Like it Never Happened
Author: Emily Adrian
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Summary from Goodreads: Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.
Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.
Like it Never Happened tells the story of Rebecca and her friends, who call themselves “The Essential Five.” The Essential Five become friends and stick together because of their love for theater, and their obvious talent for it. Their director, Mr. McFadden, selects them for all the school plays, and Rebecca and Charlie tend to always have the leading roles. Since they are best friends, they make a pact that says that no one in The Essential Five is allowed to date anyone else in their group (yes, really). Obviously, with Rebecca’s interest in Charlie, it doesn’t last, but will their relationship make it? During the course of their rehearsals for the new school play, an accusation is made that completely changes everything for all of them – especially Rebecca.
I haven’t read a great deal of young adult fiction that is based on theater and performing arts (yes, I know!), so when I picked this book up, I as surprised at just how good it was. It was easy to get pulled into the story and pretty much lose all track of time as I kept reading. This ended up being a pretty quick read for me, mostly due to the fact that I enjoyed it so much I didn’t want to put it down.
This being said, Like it Never Happened is a difficult book for me to review. The reason behind my finding it kind of difficult to review is because it was a really enjoyable book. It tried to touch on some serious topics, such as the accusation that comes to light a little over halfway through the book (I’m not saying just what that accusation is, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers), but it does it in a very “teen drama” sort of way (which I guess makes some sense, seeing as how all of the important characters in this book are focused on theater). While I did find it a little bit predictable (Rebecca’s relationship with Charlie, for example, just seemed like typical teenage drama, and the bit scandal that takes place later in the book is easy to figure out from the beginning, honestly), but it was a really fun read that I could see myself reading again. The ending of the book was wrapped up pretty nicely (no loose ends, which I’m always happy about), and there weren’t any parts of the story that I thought were boring. The last half of the book did feel a little bit rushed, in my opinion, but not enough to ruin the story or make it any less enjoyable.
If you’re interested in young adult books that deal with teenage drama, theater, performance arts, and romance (although the book didn’t focus on the romance aspect quite as much as I thought it would, though), I would definitely recommend giving this book a shot. It’s definitely a great read!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Emily Adrian was born in 1989 in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Portland State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she worked as a receptionist while secretly writing books.
Emily currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their dog named Hank. Like It Never Happened is her debut novel.