It’s big news for the drama geeks at Orion University when Hartley Blackstone, a major Broadway producer and the creator of a major acting school in NY, plans to audition the students for two spots in his program. one boy and one girl will win. Bryan Stark, along with his two best friends Hope and Sam, are dying to get the spot, but they have to contend with the other talent in the school as well as some personal drama of their own. But when the Blackstone gives Bryan a scathing critique of his acting skills, Bryan is forced to wonder if the one thing he has spent all his time doing–acting–was a waste of time.
Whereas The Four Dorothys story was a mystery where Bryan mostly took a backseat, this book has Bryan front and center. This fact makes the story comparatively stronger. It has less exposition and allows us to really connect to the characters more closely.
There is still the issue of Bryan’s closeted gayness, which again mostly gets skirted over, but at least he deals with some other issues. Mainly, the fact that his best friends have been in relationships with the soccer kids he doesn’t like. Particularly his former best friend Drew, who was Hope’s boyfriend for years before they suddenly, inexplicably break up.
Everyone’s a Critic was by far the superior book, but the resolution felt lacking at the end of the book. It isn’t bad and would probably connect well to people who have had their dreams shattered, but there are stronger teen novels out there.