The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Posted February 25, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre

by Robin Talley

Publisher: HarperTeen on December 1, 2020
Genre: #OwnVoices, Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+, Romance, Theatre
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC, Bisexual, Black, LGBTQIAP+
Content Warnings: Bullying, Vomit

Rating: ★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads or buy the book at Bookshop.org

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything. Lead actor need a breath mint? She’s on it. Understudy bust a seam? Mel’s sewing kit is at the ready. Not only is her Plan A foolproof, she’s got a Plan B, and a Plan C, because actors can be total fools.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

 

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre has all sorts of things that should make it a great read for me.  It’s a quick flowing contemporary, there’s loads of LGBTQIAP+ rep, and it’s a theatre book.  I love a good theatre book!  Unfortunately, sometimes you can have all the correct ingredients and still the book just isn’t a favorite.  And that’s okay!  Unfortunately, Melody missed the mark for me.

Here’s some of the good stuff:

  1. I loved the division between cast and crew.  I know that’s not an ideal state, but my experiences in high school drama very much drew the line in the sand between the actors and the crew.  There were a few floaters… but Nick’s attitude was all too familiar.
  2. I loved the blocking diagrams. 🙂 As a former stage manager myself, that was a fun add.
  3. I really enjoyed the rep!  Odile was such a lovely character and I wish her all sorts of happiness.
  4. The overall pacing was fantastic – I read this book in a handful of sittings and the world tugged me back in and I was able to read large chunks of the book each time I sat down to it.  Good pacing feels so important in YA contemporaries for me, and Talley nailed it.
  5. Melody started off running, right in the middle of the last performance of a show, and I was immediately pulled into that world.
  6. Theatre superstitions!  Even though Melody takes them to the next level, I really liked that they had a home here.

Objectively, I think those were the main things that Talley did well.  Otherwise, I found the book lacking.  If I were to pick two things that really bugged me about The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre, I’d pick “character development” and “the intermission”.  All the characters are pretty flat, including Melody herself.  I wanted so much more of Odile, Dom, and Gabby, but Melody was so deep in her own head that none of the other characters stood a chance.  I also really disliked how frequently Melody was slut-shamed.

There’s a section in the middle of Melody called “Intermission”, which consists of four or five quick chapters entirely of dialogue.  No dialogue tags, nothing.  As a reader, this broke the flow horribly for me.  The first half of the book was better, but the middle section left me a bit disoriented trying to resettle into a very different writing style… and then back again.

I also felt like everything was over the top.  Nick’s behavior, the number of crises, Melody’s complete lack of focus on this dream-show of hers… it surpassed the point of being entertaining and brought it up to a level of frustrating for me.  The drama levels were turned up pretty high for most this book, then the ending resolution was far to neat.  There were quite a few “change of hearts” that seemed more convenient than anything.  This won’t bother a lot of people, but for me… the more I think about it, the more the book falls apart.

Talley also had several opportunities for interesting twists and turns that she did not take, which was a bit disappointing.  In the acknowledgements, Talley admits that she was never a theatre person, but she married one… and the second-generation storytelling really shows here.  Sure, it’s a theatre book – but it feels like a theatre book from the outside.  The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre has all of the drama and almost none of the heart.  And that’s its biggest downfall.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★ 1/2
Plot: ★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

3 Star Rating

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tHE lOVE cURSE OF mELODY mCiNTYRE wILL bE dONATED

Because of the heightened drama and the frustrating characters and the unsatisfying ending tied neatly with a bow… I don’t think I would read The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre again.  I think it was okay for one read, and I really appreciated the rep – I did!  But the story was too much anxiety with too little reward to earn a place in my heart, so I think I’m going to donate this one.

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Code Orange Problematic Author History

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Were you a theatre kid?  If so, were you an actor or crew?  Have you done a bit of both?  I did both and to this day I still love theatre – I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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