The Four Dorothys (a Drama novel) by Paul Ruditis

Bryan Stark attends Orion Academy where all the students are talent-filled and ego-ridden. When the school puts on only one theatrical performance per year and is jam-packed with skilled kids (or at least, powerful parents), how do you make sure every kid shines? Naturally, you have multiple kids play each part. Orion is putting on the Wizard of Oz, with two Glinda’s, two Scarecrows, and most importantly, four Dorothys. But when the girls playing Dorothy start being sabotaged, Bryan has to figure out who is sabotaging the Dorothys before his friend Sam becomes the next victim.

When I first saw this book, all I could think was, Glee? My friend and I joked about how it must be the same story until I became curious enough to actually find out. Glee turned out to be superior. There is more heart behind the stories of Glee than there are here. These are sort of fun, mindless stories that are good to kill a bit of time.

Bryan is a closeted gay teen, but the story is hardly about this. In fact, he is mostly a bystander in this entire book, which is a little irritating. His gay storyline could be interesting but since it is a non-player in the book it ultimately doesn’t do much. (I’m fine with there being no drama surrounding the fact that he is gay, but he has kept this fact a secret which means there is, at least in his mind, some issues with it which go unaddressed.)

My biggest complaint is that there was no real twist. It became clear who the culprit was very early on and we were never surprised to find that the person we (and Bryan) expected was innocent. Sure, the lesson you can take from that is that some people are exactly as evil as they seem, but it doesn’t make for a great story.

Ultimately, it isn’t a book that I would recommend but I’ve read worse.


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