For Hope Shay the entire world is a stage. Really.
Acting has been her dream for as long as she can remember. She will do anything, anything, to get a leading role. Okay, maybe faking her own abduction was extreme. But a true actress suffers for her art. And Hope is a born actress if ever there was one.
Mitchard's (The Deep End of the Ocean) unsettling thriller features a borderline psychotic heroine--a trait that readers will suspect, but not confirm until the final chapters. Bernadette Romano, who now goes by Hope Shay, is destined to be a star--or so she thinks. Through Hope's first-person narrative, readers learn that she was accepted to Starwood Academy for the Performing Arts in Michigan at the age of 15--much to the delight of her success-obsessed parents. Cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, opposite the 17-year-old hunky and semi-famous actor, Logan Rose, Hope falls in love with him. The two come up with what she calls "The Plan" (to move to L.A. or New York together, get married and become professional actors) and "The Idea" (to stage an elaborate heist wherein Hope is supposedly kidnapped, then later found by Logan, who is paid handsomely by her parents as a reward). But The Idea backfires and Hope winds up in a mental institution for staging her own disappearance. The catch is, she really is sick. Everything--The Plan, The Idea, Logan's love for her, her starring role in the play--was a figment of the now 17-year-old Hope's imagination. Although Hope/Bernadette plays the part of the unreliable narrator with unnerving precision, her disillusionment carries on too long, and readers may well feel they've been unwittingly duped. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
February 18, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Hope is vanishing.
Does that sound too dramatic?
Okay, fine. It's really just barely dramatic enough. Maybe not even enough.
I don't mean "hope" the way they think. How could I explain it to them? They're beyond stupid. They're clueless and retarded. All of them. I hear my mother and father say, "She doesn't realize the gravity of all this. . . ." and I want to yell, Are you crazy? Are you on crack?
I'm the one it happened to. So I, like, sort of understand the gravity. I had the bruises on my wrists for weeks. I wouldn't even go outside to walk to the classroom building from my gorgeous dorm here for months, either. And I still won't go out at night. I don't even like to look out the window when it's dark.
Let's try this again, class. This time with motions!
I was a girl with a gift, who was totally going places, and now I'm the girl no one will ever know except as "that Hope somebody-or-other, the girl who vanished." Well, at least for the time being, until I can straighten everyone's head out. That's not exactly fun and games!
My mother used to say that every news story, even a bad review, was good if they spelled your name right. Good for an actor, that is. (We never said "actress" in our house. That was for people who didn't know any better. Anyone who's serious about acting is an "actor," even if they're a girl.) What my mother meant was that someday I'd be on Broadway or in the movies or have CDs with my name on them bigger than the title of the CD, and then we wouldn't care less what people thought of my performances, because I'd be wonderful and I'd know it!
I don't think she had this in mind!
What's really grave is the effect on me. They talk about everything that happened right in front of me like I'm not there. They don't see me. When you don't see someone, she disappears. That's why I'm vanishing. And not the way the police and the school said. And definitely not the way the newspapers said.
Let me try to show you how I feel right now. This is my All-About-Me Journal you're seeing. (Sweet Jesus, we all have to do these. I haven't written stuff like "Gee, I like kitties and pizza and birthday parties and the color pink" since the first grade! That's what they actually want us to write! One day's assignment, I swear, was a list of All The Things I Like About Me.) Every time I make an entry, I have to date it. Except I won't date it, because that's what Miss Taylor wants me to do, so I use a mark of my own, just to piss her off. Look back: See that little "I"? At the top of the first page? That "I," it could be a Roman Numeral One. Or it could be a person's self ! Your ego, who you are.
That's how big I feel. As big as that little letter. And getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
I'm shrinking outside--and I was already very, very thin--but I'm shrinking inside, too. Down to a little, little mouth with a tiny, squeaky voice that says "Help me." Like Alice in Wonderland, when she drank from the bottle that said, "Drink Me." (Or was it when she ate the cake? I don't remember.) But if I don't find the reverse potion fast, there's going to be nothing left. It's unbelievable.
I'm sure my parents are very concerned. Everyone here at my new school says my parents are very, very concerned.
But if I had to bet, I would bet my mother cried that morning at the school when they told her what happened. Then she would have blotted her mascara with tissue. Not to get carried away. That would be so un-Marian.
When they finally brought me to my parents, that's exactly what she did. I saw it! Two perfect, elegant tears, and then blot, blot, let's not wreck the look! Let's not stain the Kate Spade sweater! There I was--cold and dirty and bruised and dehydrated and scared to death, and my mother just wanted to make sure her "face," as she calls it, was still perfect. My dad at least messed his hair up, and kept muttering to the police things like "That seems impossible." Or, "How could she have done that?" And, "No, that was her mother's sister, not her sister. We only have one other child, a son." Or, "Are you sure?"
And he might have been pulling on his tie and messing up his hair, but he sure was not all over me with kisses and relief and joy. I sure wasn't his little princess then, his superstar, his little stick of dynamite--all those things he'd called me when he came running to the stage door, night after night, every time I was in a show for the past eight years! He acted like none of that had ever happened. He didn't pick me up and swing me around and give me a big bouquet of yellow roses (our special flower, though I read somewhere it means betrayal).
They looked at me like the princess who turned into a frog.
It made me think, Really, did they ever really care? About me? The real me? Was there a real me--to them?
Or was it just, ever so casually, "Oh, Hope got the lead in this. . . . Hope won that competition in Los Angeles. . . ." My mom used to find a way to work every conversation around to me being an actor--it was like she won the competition or got the role. It was all she could ever talk about, and I can't imagine how she would go on when I wasn't even there to get embarrassed and tell her to shut the hell up or I would walk out of the house. And when I would just do normal kid things, which was not very often (I had to sleep ten hours and in a cucumber mask!), she wouldn't even notice me, except when I was walking out. She'd say, "Don't eat fries, Hopie. Use your skin lotion, Hopie."