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As If on Cue

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A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore. Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore. Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on. But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win. Except Natalie and Reid. Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…


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A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore. Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore. Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on. But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win. Except Natalie and Reid. Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…

30 review for As If on Cue

  1. 4 out of 5

    ella

    as a real live band kid who despises my real live theater department...relatable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars rounded^ Oh my God I can NOT STOP SMILING! This was SO FREAKING CUTE, FUNNY, EMOTIONAL in all the best ways, had an amazing diverse cast with two Jewish main characters, LGBTQIA+ reps, anxiety rep... which were all represented SO WELL. So much to enjoy, and enjoy I did, majorly! I just loved this book. The second half had me in some serious tears SO many times because this—THE CHERRY ON THE DAMN TOP, GUYS—was SUCH A GOOD ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS YA CONTEMPORARY & I AM A GLORIFI Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars rounded^ Oh my God I can NOT STOP SMILING! This was SO FREAKING CUTE, FUNNY, EMOTIONAL in all the best ways, had an amazing diverse cast with two Jewish main characters, LGBTQIA+ reps, anxiety rep... which were all represented SO WELL. So much to enjoy, and enjoy I did, majorly! I just loved this book. The second half had me in some serious tears SO many times because this—THE CHERRY ON THE DAMN TOP, GUYS—was SUCH A GOOD ENEMIES-TO-LOVERS YA CONTEMPORARY & I AM A GLORIFIED ROMANTIC SAP. Also the family & friend dynamics were just amazing. I freaking LOVED THIS BOOK! ...and who doesn't love a YA contemporary with a school play/ musical at its core?!? They're just always the BEST IMO. Ayyyy 100% recommend! 🙂 🤍🤍🤍

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    I think this is a high three/solid four out of five stars for me? I loved the premise of it and the stress of how important art is to students in high school. I feel like our world is so stressed about what is profitable that they forget what they're doing to young minds, so I definitely enjoyed a book that is meant to stress how important it is. Natalie and Reid have been in each other's lives since birth. Their fathers are childhood friends and everything has always been shared and Natalie gro I think this is a high three/solid four out of five stars for me? I loved the premise of it and the stress of how important art is to students in high school. I feel like our world is so stressed about what is profitable that they forget what they're doing to young minds, so I definitely enjoyed a book that is meant to stress how important it is. Natalie and Reid have been in each other's lives since birth. Their fathers are childhood friends and everything has always been shared and Natalie grows to resent Reid more and more because of it. Their families may be close but if were up to Natalie, she'd probably try her best to not have to see Reid as much as she has to. After he stole her music from her, Natalie fell in love with writing (as a hobby, she's sure to emphasize) and grew into writing plays. But when everything but the band gets cut (lucky for her Dad and Reid), all eyes are on Natalie and Henry's Frozen-inspired play Melted as a means to show the school and community just how important art is to all of them. Natalie and Henry are thrilled but then there is a prank war and a disaster concert and a storm and all this puts the band and the 'Save the Art' team together to create something that combines all efforts. Reid and Natalie have never been able to stop this competition between the two of them but now they may have no choice. (view spoiler)[I'm going to just say this and lay it all out here but if Natalie just communicated even A TINY BIT then this aggressive nature would have been squashed when they were KIDS. My god, this was good but Natalie was infuriating because everything was a personal attack on her even when it literally had nothing to do with her. In Natalie's world, the sun rose and set on Reid but she always fought like it was supposed to be her in his place. She didn't like when things didn't go her way ever and threw hissy fits over it or strongarmed people until it did. I honestly didn't really like her as the main character until the last few chapters of the book and even THEN she wasn't winning any awards. Her Dad was kind of clueless but AGAIN, ALL SHE HAD TO DO WAS TALK TO HIM. I had a big problem with this lack of communication and I was trying to remind myself that she was supposed to be like 16/17 years old but even then I thought it was too much. I do not remember being that bad when I was younger. (hide spoiler)] I did like the writing itself. I couldn't put this book down and when Natalie wasn't annoying me, I enjoyed her relationships with her friends (Fitz in particular) and the addressing of the microaggressions and antisemitism that go on in middle and high school. This was quick but very important as I think it's not often addressed in YA but over the past few years I definitely am noticing it come up more and more and although I wish it didn't have to be said at all, I'm glad teens are seeing it more in the books they're reading. Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book but Natalie definitely was the root of my frustrations. I think if she dialled it back a notch or two she would've been easier to read but I mostly wanted to shake her. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

