride through a summer that’s much more dramatic than she dreamed it could be. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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