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You in Five Acts
Cover of You in Five Acts
You in Five Acts
Borrow
The latest contemporary novel from Una LaMarche, acclaimed author of Five Summers, Like No Other, and Don't Fail Me Now. In the high-pressure months leading up to the performance that will determine their futures, a group of friends at a performing arts school look back on when an unexpected event upended everything.

"A poignant and timely socially conscious narrative."
Kirkus
It's always been you—you know that, right?

At a prestigious New York City performing arts school, five friends connect over one dream of stardom. But for Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan and Dave, that dream falters under the pressure of second-semester, Senior year. Ambitions shift and change, new emotions rush to the surface, and a sense of urgency pulses between them: Their time together is running out.
Diego hopes to get out of the friend zone. Liv wants to escape, losing herself in fantasies of the new guy. Ethan conspires to turn his muse into his girlfriend. Dave pines for the drama queen. And if Joy doesn't open her eyes, she could lose the love that's been in front of her all along.
An epic ensemble piece in the vein of Fame and Let's Get Lost, You in Five Acts is a eulogy for a friendshipthe heartbreaks, the betrayals, the inside jokes, the remember-whens. And the tragedy that changed everything.
From the Hardcover edition.
The latest contemporary novel from Una LaMarche, acclaimed author of Five Summers, Like No Other, and Don't Fail Me Now. In the high-pressure months leading up to the performance that will determine their futures, a group of friends at a performing arts school look back on when an unexpected event upended everything.

"A poignant and timely socially conscious narrative."
Kirkus
It's always been you—you know that, right?

At a prestigious New York City performing arts school, five friends connect over one dream of stardom. But for Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan and Dave, that dream falters under the pressure of second-semester, Senior year. Ambitions shift and change, new emotions rush to the surface, and a sense of urgency pulses between them: Their time together is running out.
Diego hopes to get out of the friend zone. Liv wants to escape, losing herself in fantasies of the new guy. Ethan conspires to turn his muse into his girlfriend. Dave pines for the drama queen. And if Joy doesn't open her eyes, she could lose the love that's been in front of her all along.
An epic ensemble piece in the vein of Fame and Let's Get Lost, You in Five Acts is a eulogy for a friendshipthe heartbreaks, the betrayals, the inside jokes, the remember-whens. And the tragedy that changed everything.
From the Hardcover edition.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.0
  • Lexile:
    910
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2016 Una LaMarche

    Overture

    Diego

    It's always been you—you know that, right? You didn't have to be onstage for me to see you in a spotlight; when you were around, everything else faded to the background, like some cheap cardboard set. Looking back, it doesn't even seem real, what happened with us. I see you in flashes, a fouetté turn that won't end, my eyes focusing for a split second, grounding me in between spins: your smile, your laugh, the way you looked so mad when you got nervous. The curve of your waist in your leotard. Your silhouette on the train that night, looking out the window with the whole city stretched out behind you like some crazy constellation. The weight of you in my arms as we prac- ticed our lift, and how our eyes locked, so full of trust.

    I swore I'd never let you down. I didn't know then it was a lie.

    Founded 1978

    Where Talent Meets Opportunity

    Spring Semester Calendar:

    January 4 First Day of Classes January 8 Senior Showcase Auditions

    January 16 Martin Luther King Day (Campus closed) February 20 Presidents' Day (Campus closed)

    March 11–12 Admissions Auditions, Class of 2021 April 17–28 Spring Break (Campus closed)

    May 1–5 Senior Tech Week (Opera, Theater) May 8–11 Senior Tech Week (Music, Dance)

    May 12 Senior Showcase Performances (Opera, Music) May 13 Senior Showcase Performances (Theater, Dance)

    May 14 Senior Showcase Gallery Show Opening (Visual Arts) May 15–19 Final Exams

    May 22 Senior Awards Luncheon

    May 26 Commencement Ceremony

    Act One

    Joy

    Chapter One

    January 6

    127 days left

    Pas de couru, tombé, manège of piqué pirouettes. I ran the steps in my head, over and over, one after another like sub- way cars hurtling through an endless tunnel. Every move, every turn, every line of each leg, each elbow, each vertebra every second had to be on point. En pointe. I had to be on my toes, literally, and light on feet that felt like bricks by the end of each rehearsal. The puns were endless, but, as we liked to joke back then, the struggle was real.

    "She's not even paying attention." Liv flicked the back of my neck through my scarf with a thin, icy finger, and I heard you laugh.

