Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Left on the doorstep of the Theatre as a babe, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever only know the world encased within this place. Her friends are the characters in every play ever written, but especially those of the Immortal Bard, William Shakespeare. Her constant companions are the four fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, Cobweb, and Moth.

Bertie is a fiesty, blue-haired teenager who lives on stage, plays with pirates, spars with spirits, and generally tries to find her place in a world where she doesn’t really have a part. She knows the Theatre intimately, how things work, where things go, how even to change the scene (which she is very much NOT supposed to do). Yet there is no real place for her here, which certain people LOVE to remind her of.

Nonetheless, Bertie wants to stay. She has never known anything other than the Theatre and its workers and the characters held there by the Book – a magical tome containing every play ever written. However, Bertie also feels the pull to find out who she is. No one seems to know anything about her: where she came from, who her parents were, nothing. You think being a teenager is tough? Try being one here.

Nate is the handsome pirate from Peter Pan whom Bertie trusts with most of her secrets and fun, the Fairies are her defenders and helper, and then there’s Ariel. The “airy sprite” from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. As a thing of pure magic, Ariel is handful at best, a problem at worst.

Bertie must find a way to prove herself worthy of staying in the Theatre, as well as finding a way to protect the Theatre from its downfall. If you love the theatre or plays or watching different stories interact with each other, then this is the novel for you.

This is Lisa Mantchev’s first work and, thankfully, the first of a series. She has done wonderfully! I was entirely drawn into the world, fell in love with the characters, and was desperate to know what happenend next. Keep up the great work, Lisa! We can’t wait for the next installment.

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