Title: As If On Cue
Author: Marisa Kanter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 09/21/21
Genre: YA Contemporary
Edition: ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)
A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore.
Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on.
But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win.
Except Natalie and Reid.
Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…
As If On Cue was my first Marisa Kanter book, and I am an instant fan now. Rachel Lynn Solomon showed me how amazing rivals to lovers could be in Today Tonight Tomorrow, and Marisa picked up the baton to make me fall even more in love with this trope.
Sometimes this book felt like watching a train wreck happen in front of your eyes and knowing that you can’t do anything to stop it, so you watch with a mixture of anxiety and fascination. Natalie could be so absolutely awful, and I loved every second of it. Dramatic characters are my favorite because I love being annoyed by their outbursts, and how they can’t admit they’re wrong, and how they sabotage themselves and everyone around them. It’s so raw and messy which makes it entertaining and realistic.
When I wasn’t anxious, I was laughing at the lovable side characters and heart eyeing the development between Natalie and Reid. There were also real conversations about strained relationships with parents, antisemitism, and how harmful microaggressions can be, so this book had a great balance of fun and serious.
Overall, this was such a delightful read, and it went by so quickly with its snappy banter and Natalie’s inner dialogue, plus because of the format of text messages and flashbacks interspersed throughout. The plot made my theater heart so happy, and I can’t recommend As If On Cue enough if you love passionate teens that don’t have it together but are trying.
Specific things I loved: the clapbacks, Fitz, The Lion King musical, the first kiss, Delia’s bat mitzvah
*Thank you to the publisher for the ARC. All opinions are my own*
Where to Buy
Marisa Kanter is a young adult author, amateur baker, and reality television enthusiast. She is the author of What I Like About You and As If On Cue. Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, her obsession with books led her to New York City, where she worked in the publishing industry to help books find their perfect readers. She currently lives in Los Angeles, writing love stories by day and searching for the perfect slice of pizza by night. Follow her at MarisaKanter.com.