Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.
That is, until now.Enter Stage Right
NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.
COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.
ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.
BERTIE. Our heroine.
Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.I participated in theater throughout high school, and I absolutely loved it. I worked backstage (I can't sing or act), and I fell in love with the people and the absolute chaos that is the theater. That's probably part of the reason why I loved Mantchev's Eyes Like Stars so much. It reminded me of how it felt to be in the theater, surrounded by people who become a second family.
Bertie's life is chaotic to say the least. She's grown up with constant scene changes, without the knowledge of how she came to live in the theater, and with the fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream as her best friends. Needless to say, she gets into a lot of trouble.
The characters in the book were great. Bertie was a strong, confident, sometimes stubborn lead. She never took no for an answer, and even during absolute chaos was able to improvise. The supporting cast was what was most spectacular to me. Many of the characters were from various different plays, and none of them seemed out of character. I imagined that's just how they would act if they were living in the real world (especially the fairies). I think I should also mention Ariel, from The Tempest, who ended up being my favorite character from the book. I was intrigued by his character, then I hated him, I pitied him, and I loved him. I ended up understanding his motivation to bring down the theater, and also saw him grow as a character.
Fans of the theater will enjoy seeing their favorite characters outside of their respective plays, while other readers might be inspired to go read those plays to find out more. I loved this book, and can't wait to read the sequel.
Eyes Like Stars
By Lisa Mantchev
Published by Feiwel and Friends