  4. 4 out of 5

    angel

    I had real genuine hope for this one. And I was convinced for the first 75% that I'd be giving this book at least three stars and then the third act conflict happened. I already wasn't Natalie's biggest fan because all her 'pranks' on Reid were just totally mean, she had a serious victim complex and was quick to jump to conclusions. I was ready to fling my phone at a wall because of some of the stunts she pulled. But God. What she did to Reid towards the end was cruel and totally unacceptable an I had real genuine hope for this one. And I was convinced for the first 75% that I'd be giving this book at least three stars and then the third act conflict happened. I already wasn't Natalie's biggest fan because all her 'pranks' on Reid were just totally mean, she had a serious victim complex and was quick to jump to conclusions. I was ready to fling my phone at a wall because of some of the stunts she pulled. But God. What she did to Reid towards the end was cruel and totally unacceptable and after that, I could barely stomach the rest of the story. I skimmed the last 25% percent for hope that for once she'd be held accountable for her actions but no. She suffers absolutely no repercussions. There's little to no growth in any form from her character. Everything is just back to normal. Reid deserved so much better than her. More things I did not love include; the introduction of side characters, mostly POC, only for them to fade into the background or not be that relevant to the story at all, that the book tended to drag more and more as it led up to the end, the cringey Gen Z jokes and the clunky writing. I'm honestly so disappointed right now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    It's more 4.5 but... 5 stars didn't feel right lmao. But this book hit all the feels. It's more 4.5 but... 5 stars didn't feel right lmao. But this book hit all the feels.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zizzy W

    From the author's Twitter: "AS IF ON CUE has: 🎭 an enemies-to-lovers arc between a playwright mc and a clarinetist ✨ prank wars, plural 🥺 complicated dad feelings 💙 scene stealing siblings 🔥 slowwwwburn ✡️ jewish feelings 🎼 so! many! musical references! y'all i love this book with my whole heart 💕" this book sounds so cute !! https://twitter.com/marisakanter/stat... From the author's Twitter: "AS IF ON CUE has: 🎭 an enemies-to-lovers arc between a playwright mc and a clarinetist ✨ prank wars, plural 🥺 complicated dad feelings 💙 scene stealing siblings 🔥 slowwwwburn ✡️ jewish feelings 🎼 so! many! musical references! y'all i love this book with my whole heart 💕" this book sounds so cute !! https://twitter.com/marisakanter/stat...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    This was a really great sophomore book by Marissa Kanter that’s perfect for Broadway fans, theater kids, band kids and Disney fans alike. As If On Cue follows lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid as their high school’s art budget faces cuts and they end up on opposing sides. When a disastrous prank war goes wrong, Natalie and Reid have to figure out how work on a musical together in order to convince the school board to save next year’s art budget. The two have been in constant competition their ent This was a really great sophomore book by Marissa Kanter that’s perfect for Broadway fans, theater kids, band kids and Disney fans alike. As If On Cue follows lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid as their high school’s art budget faces cuts and they end up on opposing sides. When a disastrous prank war goes wrong, Natalie and Reid have to figure out how work on a musical together in order to convince the school board to save next year’s art budget. The two have been in constant competition their entire lives and they have no idea how to work together. Things get even more complicated when they have to deal with the feelings that start developing between them as they work towards a common goal. Enemies to lovers/rivals to lovers is easily my favorite trope and I love reading books that involve music and acting so I knew this was going to be a good one for me. It was funny and entertaining while still being sweet with moments of depth and emotion. I appreciated that this book had romance but also had a strong focus on family and friendship as well. I loved Natalie’s friend group and their interactions brought me right back to high school when I was involved in the school’s theater program. Natalie’s spin off of the beloved Disney movie Frozen, which she aptly named Melted, was so creative and it honestly sounds like something I would love to see live. There were a ton of Frozen references which made my Disney-loving heart so happy. Both main characters were Jewish and the representation included was so great. We get to see antisemitism confronted as well as a celebration of Judaism in Natalie’s little sister’s bat mitzvah. I always really appreciate more diversity and representation, especially in YA books where kids can read about characters like them. This was a really cute book and I’ve definitely enjoyed reading both of Marisa Kanter’s books! I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future! Thank you to Simon Teen for sending a copy to me!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    As If On Cue is a Young Adult Romantic Comedy. It was a cute, fun, and enjoyable read. The narrator is 17 year old Natalie (1st person POV). She is Jewish and she lives with her parents and sister in Massachusetts. Natalie/Lee is in her junior year of high school. She is a playwright. Her dad is a musician who is the band director at her high school. And her mom is a New York Times bestselling author who has writer's block. Natalie loves theatre. But because of what she has witnessed in her family As If On Cue is a Young Adult Romantic Comedy. It was a cute, fun, and enjoyable read. The narrator is 17 year old Natalie (1st person POV). She is Jewish and she lives with her parents and sister in Massachusetts. Natalie/Lee is in her junior year of high school. She is a playwright. Her dad is a musician who is the band director at her high school. And her mom is a New York Times bestselling author who has writer's block. Natalie loves theatre. But because of what she has witnessed in her family she only considers writing and directing a hobby. She has two best friends Fitz (girl) and Henry. And an enemy, Reid. Reid plays the clarinet and her dad has always seemed to put Reid first. Natalie and Henry wrote a play, Melted, during the summer. And I was obsessed with this part of the story. I love theatre. And I absolutely loved that Melted and theatre were such a big part of the story. This book focuses a lot on writing. Pranks are also a bit part of the story. The book has a high school setting. And a bunch of the key families in this story are Jewish, which I loved. There is a lot about family dynamics in this book especially between Natalie and her dad. This is a YA romance. However for most of the story the romance is not the focus. Overall I did like this book. It was a quick fun read. I agree with something mentioned in the author's note. This book was definitely a love letter to high school theatre. Thanks to edelweiss and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mora

