Hi everyone!! I hope you’re keeping well! I’m back again today with another review, this time of a book I absolutely ADORED and that I need you all to preorder! It’s full of sapphic cuteness and some unexpected curses (and just look at that cover!) and is overall just a wild ride!
Title: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Synopsis: Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.
What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.
Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to read an ARC copy of Robin Talley’s first release of 2020, Music From Another World, so when I first heard about her newest release, I knew that I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. So, when I saw it on Netgalley I clicked that request button so quickly and luckily I was approved! And the book definitely did not disappoint!
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre opens with Melody absolutely smashing it on the final night as stage manager of her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Everything is going perfectly, despite the multitude of curses seemingly placed upon the theatre, until partway through the play when her girlfriend very publicly, over the crew’s headsets, dumps her and brands her a slut, causing Melody to make an almost disastrous mistake with the lighting. Melody’s fellow crew members notice a pattern of things going wrong in plays whenever Melody is in a relationship, so in order to stay on as stage manager in the upcoming production of Les Mis, Melody vows to stay single until the play is over, so her supposed ‘love curse’ doesn’t rear its head and ruin the play. That is until star actor Odile Rose reappears at school and auditions for the musical and Melody might be feeling the beginnings of a crush…
I knew off the bat that this book was going to be a real hit – as an ex-drama club member who has performed in Bugsy Malone (albeit, I played several minor roles and was actually the first person in the play to die!), this brought back so much nostalgia from those days! I loved seeing the crew members place bets on who was going to get into a relationship during the show (super relatable!) and all the hectic stress of tech week (so many tears were shed!) and it really brought me back to my fourteen year old self!
Straight away the characters felt so realistic and I especially felt really connected to Melody – she’s super determined to put on the best play that she can and loves being super organised (side note, I loved all the little cast lists and blocking diagrams throughout the book!) and she also gets adorably flustered around cute girls that she bumps into in the school bathrooms! She also has two dads and is bisexual and there was a really positive feel about sexuality in this book – there is no homophobia and the love interest questioning her sexuality was handled very delicately. Although I cannot speak on the bisexual representation, I think it was really great to see two bisexual girls in a sapphic relationship, as that’s not something I’ve seen very frequently in books! Speaking of the love interest, you can’t help but love Odile Rose! Due to her being in some pretty high profile adverts and tv series, and thus being absent from school for most of the year, many of her fellow classmates seem to think of her as being very stuck up and that she thinks that she is better than the rest of them, but she’s the complete opposite! Odile is the sweetest cinnamon roll – she’s always offering to help out her fellow actors to perfect that singing technique or to go over their lines, and is just a real soft ray of sunshine! Even the side characters felt realistic, from the popular guy who thinks he’s above everyone and refuses to keep his voice intact, instead opting to yell and cheer at a sports match (I’m sure every theatre kid knows one of them…) and even Melody’s drama and choir teachers. The teens felt like teens, their dialogue never felt stilted or like an adult had written them trying (and failing) to sound like a teenager!
The plot of the book was a real highlight. I loved the addition of the curses and superstitions in the theatre, all dating back to a rather disastrous production of Hamlet in which the theatre caught on fire. It was really fun seeing how Melody’s love curse developed throughout the book, and her and Odile’s flirting was just so adorable and awkward in the best way! As I’ve mentioned, as an ex-theatre kid I loved seeing all the little details, like the blocking notes, and the stress of trying to fix a rotating platform five minutes before the curtain’s meant to go up (been there, done that!), and it made me feel a renewed sense of respect for everyone working in the industry. Seeing both the productions of Romeo and Juliet and Les Mis was really fun as, honestly, they’re not two plays I’m very familiar with, but I loved seeing everything that goes into the production of a musical.
Overall, this book was a sweet, sapphic rom-com that will leave you grinning so much your cheeks hurt, and also perched on the edge of your seat as the drama (pun intended) unfolds! This was another hit from Robin Talley that makes me even more excited to read her backlist, and I really hope that everyone reading this decides to pick this book up and that you love it too!