So this book has a few problems that I will get to.
Here’s what it does well: the scenes describing the experience of being on stage are good. The writing, in general, is quite good. The scenes describing the types of activities that happen at theater conservatory are good.
These parts remind me a lot of My Dinner with Andre where Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory meet up and talk about among other things, experimental theater. One of the things that is really neat is casting a performance of a play but not having any group rehearsals so that the actors are reacting in real time with their lines and ideas instead of through scripted material. The effect of this is taking plays and making them feel as immediate and unrehearsed as life. These scenes are good.
So why two stars?
Well, first rule: Don’t reference better books than the one you’re writing. So when you’re talking about Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea now I am thinking of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea the Sea instead of your book. And it’s very very good.
That’s a small one.
Two: Don’t completely rip off better books than yours. This is basically The Secret History by Donna Tartt but not as good. Their murder, their obsession, their depraved behavior is so much more understandable and wonderful and amazing, because it’s tied so clearly to WHAT they’re obsessed with. In this one, it’s facile, at best. And so the level of darkness we’re supposed to believe just doesn’t add up.
Or it’s The Magicians by Lev Grossman, but without the magic. And that book isn’t even so great you should copy it.