    ngl i do not think what natalie did was forgivable but that may just be me

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Morrison

    I absolutely loved Marisa's first book "What I Like About You", it was fast paced, emotional, fun, and I couldn't put it down. I liked As If on Cue but I didn't love it, I had a really hard time not being super frustrated with Nathalie and her inability to communicate. I enjoyed the romance story arc between Nathalie and Reid (their ship names were ridiculous but fun). I love that Marisa included antisemitism in the book and Reid did a fantastic job of dealing with it. I am looking forward to read I absolutely loved Marisa's first book "What I Like About You", it was fast paced, emotional, fun, and I couldn't put it down. I liked As If on Cue but I didn't love it, I had a really hard time not being super frustrated with Nathalie and her inability to communicate. I enjoyed the romance story arc between Nathalie and Reid (their ship names were ridiculous but fun). I love that Marisa included antisemitism in the book and Reid did a fantastic job of dealing with it. I am looking forward to reading the next book Marissa publishes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    I'm All Booked Up YA

    *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* We enjoyed Kanter’s debut What I Like About You last year, so we were thrilled to also participate in the book tour for her latest YA contemporary. Natalie Jacobsen is certain about one thing: that she and Reid Callahan will always be enemies. Unfortunately, she can’t get away from him. 1. He’s always at her house for clarinet lessons. 2. He’s Natalie’s dad’s protégé. 3. He’ll do anything to be better than Natalie at everything. When Natali *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* We enjoyed Kanter’s debut What I Like About You last year, so we were thrilled to also participate in the book tour for her latest YA contemporary. Natalie Jacobsen is certain about one thing: that she and Reid Callahan will always be enemies. Unfortunately, she can’t get away from him. 1. He’s always at her house for clarinet lessons. 2. He’s Natalie’s dad’s protégé. 3. He’ll do anything to be better than Natalie at everything. When Natalie finds out on her first day that her beloved drama club, similar to the rest of arts and music clubs besides the band, is getting cut, she’ll do anything to get the school board to reconsider. Only, Natalie’s dad and Reid don’t get it. After all, as band members and band teachers, they get to keep their program while the other creative students suffer. Along with her two best friends Fitz and Henry, Natalie comes up with a plan to get these programs back. By combining all the cut art programs into one incredible night, she shows how talented the creative students at her school are. Plus, she finally gets her dream of showcasing her own writing and directing talents for Melted: The Musical. When the principal throws a wrench in this plan, Reid becomes involved. Now Natalie has to make a choice, work with her enemy or let the arts programs end at Lincoln High. We loved that this book focused on theatre and band! In high school Christy was in theatre and Claire was in band. Talk about a fun coincidence. The hate to love trope had us excited from the beginning. Natalie and Reid had great banter and we cheered for them to get together. Their romance was slowburn and felt realistic, especially the conflicts that occurred along the way. Reid is a swoonworthy book boyfriend and his character growth was one of our favorite aspects of the story. Natalie and Reid were also great older siblings. Both had younger sisters, who are besties, which added to the plot. These two younger sibs definitely increased the drama overall. Another aspect we liked about this contemporary is that Kanter is bringing Jewish representation into YA. Natalie’s sister’s Bat Mitzvah is shown and Kanter has the characters celebrating the holidays as well. Building upon these themes, Kanter also discussed the rise of antisemitism and how it impacts the characters in this small Massachusetts town. The book is set in Lincoln, Massachustts and the characters attend Lincoln High School. The school is based on Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, where one of our close friends went to high school. We couldn’t stop laughing when we read about the location. Overall, this is a fun and sweet romance, which touches upon some important themes. We can’t wait for Kanter’s next YA contemporary! Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I really wanted to love this. A YA contemporary where two lifelong rivals have to team up to put on a musical and help save their school's art programs combines two of my very favorite things: enemies to lovers and musical theater. But this suffered from a lot of the same issues that kept me from enjoying Kanter's debut, namely that the main character is very frustrating to read and the book doesn't leave enough room for her to really make up for the hurt her actions have caused. Natalie is supe I really wanted to love this. A YA contemporary where two lifelong rivals have to team up to put on a musical and help save their school's art programs combines two of my very favorite things: enemies to lovers and musical theater. But this suffered from a lot of the same issues that kept me from enjoying Kanter's debut, namely that the main character is very frustrating to read and the book doesn't leave enough room for her to really make up for the hurt her actions have caused. Natalie is super controlling, has a bad habit of jumping to conclusions instead of hearing people out, and responds really badly to criticism. Many of the issues that threaten the musical throughout the book are a direct result of her actions and we're over halfway through the book before she realizes that she needs to start making some changes to the way she treats people. In addition, what she does to Reid near the end of the book is pretty awful and undoes a lot of her character development. Then there's not nearly enough left of the book for her to really atone for it and show her growth, much like in Kanter's debut. I liked some of the side characters a lot more, especially Natalie's fashion YouTuber friend Fitz and her romance novelist mother, and enjoyed the theater elements and Jewish representation but unfortunately the main character's behavior kept me from being delighted by this book the way I wanted to.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tesa

