Title: The Next Shakespeare
Author: Wanda Ernstberger
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: Ebook; 20
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Nothing of note
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy short stories, or those looking to take a great respite from long books.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Who thought a poem would trigger World War Three?
Tristan Gunner—skateboard fanatic, junk food junkie, award-winning poet. But you’d think he just got detention instead of the school’s grand prize for poetry. And even though Chris won five Math and Science awards, the next Einstein is crying because he’s not the next Shakespeare. Astra wants them both to cut the drama, and caught between a mortified winner and a crybaby loser, she hopes Chris can get over his attitude before World War Three erupts in her kitchen.
As a short story, The Next Shakespeare was a quick and enjoyable read. We meet Tristan, Astra and Chris briefly and get a glimpse into their lives. Just enough of a glimpse to satiate the reader, without too much information. It actually was kind of refreshing. Things get really interesting when Tristan wins an award that Chris has been coveting. What ensues is a sweet, short, and lesson filled story that I really liked.
At it's core this is a story about friendship. Chris is used to winning awards and being praised, so of course he is upset when Tristan takes his coveted award. I actually really disliked Chris as a character, but I see how he fits into the story. It is only by this event happening that Chris really takes a look at himself and reassesses where he's going in life. Right now his parents dictate his choices. Is that what he really wants for himself? Ernstberger manages to fit a very important life lesson about forging your own path into a short story.
The writing is very well done in The Next Shakespeare and, although it might seem a bit rushed, I also thought the ending was just perfect for the situation. Keep in mind that this was written, and published, as a short story. The characters are as vivid as they can be without pages upon pages of explanation into their lives, and I actually think it is perfect that way.
Long story short? I enjoyed this a lot. If you love short stories, or even just need a respite from 400 page books, this is the perfect read for you.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.