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. Not her drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not her “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm. 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 mom.
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?
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord is the story about Millie Price’s own Mamma Mia-inspired journey. It is a journey that sets her on a path toward her ultimate goal and develops in unexpected and sometimes surprising ways.
What I Enjoyed:
The first, middle and last thing I enjoyed about this story is the main character, Millie Price. She did not win me over right away, but I was hooked once she charmed me like she does everyone else in her life. She is an unusually confident teen who is on top of the world. She excels at her passion and has even landed a spot in a prestigious performing arts boarding school for her senior year. But there’s only one problem – her father said no. She is a determined young woman who would never let a simple no deter her from her dreams. But, it wasn’t until the cracks started showing in her armor that I began to adore this seemingly precocious teen. She is so much more than she presents to the world, and her journey to find her birth mom made me well up with emotion.
I loved that Millie isn’t your typical quirky and awkward teen, even though I do love those types of YA main characters. But Millie is a surprise and a refreshing look at a different kind of character that ultimately endears like her awkward and quirky counterparts. She is a force of nature but with flaws that eventually touched me in unexpected ways.
I also was more than willing to take a leap of faith and accept that the girl who wanted to star in a high school stage adaptation of Mamma Mia found herself in a similar plot as the movie, just at a different stage in her life. She never knew her birth mom. Having been left on her dad’s doorstep as a baby, she was raised by her father and Aunt. But when she unwittingly finds clues about her mother’s identity, she forms a plan that ultimately shapes her life and all those around her.
And, the ever-present mystery-lover that I am, enjoyed the puzzle of which woman is Millie’s birth mom. To be completely honest, I figured it out halfway, though, but that did not deter from the enjoyment of the big reveal at all. And I was moved to my very core by how it all came out.
Even though I’ve talked extensively about Millie, the main character, there are always many support characters of note:
Oliver is Millie’s rival in the drama department. Still, you can cut the romantic tension between the two of them with a knife. He is every bit as determined as she is, and the two together provide many of the story’s laughs.
Millie’s three potential moms – Beth, Farrah, and Steph each bring their own individual charm to the story as they reflect pieces of an adult version of Millie.
And, lastly, Millie’s dad and Aunt who provide the most heartwarming aspects of the story, especially, I think, to adult readers who can understand their plight as only another parent can.
Reminds Me Of:
Mamma Mia, of course! But with three possible mothers instead of fathers
What I Wish:
I would have loved to read more about Millie’s relationships with her aunt and dad as she grew up. They are such important figures in the story, but the details aren’t explored very much.
To Read or Not to Read:
Quite simply, I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a story that is sure to put a smile on their face.