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My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies [Kindle Edition]

Allen Zadoff
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Editorial Reviews


"Zadoff captures the confusion, torn loyalties, and overwrought drama of teenage life--not to mention student theater. All the world's a stage, indeed, and these players earn their applause." --Publishers Weekly

"A character study that's equally parts witty, informative, insightful, and painfully realistic...Z's passion for theatre rings true." --The Horn Book

"Once again Zadoff makes geek chic." --Galleysmith

About the Author

Allen Zadoff's debut YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, was the recipient of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and has been optioned for a feature film. His memoir for adults is HUNGRY:Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin. He is currently at work on his next novel for Egmont-USA.

Product Details

  • File Size: 357 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (May 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WJUW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,447 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Adam Ziegler is a sophomore at Montclair High who has immersed himself in the technical side of theater since his artist father was killed in an accident two years ago. This semester, spring of his sophomore year, he is a lighting technician for the school production of "Midsummer Night's Dream," as redesigned by fellow student Derek Dunkirk.

During a break, Adam sees one of the bit actresses, Summer, dancing in the hall and finds himself attracted to her. This violates one of the Montclair drama students' cardinal rules: Techies and actors don't mix. This sticky situation is made even worse by the fact that the actress who had been given the lead part leaves the play -- three days before opening -- and Summer ends up the replacement.

The play does go on, but there is a major problem shortly after the play starts. Read on and see who saves the play -- and who really loves Adam.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fun, but not as much as his first book June 14, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought this was a cute book. Quiet, interesting, and a good coming of age story. Nothing really new here, though. And it wasn't funny like Zadoff's first novel, which was a bit disappointing. I think I had really high expectations regarding the humor, though, so I felt the lack of it much more than if I'd read this book first. Newcomers to Zadoff's work may not feel the same way.

I got frustrated with Adam for letting everyone walk all over him, even though it was clear why he was withdrawing into himself. I think that, since this is a concept often used, and the way it's used here isn't really unique, I lost patience with it a little too soon. That's not to say Adam isn't an interesting character. He is. The reasoning in his head as he tries to figure out Derek was fantastic. I think that's exactly how a teenager thinks, and his reactions to the complexities of high school are wonderfully realistic.

The ending was a little over-the-top-tear-jerker for my taste, and the bow wrapping everything up was a bit too perfect. The story was still solid and enjoyable, but it didn't have that polished feel, where everything is connected from beginning to end. Again, I think I had such high expectations from his previous book that I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have. But I can see teens galore loving this story, boys and girls alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High school drama (both literal and figurative) August 1, 2011
Theater geek Adam Ziegler lives and breathes lighting design in his high school theater, which is large enough to have a catwalk for the lights, and filled with back-biting and intrigue between the actors and the techies. Lots of clever, snarky comments (the kind of one-up retorts I could never think of when I was in high school myself) and a teacher with a lax sense of boundaries, who shares his feeling of failure with the students and then basically abandons ship. On a serious note, Adam is dealing with frequent nightmares and he tries to work through his father's death in a car accident. A good mix of repartee and romance, with a side of seriousness. Pretty heavy on the "insider" theater talk and probably will be enjoyed most by those already a part of the high school show crowd.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fresnel fever August 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This backstage novel uses some conventional YA riffs to tell a story about a teenager in love with the theater -- particularly in lighting design -- who must prevail over depression (the result of his father's death), his mother's grief, high school cliques and love. The novel has something of a cardboard bad guy, and the line between techie and cast member is a little too neat -- certainly not my experience in high school. Zadoff's prose is serviceable, and the main character feels genuine pain. Also, I liked the chapter heading references to Shakespeare (it's four days to a potentially disastrous production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream").
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of the tragedies is this book... July 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I read the summary for this book, I thought it would be interesting. I like theater. I like young adult novels. The title and cover looked good. What could go wrong?

This book is a case where the summary, title and cover are far more interesting than what's inside. Basically, Adam, a high school sophomore, is dealing with his dad's death and new love while working on a school show. I found the narrator very dull and the story extremely slow-moving with far too much detail about how high school theater works and far too little detail given to the narrator's personality. This just feels like it's climbing on the whole Glee bandwagon. Boring.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice read for teens and adults alike! May 10, 2011
By Scave31
Only darkness was left behind when 15-year-old Adam Ziegler's dad died. In his attempt to dispell the shadows, Adam joined "techies," working the lighting for his school's drama department. He finds that he has a real knack for lighting, but with his older brother unavailable and with Adam's attempts not to further upset his mom, he finds himself unable to fully enjoy his life again.

But when a new girl arrives at school, breaking the "rules" about technies not associating with actors becomes very tempting for Adam. If only he didn't feel like such a loser. If only his best friend wasn't adamantly against breaking the rules. If only he didn't have to let down another friend to pursue the new girl.

I really enjoyed this book and it's realism. Zadoff's teenaged characters seem very realistic. I think teen boys and girls alike will find something to enjoy about this book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this quick read and will definitely be reading...
After seeing Allen Zadoff at the Teen Author Carnival earlier this year, I decided I'd like to read something that Mr. Zadoff wrote. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming Read Featuring an Awkward Teenage Boy
Allen Zadoff remains a contemporary charmer with his second novel for young adults, MY LIFE, THE THEATER, AND OTHER TRAGEDIES. Read more
Published on September 16, 2011 by S. Su
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly fun and sweet look at drama on & offstage!
This YA novel set amongst the actors and techies at a high school production of A Midsummer's Night's Dream in Montclair, NJ is very sweet and quite full of wonder. Read more
Published on August 3, 2011 by Julia Walter
3.0 out of 5 stars My Lie The Theater, And Other Tragedies
My Thoughts: We are introduced to Adam who is in high school. He also lost his father a few years ago and that has taken a big toll on him. He thinks about him constantly. Read more
Published on July 26, 2011 by princess bookie
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good PG Teen Read
Many Glee fans will likely see this book in the spotlight at various Gleerific sites and wonder if they'll like the book? Read more
Published on July 25, 2011 by Bitsy Bling Books
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Read
I think I'm completely in love with Egmont USA. Their 2011 releases are absolutely fantastic and Allen Zadoff's latest is no exception. Read more
Published on July 13, 2011 by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent story burdened by convention
Adam Zeigler's father died about two years ago on the eve of his freshman year of high school setting a new course for his life. Read more
Published on June 28, 2011 by K. Sullivan
3.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Read
My Life, The Theater and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff
Adam Ziegler is a sophomore and one of the theater techies. Read more
Published on June 19, 2011 by DAC
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More About the Author

Allen Zadoff is the author of the thriller series THE UNKNOWN ASSASSIN which debuted to starred reviews and was a 2014 YALSA Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers and a finalist for Best YA Novel in the 2014 International Thriller Awards. .He was born in Boston and went on to live in upstate New York, Manhattan, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. A former stage director, he is a graduate of Cornell University, the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. His novel Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have received the Sid Fleishman Humor Award and was a YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults.
Visit Allen on the web at

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