Wednesday, March 27, 2013

High School Musical: "Phantom" by Laura DeLuca

Rebecca Hope is a high school senior who feels invisible. She has two besties, Carmen and Debbie, and a passion for all things Phantom of the Opera, from the book to the musical to the movie. She knows all the words by heart and, like Christine, is an amazing singer, something nobody at school realizes, as she is shy and usually only comfortable singing in the confines of her shower. She has also harbored a secret crush on Tom Rittenhouse, handsome basketball star and surfer. Then, her high school drama dept. decides to put on Phantom of the Opera and Becca's friends push her into auditioning. How could she not?
Attending auditions, while the girls wait their turn, the boys try out. Tom steps up to sing the Phantom's solo number. The whole school assumes Tom will get the part. After all, he usually gets whatever he wants.
The drama coach calls out another name, one nobody knows... "Lord ... Justyn?" she questions...and a boy glides onto the stage. He is dressed in black. A goth boy. Carmen recognises him from a class, "That's Justyn Patko" she confides to Becca. He is a new student, recently moved to their town from Las Vegas. As he takes the stage and begins the song, Becca can't take her eyes off him. He is the Phantom, Erik, come to life.
Finally, after Wendy, the most popular girl in school tries out, it's Rebecca's turn. Nervously she begins and notices Justyn watching her in the shadows at the back of the auditorium. It gives her the courage to bring Christine to life for Justyn's Phantom. Suddenly, the audience, and Tom, see Becca differently, as a star in the making!
The cast is announced. Justyn and Becca get the leads, while Tom is to be Raoul and Wendy is relegated to Carlotta. They are NOT happy.
This is just the beginning of this wonderful story that captures the heart of the Phantom classic and combines it with the casting of these students who are bringing the musical to life while also reenacting the love story rivalry of Christine, Erik and Raoul, off stage. Plus, there is a murder mystery that seems to follow the lead of some of the fictional Phantom's threats. Who is behind them? You may be surprised...
The Recommender LOVED Justyn! He is such a real presence, someone smart, charming, witty, self-possessed and not afraid to be himself in a high school world that treats him snarkily. He also has some secrets of his own which will be revealed as his Phantom courts Christine, and he, Justyn, reaches out to Becca.
If you love the Phantom as much as I do, then don't miss this different take on our favorite characters! Last year, the Recommender had the pleasure of seeing Spaulding High School's (in Rochester, NH) production of Phantom of the Opera and it was phantastic! Really brilliantly done, with sets that creatively rivaled those on the Broadway stage and the students playing Phantom and Christine could easily have played them on Broadway as well, so I found this book particularly appealing!


  1. Thank you so much for this amazing review and the beautiful picture! I love it! Laura DeLuca

  2. Thank YOU, Laura, for writing such an fantastic book and creating such memorable characters!!! Justyn is one of my new favorite fictional characters!!!