Book Review

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

So, a fun story – theatre kids put on performance in the face of their ‘cursed’ theatre, where one of the curses prevents a character from dating. But the characters weren’t that likeable, and were so incredibly intense and uptight as to be almost unpleasant …

Title: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre
Author: Robin Talley
Pages: 384
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Publication Date: 12th November 2020
Ownership: eARC provided by the publisher

My Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

Melody McIntyre, ambitious Stage Manager at Beaconville High School, intends to put on the most perfect production of Les Mis. Her last production wasn’t bad, but was hit by yet another branch of the theatre department curse. True, some of that may have been her own fault, after neglecting her girlfriend for weeks before the performance, but it was probably the curse.

So, at the tech crew’s insistence, Melody swears off falling in love for the next production. But she didn’t bet on the budding young ‘ingenue’ Odile being part of the next production. Which will bring all of Mel’s faith about the theatre curse, and the role of actors and crew, into question.

My Review

First off – I get that theatre kids/adults/people can be superstitious. It’s one of the fun parts of that kind of work. But at what point did anyone think ‘oh, we can’t actually prevent someone from falling in love, we shouldn’t demand that, how silly of us.’ Well, at no point apparently, as that’s exactly what the crew demand that Mel does. And she goes along with it, as she wants what’s best for her precious theatre.

I really enjoyed the level of theatre-immersion in this book. But quite honestly found it frightening that students could be so committed to the theatre as they are in this book. Every moment and every penny is spent on the most ambitious set design, costumes and lighting. Every hour is spent there – I can only presume they’re all failing their courses. Is this just an American thing? Or am I just not that passionate about theatre? I loved the passion that came through in Camp for theatre, but this was … intense.

I love Les Mis, know the story and references, and have enough general theatre knowledge. But if you didn’t … I think you could find that whole massive area of the story quite inaccessible. Not to mentioning finding the rivalry between cast and crew silly and immature.

And Mel … Mel is not a particularly good person. She’s authoritative without leadership, selfish in her pursuits and not prepared to admit that she could be wrong about anything. She’s also selfish with other peoples’ emotions. I’m not convinced that that makes her a good main character.

And, there’s this big thing about her having had lots of short relationships – at 16 – before finally falling properly in love. Is it just me, or is that a very young age to be slut-shamed at?

In all, I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the theatre. I enjoyed the f/f/ romance and I enjoyed the diverse cast. But there were quite a few things that didn’t quite gel for me.

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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