Reviews

“Stevens’ stories are better written and more engaging than the popular vampire series.”

“The song parodies were amazing.”

“Stevens tackles tough topics such as bullying and sexual orientation with finesse and without preaching.”

“Read this in one sitting!”

#1 – Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers

Bit Players Cover“What a good read, for adults, too! I loved this book. I could identify with Sadie, the main character. SM Stevens did a great job of making her a realistic character, as well as the other characters in the book. I loved that the characters had flaws, some were smarter and funnier than others. I could easily picture them in our local school. As a young adult book, it was the perfect length, with action, romance and mystery. As an adult book, I could have easily read another 100 pages of the story!

“Stevens’ stories are much better written and are more engaging than the popular vampire series of wishy-washy twilight characters. If you’re in High School or if your kid is, the Bit Players series is the better choice by far.” – Yesteryearhomes on Amazon.com


“A friend gave me Bit Players, Bullies & Righteous Rebels and I didn’t really know what it was all about since I hadn’t read the first one in the series. But I loved it. I did high school theatre and this book took me right back to how that all felt — the friendships, the politics, the thrill of being in a show. It was cool how the book included modern songs but with new lyrics. I really liked the lead character Sadie, in the end. At first I wasn’t sure, but I guess that’s what makes her a good character, that she’s not perfect. And I was totally intrigued wondering who the bully was. All in all, a really fun read!” – newhite on Amazon.com


“The story is wonderful. It’s nice to read a book geared towards young adults that isn’t full of sex and murder. There’s mystery, romance, and theatre! How could you go wrong? I especially loved singing along throughout the book. Wonderful! I would definitely recommend it to young adults.” – Morgan Smith on Amazon.com


“The characters in Bit Players were well developed three-dimensional people I cared more and more about as I read this novel. The teen voices struck just the right chord and the issues all high school juniors and seniors deal with were mentioned but not dwelt upon. This was a fun read, I could not wait to see what happened next. The climax of the story seemed to happen too fast, and was resolved just a little too quickly for me, I wanted more. I will definitely add it to my YA collection.” – YS Librarian on Amazon.com


“The pursuit of fame starts young. Bit Players, Has-Been Actors, and Other Posers is a drama novel based in the high school drama we all have faced at some level or another. Sadie Perkins quests to rise up and gain a bit more of that high school fame, and the struggles to even get the show off the ground during a tumultuous time. Bit Players, Has-Been Actors, and Other Posers is a riveting and much recommended pick for any young adult fiction collection. ” – Midwest Book Review


“I really like this book. The teens are so much like kids at my school that they seem like real friends, and I want to know them even better. Hope the author writes a sequel to Bit Players. I love the theater, especially musicals, and there aren’t many books on that subject. The plot moves fast, and it’s a fun read.” – Maybelle on Amazon.com


“I pre-read this for my tween-age, theater-loving son, primarily to see how age appropriate the adult content was because so many of his friends at school are talking about this book. I don’t normally read fiction but found myself really enjoying it. The characters are juniors and seniors in high school so the content was geared more towards teenagers then pre-teens touching on teen pregnancy, drinking, etc. but this was not a major part of the story. The characters were well developed and there were plot twists and surprises you don’t see coming. I could easily see this becoming a movie. A great read!” – Stiles77 on Amazon.com


“SM Stevens did an excellent job creating the characters and developing the story of a high school drama production. Although I have never watched Glee or Twilight, I was captivated by the writing style and anxiously reading to find out what happened next. It is a fun, easy-reading story with surprising plot twist at the end. I know many of my 8th grade students will love to read this story. I am looking forward to the next “production”!” – PMullen on Amazon.com


(This is an excerpt; for the full review, click here.)

