A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers get a look at some aspects of the musical theater business, internships, and the college application process.
Good friends and family members care for and support one another. In relationships, respect, honesty and open communication are key. Recognize your mistakes, overcome embarrassment, and be true to yourself.
Positive Role Models
Millie's father is an awesome single dad. His sister is a business owner who helps raise Millie. The teen characters are loyal and supportive friends. There are multiple examples of mentorship. Millie is confident, kind, and talented. She's a good friend who likes to help others. Millie and and Oliver create a mentoring program in the theater department at their high school and also push for double-casting so that more students can be included in the shows.
The girls and women in the story are smart, capable, and independent. Multiple female characters have achieved career success in the arts and in business. Millie's nemesis-turned-friend and romantic interest, Oliver, is Chinese American. Millie's aunt is a lesbian in a relationship with another female character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A brief reference to Millie's dad's romantic partners and implied sexual encounters in college. A few instances of minimal kissing between opposite- and same-gender couples.
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Teens occasionally think or say "ass," "damn," "hell," or "s--t," An adult uses "f--king" once as an adjective.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of references to food brands (Twizzlers, Snickers, Reese's Puffs, etc.). Characters frequently mention social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. They also talk about Netflix and specific movie franchises, including The Avengers and The Lord of the Rings. There are tons of musical theater references, including a variety of shows, soundtracks, songs, and actors, with references to Mamma Mia! being the most frequent.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Milie's dad's LiveJournal from his college days mentions an instance of drinking too much and being hungover. There are two brief references to "pot," not in relation to any of the characters.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that When You Get the Chance, by New York Times bestselling and Reese's Book Club author Emma Lord is a coming-of-age story with a Mamma Mia! plot twist. Talented teen Millie is excited to attend a pre-college musical theater program in California. Her dad, Cooper, isn't on board and thinks Millie should finish high school in New York. Disappointed, Millie decides it's time to find the mom she's never met. Millie and her best friend find clues online that lead them to three possibilities. In trying to meet the women, Millie gets entangled in a variety of adventures and tricky situations, with a ton of musical theater references mixed in. There are a few romances that involve limited kissing and a brief reference to Cooper's romantic partners and implied sexual encounters in college. Language includes scattered instances of teens thinking or saying "ass," "damn," "hell," or "s--t," and an adult uses "f--king" as an adjective once. There's mention of a time Cooper drinks too much in college. The novel is full of endearing characters who are kind, caring, and supportive of each other. Adults and teens are positive role models who look out for others, admit their mistakes, and treat each other with respect.
Is It Any Good?
This exciting novel entertains with endearing characters and a fun plot. At the heart of When You Get the Chance, Millie Price shines with her outgoing personality and her big dreams. She stumbles a bit along the way and struggles with family, friends, and identity in ways that many teens may relate to. The Mamma Mia! plot twist, with Millie's quest to find her mom, creates a nice amount of suspense. A few predictable but sweet romances that develop among the characters add to the charm of the story.
Unfortunately, there isn't much ethnic or racial diversity among the characters, especially given that it takes place in New York City. Millie's rival turned romantic interest Oliver Yang is Chinese American. There's a brief reference to his mom facing discrimination when she auditions for roles and is only called back for "tokenized Asian things." However, there's good representation of nontraditional gender roles with Cooper being Millie's primary caretaker as a single dad and several childless women flourishing in their careers. Overall, this is a fun and fast-paced read, with an abundance of current media references, that will appeal teens. Musical theater fans will especially enjoy it due to numerous mentions of popular shows, songs, and performers.
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Our Editors Recommend
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