Published by Candlewick Press on October 10th 2017
Debuting on the New York stage, Zara is unprepared—for Eli, the girl who makes the world glow; for Leopold, the director who wants perfection; and for death in the theater.
Zara Evans has come to the Aurelia Theater, home to the visionary director Leopold Henneman, to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love. When the director asks Zara to promise that she will have no outside commitments, no distractions, it’s easy to say yes. But it’s hard not to be distracted when there’s a death at the theater—and then another—especially when Zara doesn’t know if they’re accidents, or murder, or a curse that always comes in threes. It’s hard not to be distracted when assistant lighting director Eli Vasquez, a girl made of tattoos and abrupt laughs and every form of light, looks at Zara. It’s hard not to fall in love. In heart-achingly beautiful prose, Amy Rose Capetta has spun a mystery and a love story into an impossible, inevitable whole—and cast lantern light on two girls, finding each other on a stage set for tragedy.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Thank you so much to Candlewick Press for kindly sending an ARC of Echo After Echo my way!
Holy heck, you guys. I LOVED this book. The premise had me at the words “New York stage” and the promise of an f/f relationship, but I was honestly blindsided by how much I enjoyed reading Echo After Echo. This story ticks all the boxes for me: a Broadway theatre setting, a swoonworthy f/f romance, an intriguing mystery, and absolutely stunning prose.
The book follows our protagonist, Zara, after she gets her dream role in a Greek tragedy she’s adored and had memorized since childhood. She’s trying to navigate moving to a new city on her own, making her Broadway debut, a creepy director, and the fact that she’s falling for the show’s light technician, Eli. Oh, and there’s a series of suspicious deaths happening at the Aurelia Theater. This lent Echo After Echo a bit of an older tone; I would classify it as somewhat of a cross between Young Adult and New Adult. I loved how real and true-to-life Zara felt. She’s just trying to piece together all these disparate parts of her life and to play the role of Echo as perfectly as she possibly can. Her dedication to her craft was so much fun to read about.
In fact, in a lot of ways, Echo After Echo felt in large part like a love letter to the theater world. You can just tell the author has been a part of this world by the way she describes certain feelings Zara gets when she’s rehearsing, or stepping onto the theater’s stage for the first time. That being said, the story also didn’t shy away from the uglier parts of theater. It presented this craft in such a realistic, approachable way. Zara’s role in Echo and Ariston comprises a huge part of this story. The theatre isn’t simply the setting, but rather, it’s at the very heart of the novel. I also liked how oftentimes, the characters’ real lives mirrored the general plot and themes of Echo and Ariston. I also enjoyed reading about the different costumes, sets, props, staging, and especially the lighting cues designed by Zara’s love interest.
Which, of course, brings us to the romance. I adored Zara and Eli together. Capetta’s heartbreakingly beautiful prose not only brought the theatre to life, but also made their romance feel so… right. The author captured the general feeling of falling and being in love so perfectly. But, at the same time, the romance never felt grandiose or over-the-top. It was quiet, and it was lovely. Echo After Echo has definitely earned a place on my go-to recommendations list of books that feature f/f romances. In terms of representation, Zara identifies as bisexual, while Eli is a lesbian. (Additionally, while we’re talking about representation, Zara is also Jewish, and Eli is Puerto Rican.)
I thought the mystery elements were well-done, as well. I figured out who was behind the murders about a third of the way through the book, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story at all. In general, until the end of the book, the mystery plot was not at the forefront of the book. In fact, it was kind of brilliant, the way these deaths just lingered in the background of the story, subtly building the reader’s suspense while the characters went about their daily routines at the theater. I was SO nervous that the ending would be too abrupt, because I kept turning pages, getting dangerously close to the end, and things weren’t resolved yet. However, I think the ending of this book was PERFECT for the story. So fitting. I ended up loving it.
Overall, Echo After Echo immediately jumped onto my list of favorite reads of 2017. If you’re looking for an incredibly well-written romance with an added mystery element, this is the book for you! Seriously, if you’re a sucker for lyrical prose like I am, you have to pick up this one. I would recommend this book to everyone! Add it to your TBR, preorder it, spread the word, and fangirl about it with me!
Have you read Echo After Echo, or do you plan to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!