“Theatre lovers brace yourselves; if you love theatre, drama, young adult fiction, or just enjoy a sing or a dance, this is the book for you. Goodness! It’s all got a bit theatrical here at mylittlebookblog….What a story! This book definitely has the reader racing to find out what will happen to this loveable cast of characters. On the front of the book it reads, ‘A must have read for fans of Glee, High School Musical and Twilight.’ I completely agree with this, it has a Glee-like-feel that really sings throughout the entirety of the book. When I first read the premise of this book, I wondered how well theatre could be made into a fiction narrative and was interested to see how well it works; well let me tell you, it works incredibly well here!

“What I loved most about this book is the strong characterisation. Sadie, the main character, has such a strong build up of features that you cannot help but feel drawn to her. I was rooting for her the whole way through, lacking in confidence, but incredibly talented you cannot help but will her to succeed. When the characters are built up so extensively, the plot hangs together so much better and this is definitely proven in this book!

“The supporting characters are just as well described, I loved Foster and imagined him as this incredibly dramatic and theatrical actor, with a passion for playing the lead role, and Nigel, a British exchange student with a rough outside core but a soft centre who, much like Sadie, is addicted to theatre and British old-school punk…

“The book also deals with a number of struggles that teens go through and mixed this in with the relief they feel when performing. This allowed the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of the characters, and also added sub-plots that relieved the reader at times from the use of theatre. This allowed time to step away and discover more about the characters, and then apply this back to the drama club. It is a brilliant way of writing the book as it allows for the weaving of different characters and emotions whilst also further exploring the character profiles!

“In terms of the plot I loved the way that the songs for the play, ‘Twilight the Musical’ were modern songs adapted to the drama that was unfolding on the stage…The writing is also incredibly fluid and at no point does it become stilted but instead it moves with pace pulling the reader along. I also loved the way that author used Sadie’s playwright mindset, to script parts of the book as you would for a theatre production. It added another texture and form to the book ands helped to embed the theatre links with even more gusto. I thought it was a brilliantly clever addition to the book!

“A light-hearted read with some brilliant writing and an exceptional understanding of drama! *Rippling of Applause can be heard*” – mylittlebookblog


#2 – Bit Players, Bullies and Righteous Rebels

BP2 Cover from CS with border“I really enjoyed this novel by S. M. Stevens about a high school drama club.  I was a Theatre ( I like the “uppity” spelling too!) major and have been acting all my life.  I loved that the author captured the sights, sounds, and feel of the theatre.  It is obvious that she has a background here and loves it.

“The characters are interesting and I became invested in them.  The best friends, one changing, is classic and most middle school kids will identify with this.  The resolution for this was handled very well.  It felt real. The teachers competing was a nice touch too.

“But the song parodies…they were amazing.  I worked with a comedy troupe that did song parodies and these were spot on!  I loved that Ms. Stevens recommend that you pull up the original songs on your computer, especially if you are not familiar with the tune, then you can sing along.  They were ‘brilliant’.

“… This was a very well written novel.  I enjoyed it!” – Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award judge


“This is the second book in the Bit Players series, and it is great! Like the first book, it entwines a plot of mystery and romance around the production of an original musical/play. The characters are developed further; they are so real.

“I thought the connection between the bullying in the “real life” of the characters and its portrayal in the musical they were producing was brilliant and very relevant in today’s world. Stevens tackles tough topics such as bullying and sexual orientation with finesse and without preaching to the readers. She presents these topics not only from the point of view of the student, but also the opinions (right or wrong) of teachers, parents and strangers.

“As in the first book, I would have loved to read a longer story. The length and pace of the book is great for a teen audience.

“P.S. – I hope that some day the original musical in this book makes it to our local stage.” – Yesteryearhomes on Amazon.com


“I received this book free from goodreads giveaway. This was so entertaining It reads just like a script, and it includes links to music that goes with the book, read this in one sitting! The story was good the lives of high school students and things they go through. This would be a great book to use a guide for high school theatre teachers, maybe they could use the story and get ideas for their own plays or just let the students read this and have discussions. I think young readers can relate to this story whether they are in theater or not, friends, bully’s, and making it to end of high school, makes for a good story along with the play and music.” – Shannon via goodreads


(This is an excerpt; for the full review, click here.)

