May 27, 2012

Cardboard Characters by Julie Seifert

Title: Cardboard Characters
Author: Julie Seifert
Publisher: Self Published

From Set under the boiling sun of Tampa, Florida, the young adult novel, CARDBOARD CHARACTERS, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Leah Bergan, a girl who knows that you can’t build a boat out of cardboard. And you should trust her on that. She and her best friend, Eddie, have been trying for months. And not just cardboard: plastic, paper, the hood of a junk-yard car. They’re running out of ideas and time.

Time gets even tighter when Leah is accidentally cast as the lead in her high school’s play. Suddenly, Leah is stuck in the spotlight -- and stuck going four hour rehearsals. Instead of being surrounded by the ocean, she’s now surrounded by a bunch of wacky drama kids, who like to stare deeply into the distance and make up stories about doors.

Leah just wants to survive the play without humiliating herself, but the student director, Minerva Watson, has other plans. To Leah, it seems like Minerva only has two goals in life: 1) Turn Leah into an actress, whether she likes it or not and 2) Keep the drama club from getting shut down by the student government. But when one of Minerva’s schemes involves Leah’s friend Eddie, Leah is forced to choose between protecting him and lying to everyone, including her long-lost love, Nathan, or telling the truth and losing everything. Then, of course, things go horribly wrong, and Leah ends up stuck twenty miles outside a town called Christmas, next to a gift store selling alligator meat. But with the help of her crazy cast-mates, Leah might just make it home, take the stage and even finish her boat, learning a little bit about life, love, and character development along the way.

Cardboard Characters is the story of Leah, a girl who wants nothing to do with her school play.  Sadly, she is forced by her drama teacher to actually try out for a role and winds up with the lead in a play about a grown up Alice from Alice in Wonderland.  There's also Eddie, Leah's best friend who may or may not be pretending to be gay in order to be more accepted by the drama kids.  There's a diversity scholarship with Eddie's name on it that is keeping the production afloat and a Student Government that wants the money for other more worthy clubs.  This means that Leah and her crush Nathan (the treasurer of SG) are thrown together more than ever before.  And we can't forget about the cardboard boat Leah and Eddie are trying to perfect and sail away in.

I wish we could have had more time with Leah and Eddie at the beginning of the story.  I wanted to see why they were best friends, the fun times they had together in spite of things being all awkward because he drunkenly confessed his feelings.  I enjoyed the fact that they were trying to build a cardboard boat.  I love when characters do quirky things like that because my friends and I do too.  (We once stayed up all night recreating a "more realistic" version of The Game of Life.  ALL NIGHT.  And then we went to Sonic for breakfast, because what else do you do after staying up all night creating a board game?)

I like how all the elements of this story wound up tying themselves together in the end.  In the middle of reading this one I was a little concerned.  There was a lot happening, but everything came together pretty seamlessly.  Cardboard Characters is a fun, quick read AND is only 99 cents on nook and kindle.  

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