by Emma Lord
Narrated by Jesse Viinsky
Publication: January 4, 2022
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
When You Get the Chance is a retelling of Mamma Mia about a girl who dreams of one day being on Broadway. When it starts to look as though her dreams might come to a halt, it becomes clear she has to find someone who might side with her. After Millie stumbles upon her dad’s old Livejournal (who else remembers Livejournal and automatically felt old?), she realizes this might be her chance to find the ally she needs, her mom. As the search for her mother begins, Mia also learns life lessons along the way.
I started off reading the book, but I got sick (not because of the book) and listened to the audiobook for the majority of it. It was one of the best choices I made! I smiled and even groaned from secondhand embarrassment once or twice throughout the book as operation “Millie Mia” went into effect. As Millie tried to stealthily figure out who her mother was, I forgot about the search and why Millie was looking for her mom in the first place. I thought this was cleverly done by Lord because this put the focus on what Millie had as opposed to what she is missing. Millie begins to see what has been there all along.
Millie had the potential to be unlikeable because she is overly dramatic, but I liked her because the narrator Jesse Viinsky, was amazing. Millie is passionate and feels things so strongly. A singular focus on her dreams leads her to do everything in her power to secure them, sometimes forgetting to live and appreciate the present. Viinsky successfully relayed Millie’s rollercoaster of emotions. I’m sure I would have been exasperated with Millie had I read it instead of listening to it. The book is entertaining and well-written, but I attribute much of my positive experience to Viinsky’s wonderful narration.
Several supporting characters help round out the story, but I especially enjoyed Millie’s friendship with Teddy and her banter with enemy #1 Oliver. The relationships balanced each other out, showcasing Millie’s many sides. While her life is consumed with becoming a Broadway star, she is also intensely loyal to the people she loves–for the most part. And when she dislikes someone, her disdain is visible.
Oliver and Millie are great together when they’re not antagonizing each other. Millie can be entertaining because she hates Oliver but also repeatedly notes how good-looking he is. Their banter is fun to listen to, and I couldn’t stop the giggling when their relationship status gradually changed. I have no doubt these two have the potential to be a great team if they could just overcome their animosity toward each other. I can imagine them taking Broadway by storm.
I can’t say enough about how fantastic the narration was. Viinsky made the book come alive. I don’t think I would have liked this book as much had I read it rather than listened to it. This is a solid 4 stars from me.