In Echo After Echo, Zara’s dream is coming true. She’s only a junior in high school, yet she is cast in her dream role, playing Echo in the Greek Tragedy, Echo & Ariston, on Broadway at the infamous Aurelia theater being directed by the notorious Leopold Henneman. When she gets to New York, her first stop is the theater. She’s so excited to get started she doesn’t even go by her new apartment. It’s weird that the back door to the theater is open but she goes in anyway. The Aurelia is deserted. Except for the dead man in the orchestra pit. It’s the lighting director. The police rule it an accident but the people of the theater know better. The Aurelia is cursed and when death comes, it comes in threes. An inauspicious beginning to Zara’s dream.
Things don’t get better. Her roommate is also in the show but she lost the role of Echo to Zara. Awkward. A famous teen heartthrob is cast as Ariston but he’s not very good. Leopold is this mad genius who collapses in fits of visions, calls her at 2AM to share his thoughts, and forces her into uncomfortable scenarios to help her improve her acting. He is downright threatening (I couldn’t help comparing Leopold’s actions to the current controversy involving Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment in the entertainment business). The only bright spot is Eli. She was the lighting director’s assistant but now that he is dead, Eli is the new lighting director. Aside from Zara, Eli is the only one who does not believe his death was an accident. Eli and Zara begin spending time together and it doesn’t take long for them to fall in love with each other. And it’s not long after that Zara is warned by another actress in the production to not fall in love. That actress ends up dead. Zara is afraid she could be next.
This was such a cool read. The fact that it took place out of a high school and in a Broadway theater surrounded by adults and professional actors gave the story more of an adult than a YA vibe. The mystery is interesting, the love story is realistic and well done, the high-pressure atmosphere of the theater is intense, and the writing is gorgeous. Echo after Echo is atypical for a YA story set in the world of theater and will appeal to those looking for a queer romance, a good mystery, or a well-written, thought-provoking read. Not to mention those who won’t be able to resist this gorgeous cover!