    Thank you NetGalley and Simon Teen for a digital ARC of As If on Cue. As someone who was in both band and theater in high school, this seemed right up my alley. Lifelong rivals, Natalie and Reid, are forced to worked together to save their school’s art programs. Unfortunately, As If on Cue missed the mark. For pretty much the entire first half of the book I found Natalie incredibly annoying and the dialogue cringy (i.e. way too many uses of the phrase “I cannot even”). The second half barely made Thank you NetGalley and Simon Teen for a digital ARC of As If on Cue. As someone who was in both band and theater in high school, this seemed right up my alley. Lifelong rivals, Natalie and Reid, are forced to worked together to save their school’s art programs. Unfortunately, As If on Cue missed the mark. For pretty much the entire first half of the book I found Natalie incredibly annoying and the dialogue cringy (i.e. way too many uses of the phrase “I cannot even”). The second half barely made up for it. Natalie did show some character growth at the very end and the depiction of putting on a show had me feeling nostalgic. However, the romance felt rushed and lacked chemistry. I wish more time had gone towards building the romantic tension between Natalie and Reid. Sadly this book was a lot of Natalie being infuriatingly self-centered and every problem boiled down to the characters not communicating. They are teenagers in a YA novel so I can understand some miscommunication but this felt excessive.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC via netgalley for an honest review. 4/5 stars This was such a fun and mostly lighthearted YA contemporary, and I flew through it. CWs for some antisemitism through comments and character discussions of experiences with antisemitism. Natalie was a really good character. I liked and related to her a lot, but there were also times where I was appalled by her actions. This made her feel more real to me because she was flawed, but she had actual charact Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC via netgalley for an honest review. 4/5 stars This was such a fun and mostly lighthearted YA contemporary, and I flew through it. CWs for some antisemitism through comments and character discussions of experiences with antisemitism. Natalie was a really good character. I liked and related to her a lot, but there were also times where I was appalled by her actions. This made her feel more real to me because she was flawed, but she had actual character growth and was able to recognize her flaws and confront her problems. Natalie’s fears over her passions were relatable, and I also really related to her desire to share something with her dad in order to be able to spend time with him. The banter, the pranks, and the pre-established relationship between Natalie and Reid was excellent. Their back-and-forth relationship between disliking each other, competing, friendship, cooperation, and something more was fun to read about. I also liked Reid’s character, and I liked learning more about him through Natalie as she began to see him in different ways. Though the plot primarily focuses on the loss of funding for the arts, and the eventual production of Melted: The Musical (a Frozen opposite play), I really enjoyed the parts about Natalie’s family and her sister. The holidays were interesting to read about, and I liked the discussions about the ingrained and casual antisemitism that many of the characters had experienced. It was a small part, but it left me thinking. The writing style was easy to follow and Natalie’s voice felt and read to me like it was coming from a 17-year-old. The pacing was also good with a balance of the different elements that made up this story. If you’re looking for an easy YA contemporary read with good characters, I’d suggest As If On Cue!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of As If On Cue in exchange for an honest review. This was cute. A very well paced, enemies to lovers (theatre kid!!!!) romcom but also definitely not one that brings anything particularly new to the table. Still, if you're looking for a quick YA romance this one's a fun time with a healthy dose of theatre references. Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of As If On Cue in exchange for an honest review. This was cute. A very well paced, enemies to lovers (theatre kid!!!!) romcom but also definitely not one that brings anything particularly new to the table. Still, if you're looking for a quick YA romance this one's a fun time with a healthy dose of theatre references.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abby | abbysbookadventure

    Here’s a few things you should know about me before I dive into my review: 1) I was a theatre major in college. 2) I owned a princess party company after college and spent my weekends dressed up as Elsa and Anna attending children’s birthday parties. 3) I once subbed as a counselor at a summer theatre camp where the kids wrote their own musicals, and the group had written a musical about the environment. I still remember a key line: “Save the planet, save the earth, prevent deforestation.” Needless Here’s a few things you should know about me before I dive into my review: 1) I was a theatre major in college. 2) I owned a princess party company after college and spent my weekends dressed up as Elsa and Anna attending children’s birthday parties. 3) I once subbed as a counselor at a summer theatre camp where the kids wrote their own musicals, and the group had written a musical about the environment. I still remember a key line: “Save the planet, save the earth, prevent deforestation.” Needless to say, this book – about theatre kids banding together to save the arts by writing a parody of Frozen called Melted that’s all about climate change – made my heart so happy! Some of my favorite things include: - Jewish author + all of the Jewish rep!! Judaism is such a central part of this book, from Bat Mitzvah planning stress to high holiday celebrations. I loved the way Natalie described her family as “High holiday Jews” – same, girl, same. I especially loved the conversation about casual antisemitism – it was something I hadn’t overtly thought much about before and I loved the way it was handled, such as casually using the word “Nazi” as a replacement for “strict.” As a Jewish person, I felt extremely seen by this representation, and I think it will be really educational for others to read. Look up what you don’t know! - I loved all the themes surrounding art as a career and the ability to be objective when it comes to your own art. As someone who was a theatre major but chose to not pursue theatre professionally and instead pivoted to get my MBA, this hit me deep. - I loved Natalie and Reid. They reminded me SO much of Devi and Ben from Never Have I Ever, in the best way. They’re a bit immature at times and you want to strangle them, but they’re teenagers and learning and trying their best and really wonderful people. The romance and chemistry was perfect and icing on the cake of this book. - The dig at Les Miserable movie made me cackle out loud (it is GARBAGE). Highly recommend this wonderful book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid Helmke

    Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read this book! this was a truly adorable young adult romcom. It features two Jewish main characters who are rivals, but end of falling for each other. The banter was adorable and the conflict were real high school issues that I could sympathize with. I would have liked another chapter of resolution at the end, but overall I enjoyed the ending and the book as a whole.

  18. 4 out of 5

    nunu

    Thank you netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! 3.5 * In As If On Cue, we follow Natalie who is forced to give up her dreams of running a play she spent the summer writing, due to lack of funding for most extracurriculars in the arts. The school instead funds the band and orchestra, led by Natalie's dad and featuring Natalie's childhood rival, Reid, on first clarinet. Natalie tries to spearhead a protest/prank war to fund the arts and eventually ends up getting her play appro Thank you netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! 3.5 * In As If On Cue, we follow Natalie who is forced to give up her dreams of running a play she spent the summer writing, due to lack of funding for most extracurriculars in the arts. The school instead funds the band and orchestra, led by Natalie's dad and featuring Natalie's childhood rival, Reid, on first clarinet. Natalie tries to spearhead a protest/prank war to fund the arts and eventually ends up getting her play approved, but with a catch: the arts kids have to join forces with the band kids (Reid included!) and create a musical instead. The rest of the story follows the creation and execution of the musical, while also touching on some familiar coming-of-age themes like family issues, friendships, relationships, and the uncertainty of the future. I enjoyed this a lot! Rivals to lovers isn't something I’ve never seen before, but the story felt very fresh. The characters were all easy to love (with the exception of Natalie at times) and I loved watching the musical develop from a loose idea to a finished product! The Jewish representation and discussion of casual antisemitism were also some things I appreciated reading about. However, the conflict annoyed me quite a bit. It felt very juvenile and honestly quite stupid of Natalie to do something like that. Now, I understand her emotions got the best of her but Natalie was continually quick to judge and control others, which made it difficult for me to love her as a protagonist. The story was also a bit slow at first and the romance didn't start to progress until about halfway through, so it took me a while to get into. Oh and this is largely a personal thing but the number of pop-culture references threw me for a loop. Tiktok and Lin Manuel Miranda are not my favourite topics to be thrown into the books I read haha. Still, this was an enjoyable read, and if you are interested in reading about theatre kids and band kids writing a parody of Frozen, check this out on Sep 21st!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Shapiro

    **I received this as an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.** I completely adored Kanter's debut What I Like About You and I was thrilled when I was able to read As If On Cue early. It was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. There were so many good things I truly don't know where to start. The Jewish representation was INCREDIBLE. Natalie and Reid, the main characters were both Jewish and one of Natalie's best friends was also Jewish and **I received this as an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.** I completely adored Kanter's debut What I Like About You and I was thrilled when I was able to read As If On Cue early. It was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. There were so many good things I truly don't know where to start. The Jewish representation was INCREDIBLE. Natalie and Reid, the main characters were both Jewish and one of Natalie's best friends was also Jewish and Kanter delved into holiday traditions, explanations, and explored identity rather than trauma. What made my heart swell specifically, was the bat mitzvah prep and Torah portion, Vayishlach, which was also my own portion when I became a bat mitzvah almost 11 years ago. While there were so many positive Jewish experiences, Kanter also tackled antisemitism so well in this book and how Jewish American people deal with microaggressions, calendar mistakes and hateful and rude comments on a regular basis. It wasn't just dropped in, it really moved the story along and gives readers a true glance into what's happening. I also loved how crucial the arts, music, and writing themes were to the story. This was such a quick read and so many fun things including enemies to lovers, pranks, character development, important discussions, and an added bonus of great pop culture references. I did think Natalie was a bit intense at times, but I can understand her passion for what she loves. Overall, I highly recommend this book, there were so many ways I felt seen whether it was through hobbies, writing, Judaism, or figuring out more of your purpose in high school and the future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gretal