    "What?" I snapped back to life, or as close to life as I could get in the unforgiving January chill. My breath danced in front of me in a quick burst of cloudy vapor.

    We were huddled at our usual spot at the Revson Fountain even though the marble was so frigid that sitting down meant sacrificing all feeling below the waist. Liv and Ethan always bitched about my love of the fountain because it wasn't the squares, or the steps, or the clock, or any of the other "normal" hangouts. You were the only one who understood why I wanted to go—had to go—where we could pull our sore legs up against our jackets and look out at Avery Fisher Hall, those big cement columns encasing the delicate glass interior like a ribcage, and behind that, deep inside, its beating heart: ballet.

    "He's here," Liv sighed, turning my head manually with her hands. "Three days late, but who's counting, right?"

    Of course Liv had seen him first. She'd always had a knack for knowing when a fellow Beautiful Person was in her orbit, almost like her brain came equipped with a thermal sensor for figurative hotness.

    "Calm down, he's not even that...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 17, 2016
    LaMarche (Like No Other) shifts among the perspectives of five talented seniors at a New York City arts high school, structuring their story in five “acts.” All five characters narrate in first person, while addressing the objects of their affections as “you.” Ballet students Joy and Diego care for each other, but can’t seem to move beyond being dance partners and friends. Even more complex is the love triangle involving actors Liv and Dave, who are starring in a play written and directed by Ethan, whose frustrated attempts to get together with Liv are complicating the production. A countdown makes it clear that this story is building toward tragedy as the teenagers hurtle toward graduation, yet readers may still be caught off guard by how abruptly the novel ends, with only a brief “finale” giving any sense of the aftermath of the life-changing event. Still, LaMarche develops her racially diverse cast of characters well over the book’s five acts, giving a strong sense of their ambitions, frustrations, and interlocking relationships that hover uncomfortably between friendship and love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Brettne Bloom, the Book Group.

  • Kirkus

    Five teenagers live for their art in this coming-of-age story of achievement, ambition, and heartache.LaMarche's latest novel (Don't Fail Me Now, 2015, etc.), which chronicles the tribulations of a group of friends in their senior year at a prestigious New York arts conservatory, is a pleasing mix of Fame and Gossip Girl. Each character narrates a section, addressing it to the titular "you," who changes depending on the narrator: Joy, the black ballerina and a passionate perfectionist terrified of failure; Liv, a Puerto Rican actress whose party-girl ways have tragic consequences; Ethan, the nerdy, white Russian immigrant's son, a playwright with Broadway ambitions; Dave, a white teen celebrity desperate for a fresh start away from his mistakes in LA; and Diego, a Latino dancer for whom ballet is a ticket to a better life. The author knows her subject matter well, and she effectively captures the essence of teenagerhood, from the hormones and the slang to the heartbreak and paralyzing self-doubt. As in a Shakespeare play, everyone is in love with the wrong person, and it takes most of the novel and some dramatic events for everyone's feelings to be sorted out correctly. Of the five storylines, Joy's--in which she copes with body shaming and other indignities that have kept the rarefied world of ballet largely off-limits to black women--is the most compelling. Given the current political climate, the characters' struggles with the white establishment create a poignant and timely socially conscious narrative. (Fiction. 14-18) COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2016

    Gr 8 Up-Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan, and Dave are students at Janus Academy, the highest-rated arts school in New York City. They are all friends, but more than that, they have one thing in common-they are all tired. Joy is tired of struggling to be recognized as a serious contender for prima ballerina by her parents and teachers. Diego is sick of always being seen as just a friend-especially by the one girl he wants the most. Liv yearns for some escape from her daily life. Ethan has had enough of the girl of his dreams always looking through him. Dave is tired of his past successes defining his future. None of the five realize that their world is changing, and it's all coming down to one pivotal moment that spirals out of their control. LaMarche crafts the novel in five parts, each narrated by one of the main characters. The protagonists are diverse, intelligent, and solidly teen in their perspectives. Each voice is distinct and recognizable. From the beginning, the story is counting down to a culminating event, and the author is able to develop suspense but also keep the book humorous and romantic. The conclusion is heartrending and timely but also unexpected and fresh. Different points of view keep the work moving at a fast pace and add to its compulsive readability. VERDICT Purchase for all libraries that serve teens.-Morgan Brickey, Arlington Public Library, TX

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Una LaMarche
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