Monday, March 23, 2015

MG Realistic Fiction review: Jack & Louisa: Act 1 by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead


Jack & Louisa: Act 1   by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead
Published: February 10th 2015  by Grosset & Dunlap
Genres: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Pages: 240 
Format: Hardcover
Source:  Public Library

Jack is a twelve-year-old Broadway star who moves with his parents from New York City to Shaker Heights, Ohio after having been fired from a production.  You see, Jack's voice suddenly changed and well he can't make the notes like he used to.  On his first day in town, he meets his next door neighbor Louisa, Lou for short.  Lou is what you call a MTN, or "musical theater nerd."  When Lou notices that Jack's t-shirt has the logo from the Broadway playbill for Mary Poppins, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit.   But, Jack has vowed to leave the spotlight behind and doesn't want to get involved with musicals anymore, choosing to give soccer a try instead.  However, Jack underestimated just how persistent Lou can be, and she really wants him to join the cast for "Into the Woods."  

I really wanted to read this because of the cover, which I think is wonderful. Although, now I think it gives the impression that there are going to be illustrations in the story, and well I was disappointed that there weren't.  Especially since it seems to be geared toward 8-12 year-old's and the two main characters are done so well on the cover. 

 Although,  I'm not the intended audience for this book, having only participated in theater or musical's from the pit orchestra, I do enjoy watching an occasional production (thinking of you Le Miserables, Grease, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and I found Jack & Louisa utterly delightful.   Keenan-Bolger and Wetherhead bring their own experiences as Broadway performers and co-creators for Submissions Only (a web series about struggling actors from New York), to Jack & Louisa.  Sprinkle in some theatrical references, terms and Broadway musicals and we've got an entertaining story.  Plus as a bonus, the parents are involved and encouraging their children.   Think the book Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle.  Jack and Louisa is told in alternating first person and it worked very well for me.  I got the sense of Jack's insecurities about moving to a new place and being found out about being fired from his last production, while at the same time Lou's wanting to learn from Jack' experiences and to get to know him better. There is plenty of humor and the friendship they have over a shared passion for theater is very sweet. 


  1. I enjoyed reading your review and think this sounds like a good book. It sounds like a great read with an interesting MC. :)

    1. I hope you get a chance to check it out. Thanks for stopping by Jess.