When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord

When You Get The Chance by Emma LordWhen You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
Narrator: Jesse Vilinsky
Published by Macmillan Young Listeners
Published on 4 January 2022
Genres: Contemporary, United States, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $19.99
5 Stars

A bighearted novel about falling in love, making a mess, and learning to let go, When You Get the Chance is the next effervescent novel from Emma Lord, New York Times bestselling author of the Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club pick You Have a Match.

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream of becoming a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super introverted dad, who raised Millie alone since she was a baby. Not her drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not her “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm. Millie needs an ally. And when an accidentally left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do—find her mom.

But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

This book was fantastic.

I was a little hesitant in the opening chapters because I wasn’t sure I would get invested in a weird rivals-to-lovers where the main characters already thinks the rival is hot as fuck, but in the end the strength of the rival character won out. I recall at first wanting there to be no romance in this book at all, since the plot was already pretty full-on. I still think this book would have worked incredibly well if it was a rivals-to-friends non-romance, but I’m OK with how it all went.

What I specifically loved about this book was the strength of Millie’s characterisation, and the characterisation of every single secondary character. Firstly, Milllie was a diva obsessed with being a Broadway star, and I just felt that every single thought and action she had was influenced by that. She wasn’t unlikeable, just passionate. I loved all of her little quirks, which made her feel incredibly well-rounded as a character. Every secondary character had their own passion in life as well, their own likes and wants that  micro-influenced the plot, which I really liked.

This whole book was a love letter to Broadway – specifically the Abba jukebox musical Mamma Mia!, which was… slightly weird… because every single character (and I mean every single character in this book) was also obsessed with Mamma Mia!. Like, no one had a single different favourite musical. No one was like, ‘Oh, I like Phantom of the Opera more, or Wicked, or Les Miserables‘. And also, everyone seemed to be super into specifically the film version of Mamma Mia!. Maybe that’s because it had more reach than the stage show? You’d think being based on Broadway, the preference and loyalty would be for the stage show, but I recall seeing the stage show when I was a teenager, which would have been shortly after Millie was born. The only reason I can think for everyone being obsessed is because the plot is heavily influenced by Mamma Mia!‘s plot. I did kind of feel a bit like ABBA was almost forgotten, though. You could be forgiven for thinking ABBA had nothing to do with Mamma Mia!. Where was the ABBA love?

The only thing I don’t like is that I don’t quite get the title. Since the entire book and every single character (literally everyone) in it is obsessed specifically with the film version of Mamma Mia!, and since you can’t copyright song titles, they absolutely should have named it something that referenced ABBA. I don’t even understand what the ‘chance’ is supposed to be referring to. The chance to find your mother? The chance to go to the school of your dreams? They should have called it Millie-Mia. Or made some kind of reference to Broadway. And like, this may be pedantic, but I don’t feel that Millie ‘gets’ any chances. She full on bulldozes her way through and grabs those chances, manhandles them into submission with a choke hold worthy of a WWE wrestler.

The audiobook narrator was also really enjoyable. She put so much emotion into Millie’s narrative that I could feel her getting totally invested, which made me feel more invested and engaged as well.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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