    This was really great. I loved Natalie and Reid and the rest of the characters.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: antisemetic microaggressions & language 4 Natalie and Reid have been rivals for as long as she can remember- once they were also friends, but that was a long time ago. When funding winds up meaning all extracurriculars are cut, only one is lft standing- the award winning band, AKA her dad, and Reid's, band. All Natalie wanted was a chance to put on a show before her best friend graduated, even going so far as to write a whole play with him, but what started I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: antisemetic microaggressions & language 4 Natalie and Reid have been rivals for as long as she can remember- once they were also friends, but that was a long time ago. When funding winds up meaning all extracurriculars are cut, only one is lft standing- the award winning band, AKA her dad, and Reid's, band. All Natalie wanted was a chance to put on a show before her best friend graduated, even going so far as to write a whole play with him, but what started out as something fun for the two of them turns into a battle royale once Reid and the band are forced to get involved. Now the play she's poured her heart into is a musical, her best friend is barely speaking to her, and Reid is.... well, it's hard to explain exactly what Reid is doing. As her feelings for the play, and her feelings for Reid get more and more confused, it seems like the simple show & school year she wanted will be impossible. This is a super cute romance. I'm not the biggest fan of genuine enemies to lovers, but rivals to lovers where one of them obviously doesn't actually think they're rivals is a direct way into my heart, and it's done so well here! These are characters that definitely have their faults and their hyperfocuses, but they comes together in a great way once the walls are down. Honestly, there are so many nice moments of inbetween-ness, and I appreciate that so much. Too often romances skip the middle, and go immediately from attraction- or worse, from nothing resembling romance at all- into a relationship, with no space to breathe or time for them to have feelings about the whole thing. Natalie has an organic and fun to watch back and forth between her own feelings about Reid, and her own disbelief in it happening at all is fantastic. I also love the Jewish representation in this book. It feels inherent to the characters, and it's shown so well on the page instead of just being told. Between the holidays, the bat mitzvah planning, and conversations about casual antisemetism, it's impossible to miss. I think it's explored in a great way as being part of their lives, and characters. The way the two families are explored are nice as well, and also give you a great insight into the characters. My only real complaints hinge on the last portion of the book. First, though there always needs to be a huge last second conflict in these books, the one picked for this story was too big for me to get past. It's too big a transgression for me to just continue onwards happy for them! Natalie is already a character that straddles the line between being realistically flawed and overly selfish and entitled, and this just crosses that line too definitively. As for the ending itself, it just felt too rushed and bit too twee. The tone is far more sugary sweet than the rest of the b0ok, and it felt like a strange bait and switch of characters instead of really seeing where things would end. But that's most likely a personal opinion! This is a sweet romcom with Jewish leads and plenty of musical theatre. I think a lot of people are going to really love this book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe (readandwright) Wright

    4.5 ⭐️! What a surprise. A slow beginning 30% in I became so invested. This made me miss high school theatre immensely and reminded me that my art is important, especially during these uncertain times. TW: anti-semitism Thank you to Simon Teen for my copy. All thoughts are my own. It is no secret I love the theatre. I was a bit of a shy theatre kid in high school, not wanting to be boxed into one “group.” I guess I was a little too influenced by Troy Bolton. But this book reminded me so much of h 4.5 ⭐️! What a surprise. A slow beginning 30% in I became so invested. This made me miss high school theatre immensely and reminded me that my art is important, especially during these uncertain times. TW: anti-semitism Thank you to Simon Teen for my copy. All thoughts are my own. It is no secret I love the theatre. I was a bit of a shy theatre kid in high school, not wanting to be boxed into one “group.” I guess I was a little too influenced by Troy Bolton. But this book reminded me so much of how awesome it was to be a theatre kid. Theatre kids are fiercely protective and creative. They understand found family very quickly and will do anything to protect their own. The main character in As If On Cue is Jewish and after a castmate makes anti-semitic remarks, the cast steps up. It reminded me a lot of the people I’ve met throughout my years in theatre. People who are willing to stand up for what is right, even when it isn’t easy, and also take the time to educate for the greater good. It’s a YA novel so it’s got a great angsty romance and plenty of laugh out loud moments. A perfect book for back to school! What I Liked: The Ode to High School Theatre—I have done some amazing shows in my time as a working actor, but the memories I have of high school theatre are truly some of the best. It all felt so high stakes at the time and this book perfectly captures how “life or death” fall and spring productions felt! The Characters—I really liked Natalie and Reid, plus all the side characters. It felt like a well rounded cast (ba dum dum) with interesting arcs for each of them. The Dialogue—The banter was so good! This follows a light enemies to lovers trope, which I always feel like works well in YA before the characters have totally matured. What Didn’t Work: Act I Pacing—The first act was really slow and I wasn’t quite sure where things were going to go. Once we broke into act 2, I was all in. Content Warnings: Anti semitism, microaggressions Character Authenticity: 4/5 Steam Rating: N/A, it’s YA Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Read It If You Like: To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson As If On Cue is available September 21, 2021

