Today we are stop number 3 on the Take a Bow Sneak Peek tour! Of course we picked Ethan!
First, a little about Take a Bow (from Goodreads)
From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.
Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it’s been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn’t sure how to admit that he’d rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.
I got my grubby little hands on an ARC of Take a Bow and let me tell you, it is full of drama! Elizabeth Eulberg’s writing style is both enjoyable and familiar! And I could really tell this was a story told from her heart.
So, now what you have been waiting for! Here is a quick note from Elizabeth. Then keep reading to find a sneak peek at my favorite character, Ethan. (And don’t forget to scroll all the way down for a giveaway!!)
Oh Ethan… I think, without a doubt, that Ethan Quinn is the most complicated character I’ve ever written, and not just because he’s a boy. Ethan is a musical genius, but he’s also pretty self-destructive. It’s not like he wants to mess up things that are going on in his life, he just gets in his own way a lot.
One of the biggest challenges I had with Ethan is that he’s like, way more poetic than me, ‘n stuff (see?). I even had to write a song from his point of view, which was extremely difficult. I kept cringing, not because I had to write lyrics (okay, that was part of it), but mostly because people would be reading something so personal to Ethan. I turned toward my favorite bands and started combing through lyrics to get inspiration. It was Snow Patrol’s lyrics (by lead singer Gary Lightbody) that were a huge part of me shaping Ethan’s voice. I made a list of a bunch of words and phrases from Snow Patrol and other bands and kept that in front of me when I was writing from Ethan’s point of view.
So here’s Ethan (or “emo Ethan” as Scholastic editorial liked to refer to him as)!
I want to get this over with.
My stomach has been in knots all morning. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve been a wreck since I got the date of this audition. Maybe going to CPA isn’t the best idea. I’ve got it pretty good in Greenwich. I’ve got friends, and even better, I’ve got Kelsey.
Although I just got a girlfriend and what do I do? I audition for a school in New York City, which means I’ll have to live at my parents’ Park Avenue apartment during the week.
Leave it to me to complicate one of the few good things in my life.
I almost considered backing out of the audition and not going to CPA, but — and I’m fully aware of how corny this sounds — music is my life.
At first I didn’t know that it was unusual for someone to hear a song and be able to play it back instantly on the piano or guitar. Or that not everybody can sit down and write a song. I’ve been playing music, my music, for as long as I can remember. It flows from me with ease.
It’s just the lyrics that I suck at.
I’m a thirteen-year-old kid who lives in a huge house in Connecticut with my investment banker father and stay-at-home mom. What do I have to write about? I don’t know anything about suffering or pain. Or love.
I guess the one good thing going for me is that I don’t have to sing today. I’m doing a couple of instrumental pieces. I hate singing. I hate it when people look at me. I wonder if they’ll let me perform behind a screen?
I try to get my legs to stop shaking, but if they stay still, what will distract me from the bile that is slowly rising in my throat? I go to bite my nails, but there isn’t any nail left.
Dad squeezes my shoulder. I hate him knowing that I’m nervous. Why can’t I just tune out the voices in my head telling me I’m going to mess it up, like I mess everything up? Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I do something without thinking of the fourteen thousand ways that I can mess up?
Actually, there is one thing I can do to quiet the voices. The only thing that I am good at, which is playing music. That I can do well.
It’s everything else that’s the problem.
Excerpt from Take a Bow, published by Point/Scholastic, copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Eulberg. Used with permission.
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