Book Talk: "When You Get the Chance" by Emma Lord | Jan. 2022
I've been obsessed with Emma Lord' writing since she bounded onto the YA scene in 2020 with her debut Tweet Cute. I loved her second novel You Have a Match, and had been anxiously awaiting her third novel, When You Get the Chance, for months before I finally sat down to read it. And this novel! It is like a hot cup of cranberry vanilla tea on a cold winter's evening: comforting and delicious.
Maybe hot tea is a strange comparison to make for a book set during a sweltering New York City summer, but I read it in the winter so the vibe is there.
When You Get the Chance is about Millie, a teenage girl who knows she wants to be a Broadway star and changes personas like I change my shirts. Millie, who was raised by her father and aunt, finds a link to her father's LiveJournal from 2003 and discovers clues that lead to three women who might be her birth mother. Anxious to find the woman who birthed her and ditched her on her dad's doorstep (and to gain an ally in the fight to move across the country to a pre-college), Millie begins the hunt.
It's Mamma Mia! with a healthy dose of NYC, a fun rivals-to-lovers romance, and a cast of characters who each charmed their way into my heart from the first page on which they appeared.
The book takes Millie all across NYC as she begins a summer internship for a talent agent; joins a group of theater geeks down the street; and starts dance classes in Brooklyn. In addition, Millie's best friend, my dear sweet Teddy, is a "GeoTeen," which was a super fun and unique hobby to see play out in the pages of a novel.
Everything about this book is unique and fun, though. Emma Lord is a master at fun banter and she really shines when telling New York stories, and I fell in love with her depiction of the city as I see it — huge and imposing but quirky and fun once you get to know the little corners where life happens.
Millie and her school rival Oliver are once again competing with each other during the summer of the book, this time for an internship. Their romance is sweet and brought a grin to my face during every one of their interactions.
Millie can best be described as a disaster, and I love her so so much for it. She is impulsive and bull-headed and charming and lovable. I adored her.
I also really loved this twist on the Mamma Mia tale, and the ending was ridiculously sweet.
One thing Emma Lord did in this book that I really loved was write a story that's about 50/50 plot and romance. It doesn't feel like a romance where the romantic arc comes first; nor does it feel like a story about a girl looking for her mother where the romance comes second. It was a really nice balance of both. I love a good romance-first book, but this one was fun because equal weight was given to every relationship in Millie's life. That is so true to so many teens' experiences, and I loved seeing it portrayed.
This book was like a warm hug or coming home. I truly adored it. It published Jan. 4, 2022 and is available from Bookshop here (that link is an affiliate link, meaning I may receive a portion of the proceeds if you use it to buy the book). Emma Lord can be found on Twitter or her website.