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Firkins

    A timely story about high school students fighting for the arts in a year where the arts have suffered terribly. Things I liked in this one include flawed, non-stereotyped characters who aren't all stunningly beautiful and perfectly heroic, a thoughtful look at casual antisemitism, and the sharply written dialogue. Much of the world is about academic theatre production, which is my primary career, so I also enjoyed reading Kanter's take on the development of a new musical and the various pieces A timely story about high school students fighting for the arts in a year where the arts have suffered terribly. Things I liked in this one include flawed, non-stereotyped characters who aren't all stunningly beautiful and perfectly heroic, a thoughtful look at casual antisemitism, and the sharply written dialogue. Much of the world is about academic theatre production, which is my primary career, so I also enjoyed reading Kanter's take on the development of a new musical and the various pieces that come together to make a whole. As other reviewers will no doubt note, for a book marketed as a rom-com, there is no romance, romantic tension, or attraction for the first half of the book (the heroine is sincerely awful and bitter toward the guy who will become her love interest). The second half that follows is a realistic look at a nascent friendship that gradually evolves into something more complicated. So this is one for the enemies-to-lovers readers who like their enemies to truly be enemies, with a long journey to travel toward attraction and respect. It's also a lovely and layered contemporary coming of age story, with a heroine who has a lot of growing up to do as she sorts out how to approach her friendships, her family, and her future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ضحى الحداد

    I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, but damn nothing was happening So in this book we meet Natalie, she is very well known for her rivalry with Reid, her father's student and the school band leader, so when the school informs her that the budget for all art club will be dedicated to the band she is angry and she tries to make a stand .. and that leads her to a prank war and then a mission to cooperate with Reid to make a musical if she ever wants to save her art club it was supposed to a I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, but damn nothing was happening So in this book we meet Natalie, she is very well known for her rivalry with Reid, her father's student and the school band leader, so when the school informs her that the budget for all art club will be dedicated to the band she is angry and she tries to make a stand .. and that leads her to a prank war and then a mission to cooperate with Reid to make a musical if she ever wants to save her art club it was supposed to an enemies to lovers book .. but it was just about Natalie hanging around with her friends and occasionally Reid gets in the picture in a small scene just to prove he was there .. also .. what Natalie did to Reid towards the end ... I mean .. WTF ??? how can he forgive her like that ? all and all .. the book was just Meh and I expected it to be cuter than this

  25. 4 out of 5

    manna

    3.5 stars the tropes in this were AMAZING jewish representation and musical theatre references >>> but at the end the main character did something really annoying so it kind of made me hate her and I feel like there wasn't a proper storyline the romance was vv cute in the beginning but it made me uncomfortable as it progressed 3.5 stars the tropes in this were AMAZING jewish representation and musical theatre references >>> but at the end the main character did something really annoying so it kind of made me hate her and I feel like there wasn't a proper storyline the romance was vv cute in the beginning but it made me uncomfortable as it progressed

  26. 4 out of 5

    miral

    3.5? i think reid ☹️💗💗💗 everybody else…

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    **I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.** I really enjoyed Marisa Kanter's other novel, What I Like About You , so I was extremely excited to read this one - rivals-to-lovers with a musical theatre based plot? It sounded perfect for me. Except it wasn't. My main issue with this story is that I just did not care for Natalie as a person. She is extremely controlling, rushes to conlcusions, and sees things how she wants to see them, inste **I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.** I really enjoyed Marisa Kanter's other novel, What I Like About You , so I was extremely excited to read this one - rivals-to-lovers with a musical theatre based plot? It sounded perfect for me. Except it wasn't. My main issue with this story is that I just did not care for Natalie as a person. She is extremely controlling, rushes to conlcusions, and sees things how she wants to see them, instead of taking the time to find out what is actually going on. The first half of the novel was spent setting up the plot, the so-called rivalry between Natalie and Reid, and Natalie's flaws. It wasn't until almost the halfway point that she even started recognizing her own issues and realizing she needed to make some changes and that itself was beyond frustrating. Part of me really wanted to like Natalie, because I understood the difficulties in trying to hold onto a small part of something when it feels like everything else is spinning out of control, as well as her doubts about pursuing what she loves for fear of failure, but her overall tendencies and sometimes absolutely terrible decisions just put me off her almost entirely. I know no one is perfect, but I needed her to start realizing her flaws a bit sooner than she had for the sake of the storyline. The plot itself was okay. It revolves around Natalie leading the charge to bring funding back to all of the arts programs at the school, not just the band, since budget cuts meant so much was taken away from the arts that all clubs and activities in that area were effectively disbanded. The entire reasoning behind this was that the band brought "publicity" to the school and community and if that is what the school committee is basing their funding objectives off of then they need to go work for a business corporation, not a high school. Where after school programs are for the students. Basically the whole storyline is a constant up-and-down of "this is going to work!" followed by something happening to disrupt the process, and the characters having to find a way to fix it. Natalie...may have been the cause of many of these issues. Or just a block in the way of fixing it. It took her a very long time to get over herself and her inability to let things go. For someone who is a "hobby" writer/director, she sure does not know how to collaborate well. I felt like there were some similarities between the overall plot structure of this book and Kanter's previous one - at a certain point in the story I realized how much was still left and, factoring in where the characters were in the growth and relationships, realized that Natalie was probably about to do something to mess things up and I was pretty much right. (And boy did it make me angry, what she did.) It was just a little too obvious based on reading her other book that Kanter was using a similar approach to the romance in this one. As for the romance itself, which seemed like it should be a main part of the story, it just didn't feel that strong. The rivals-to-lovers seemed very much one-sided at times, and for the first half of the book it felt like Natalie and Reid didn't even interact as much as they should have if I wanted to believe in their underlying chemistry. By the time they finally started spending time together and feelings began to change, I lost interest. It would pick up now and again and garner my attention, and was much better in the second half, but that first half definitely took its time. There was also this weird dynamic in the beginning, where, because Reid basically had grown up with Natalie and their families were extremely close through their fathers' friendship, it almost felt like they were more like cousins. In fact, Reid calls Natalie's parents Aunt and Uncle, so for a long time I was not feeling any sort of romance there. In fact I was feeling really put off just by the idea of it. I really wanted to like this book, but I just could not connect with Natalie on a level that I liked, and her behavior just put me off to her for the majority of the plot. It was a decent story, with a first half that was a bit slow and spent building up characters and relationships and plot, and a romance that needed a bit more chemistry from the start. There are probably those out there who might enjoy this more than I did, but for me it wasn't a complete winner. 3 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    becky ng ♡

