Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: The Taming of the Drew

The Taming of the Drew
Published By: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Page Count: 304
Source: Kindly Provided by Author
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I have been a fan of Stephanie Kate Strohm's work since her debut novel, Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink. I was excited to see her branch out from Libby (although I love that character and hope to see her series continue in the future). The Taming of the Drew is a Shakespeare inspired summer romp that will leave you laughing.

The novel begins when Cass, the main character, is making her way to her summer Shakespeare internship in rural Vermont. A mishap on the road leads her directly into Drew's path. Cass immediately finds Drew obnoxious and wonders if he is capable of speaking without being condescending. She hopes never to lay eyes on him again, but unfortunately she soon learns he will be playing the Petruchio to her Kate in their summer production of The Taming of the Shrew. Cass must find a way to work with Drew, but her fiery personality and his insufferable know it all moments are on a collision course for disaster. 

In her trademark style, Strohm has created an outspoken and hilarious leading lady who is full of sparkle and sass. Cass had me giggling from the first chapter. She also one over my heart with her long lists of creative insults. Any character that uses asshat instantly earns points with me. As with her previous novels, Strohm also creates a lovable bunch of supporting characters. I loved all the members in the acting ensemble. The plan to "tame" Drew through a series of pranks constructed by Cass and her roommates, Amy and Heidi, was one of my favorite elements of the story. Leave it to Shakespeare to craft the perfect manual for pranks.

The friction between Cass and Drew made for intriguing character development. Wrenches are thrown into the mix by the affections of Amy and Taylor, but I felt like I knew where things were headed. 

The setting also appealed to me as I have always wanted to visit Vermont. There is something appealing about all that rural land and beautiful scenery. 

I was also delighted to see that there were some serious undertones as well. Shakespeare's plays certainly do not have the same gender roles we have in our society today. I loved watching Cass and Heidi battle against those antiquated ideas and misogynistic standards. The interpretation of Shakespeare that litters the text was fascinating and made my academic heart patter.

Strohm has made the Bard proud with her rendition of the classic tale while asserting a modern spin that puts the power in the hands of a female lead. 

One Last Gripe: I loved Cass, but there were moments when I had trouble separating her from Libby. I want to see a vastly different main character in the next book.

Favorite Thing About This Book: the Shakespearean elements and influences

First Sentence: Freedom might have smelled like cow manure, but it had never tasted so sweet.

Favorite Character: Cass

Least Favorite Character: Taylor - his skate speak was ANNOYING

Cass McKay has been called stubborn, temperamental, difficult, and that word that rhymes with “witch” more times than she cares to count. But that’s all about to pay off. She has finally landed the role she was born to play—Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew—in the summer apprentice program of a renowned Shakespeare theater company in the forests of Vermont.

But Cass can barely lace up her corset before her troubles begin. The leading man, Drew, is a complete troll, and he’s going to ruin Cass’s summer. Even worse, Cass’s bunkmate Amy has somehow fallen head over heels for Drew. Eww! Cass can’t let Amy throw herself at a total jerk, though, so she comes up with a genius plan to give Drew the personality makeover he so desperately needs: she’ll tame Drew just as Petruchio tames Kate! But will her plan backfire as Shakespeare’s classic plays out offstage? 

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