“Stevens has done it again and has created the perfect book for teen lovers of musical theatre and show choir. Once again, a book of dance, drama, show business, friendship and musicals! Wow, such a lot packed into one extremely thoughtful book, strung together with well built up characters and a strong message to boot.

“Once again the book has extremely strong characterisation; Sadie as the main character has grown in stature and comes across as a strong and more mature character. I really wanted to see her thrive in the first book, and through this book she has really grown into herself and has become more of character in her own right rather than an unlikely main character. Additionally Alex has grown from a side-character to a main character, and although the story revolves around his potential involvement in the bullying, I couldn’t help but be happy that he has matured and become his own person, and equalled the strength of Sadie as a character.

“Once again the supporting characters are just as well described, especially Foster, who the story revolves most around. By bringing forward a supporting character and revolving the story around them it makes the story feel like an episode in a popular teen show such as a Glee; this add s a modern feel to the story and adds a popular culture edge that will bring in and entertain young adult readers.

“This is further mirrored in the way that the songs for the play are modern songs adapted to the drama that was unfolding on the stage. Once again by imbedding modern songs in the book it adds a modern edge and I was equally impressed that the author could take such a classic book as Wuthering Heights and bring it so up to date.

“I loved the addition of a storyline that looked at the difficulty of bullying. It is in an incredibly important issue in schools, and to tackle it in the book although a tiny bit clichéd really worked here and was dealt with, with maturity and understanding…Brilliant, and definitely worth a read if you love theatre!” – mylittlebookblog


#3 – Bit Players, Bird Girls and Fake Break Ups

Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 8.47.05 AM“I have to say, while Bit Players, Bird Girls and Fake Break-ups is not the kind of book I generally read, Ms. Stevens has written an excellent novella. She expertly weaves her own experiences in the theatre into her tale of high school thespians. She drew me into her story and held me there, which is not easily done. I marveled how she kept the plot moving through all of its manifestations; a soccer championship, a love story, an original satire, a life threatening disease, a surreptitious tryst and a major production. She does it all with verve and professionalism. She obviously knows her subject and makes her book readily accessible in a way that enhances the story line and makes the whole brew not only believable but informative. Her best work is in rendering her main character, Sadie. Stevens captures the impossible twists and turns of a teen age brain. She restructures syntax, develops a new writing structure and captures a burgeoning theatrical mind with its creative offshoots and raging hormones without damaging the story or character. I have to admit my overly mature mind heard echoes of a long passed teen age life. I loved this piece which discovers the true essence of growing up, parenting and those of us who need it, a refresher. Bit Players is truly a remembrance du temps perdu.” – Walter R. Stump, Professor Emeritus in Theatre at the University of Southern Maine


(This is an excerpt; for the full review, click here.)

“Throughout the books I have been more and more drawn into the relationships; Alex and Sadie have continued to grow throughout and the way that the author works with the two, mixing and matching the problems they must go through, it just made me more desperate for them to succeed and to leave the end of the books happy. I must admit the author really goes for it in this book. Like the books before there is a major production but there is also a soccer championship, the continuing love story, and a life threatening disease! Could they really fit anymore in?! I must admit I was shocked the author managed to weave it all together but she does it with not only skill but also a delicate touch.

“I was worried that it would all become a little YA, but instead because of the mature storylines it makes the book much more adult and allows the book to be read by a wider audience. I really enjoyed all the books and will definitely be reading them again. There’s something kind of wonderful about YA fiction and I think if adults also truly enjoy them then it’s a big thumbs up to the author. The writing moves with pace as before and doesn’t bog down in the description.

“Sadie really came to life in a way that I was hoping for. I don’t know how she does it but her interpretation of a growing teenager who is going through so much is wonderfully realised and created with maturity but also naivety. She manages to pair her burgeoning teenage mind with the creative theatre element that comes with being the main character in the book. I loved this piece of work; it is fresh, honest, new and creative. It works because it feels so real even though there is so much content. Once again hats off and jazz hands to this wonderful author.” – mylittlebookblog

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