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.25 ☆ whyyy did marisa have to create a protagonist who’s impulsive, self-righteous & a. freaking. bitch. Dad retreats through the kitchen and downstairs to his studio to give us space. Mom follows. I curl myself into the chair adjacent to Reid, wrapping my arms around my knees. Every time I wipe my eyes, fresh tears fall because I do feel bad, but this is also the story of my life. Dad doesn’t even think to ask me why. Doesn’t even consider that I might not be the only one who betrayed 2.25 ☆ whyyy did marisa have to create a protagonist who’s impulsive, self-righteous & a. freaking. bitch. Dad retreats through the kitchen and downstairs to his studio to give us space. Mom follows. I curl myself into the chair adjacent to Reid, wrapping my arms around my knees. Every time I wipe my eyes, fresh tears fall because I do feel bad, but this is also the story of my life. Dad doesn’t even think to ask me why. Doesn’t even consider that I might not be the only one who betrayed someone in the situation. idek how to comprehend how ludicrous this paragraph sounds. downright blaming ur dad for not being ‘fair’ when you’re obviously the one at fault, victim playing ain’t a cute look on u love. reid deserves better. the romance isn't destined they're just sexually charged from all that pent up aggravation<3

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    When the school cut all the arts funding (except for band) Natalie and her friends are enraged. They hatch a plan to raise money and change the school boards minds about cutting all the arts clubs at the school. But things take a left turn when the pranks start. Natalie and Reid have been at war as long as either of the can remember. But it really took hold when Reid picked up a clarinet for the first time after seeing Natalie and her dad play. When they were kids rules had to be established whe When the school cut all the arts funding (except for band) Natalie and her friends are enraged. They hatch a plan to raise money and change the school boards minds about cutting all the arts clubs at the school. But things take a left turn when the pranks start. Natalie and Reid have been at war as long as either of the can remember. But it really took hold when Reid picked up a clarinet for the first time after seeing Natalie and her dad play. When they were kids rules had to be established when the prank wars started. Now Juniors in high school all their friends and family are so done with the pranks when one happens at an important concert for the school thus causing Reid and Natalie to team up to turn the Frozen parody play that Natalie and her friend wrote over the summer into a musical. Oh ... the microaggressions, sarcasm and perceived slights that happen in this book! I can't event talk about that part of this. Both main characters are Jewish and do not take kindly on people making comments that they shouldn't! But I think that could have been taken further if it saw supposed to be an underling theme. It is defiantly an enemies to lovers book, for those who like that sort of thing, but Natalie is a piece of work. Not all readers will like her. And Reid seems too cocky for anyone, but that could just be because we only ever see the world from Natalie's angle. Overall a nice read for those who like romance. (view spoiler)[But it is a "BOW" ending. (hide spoiler)] A thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the prepub copy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Never have I been more insulted to share a name with a character. Seriously though, Natalie was not likable in the slightest. She was super judgy and constantly had a victim mentality, especially with her dad. So many of her “dad issues” could have been addressed with a simple conversation, but she instead chose to be a passive aggressive, prankster victim for ten years. Ugh. Also, the choice that Natalie makes at the 80% mark was awful and seemed to negate any growth her character had. Reid dese Never have I been more insulted to share a name with a character. Seriously though, Natalie was not likable in the slightest. She was super judgy and constantly had a victim mentality, especially with her dad. So many of her “dad issues” could have been addressed with a simple conversation, but she instead chose to be a passive aggressive, prankster victim for ten years. Ugh. Also, the choice that Natalie makes at the 80% mark was awful and seemed to negate any growth her character had. Reid deserved better than her.

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