Author: Emma Lord
Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream of becoming a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super introverted dad, who raised Millie alone since she was a baby or her drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. Millie needs an ally. And when an accidentally left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do – find her mum. But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
This is a ‘Mama Mia’ YA retelling, which wasn’t initially on my radar. But, being a fan of young adult contemporary and the Mama Mia movies I knew that I had to give it a read. Predictably, the plot revolves around our main character, Millie, who sets out to find her mom. However, I found Millie’s mom journey was coming from a place of selfishness. Millie is a Broadway star hopeful, who has been accepted to a fancy performing arts school. Her devoted single dad was less than thrilled about the idea of his teenager daughter leaving home to attend some school. The only reason Millie wanted to find her mom was to get a parent’s approval to attend the school. If that isn’t narcissistic, I don’t know what is. I guess it’s true what they say – it’s easier to ask forgiveness, than to get permission.
Although, I didn’t like Millie’s actions for most of the book, I understood that she was a just a teenager. From experience, I know that teenagers never listen to reason. Also, her father might have been a little quick to say no, and didn’t want to listen to what his daughter wanted. He reminded me a bit of my mother, because she would never go for me leaving home as a teen.
Millie was raised by not only her dad, but her aunt as well. However, I didn’t feel a strong family bond within the book. Sure, they talked about how close they all were, but we didn’t get to see much of the family relationships. I think the main issue that Millie had with her family, which could be another underlying reason for searching for her mother, was her dad and aunt’s inability to tell her anything about her mom. I understand that it was a hard subject, but there comes a time when you have to talk about the hard things. Millie deserved to know who her mother was.
Personally, I figured out who her bio-mom was about halfway though the book. However, it is a contemporary, so authors don’t typically make it hard to figure things out. The romance was an enemies-to-lovers, but I didn’t care for it all too much. I didn’t see the two having a real connection, but it didn’t hinder the story in anyway. There was a very cute side romance that I loved, which did make me enjoy the book a lot more.
“Two performers who know each other’s overblown, ridiculous hearts all too well.”
There were tons of pop culture references throughout the book, which a lot of people might not care for. However, I thought they were great. The book talked about Live Journal; oh the memories that brings back. Also Disney+, Spiderman, Stacy’s Mom, and so much. Millie was even a child internet star, which was a slightly weird addition to the plot, but very relevant in today’s world.
I did like all the potential moms, and understood why her dad fell for each of them. He was an introvert, and they all brought out different sides of him. You could see any one of them being Millie’s mom. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how someone could abandon their child. For me, that child would instantly be a part of my heart. But, I can see how that isn’t the case for everyone.
My opinions on abandonment aside, Millie’s mother wasn’t a villain for leaving her. She had her reasons, and whether one agrees with them or not, we shouldn’t judge anyone for their choices. The book’s message was to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t, or what we want. The ending was my absolute favorite part, because it was very cute.
Overall, the book was a decent read, but not my favorite. It wouldn’t be the first book I recommend to people looking for a YA contemporary to read. I would have liked to see a gender-bent version of Mama Mia, where a son is looking for his biological mom. Hopefully we will get a story like that in the future. Let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments. And do follow my blog, because it would definitely make my day.
Until The Next Chapter,