Ready to sink your teeth into a new YA contemporary? L.S. Mooney is visiting today to celebrate the release of Thoroughly Modern Mirella with an excerpt and a giveaway!
In Thoroughly Modern Mirella, Mirella is a proud theatre nerd. When she lands the lead of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” she thinks she can put her past behind her – especially after the fiasco at the Halloween party and the flirts with the football captain – but it only fuels her desire to change up her life. But when her antics start causing drama on stage, Mirella has to get back into character or risk losing herself.
Thoroughly Modern Mirella is available now.
Read an excerpt of Thoroughly Modern Mirella below, then keep scrolling to enter our giveaway, which includes a signed paperback copy of Thoroughly Modern Mirella and a signed paperback copy of Jenny Adams Perinovic’s A Magic Dark and Bright!
When the last bell rang at the end of the day, I couldn’t wait to get to musical auditions. My excitement was coiled so tightly, it was all I could do not to skip down the hall. Breeze met me at my locker. She was student stage manager, and, although she didn’t need to be at auditions, she was coming along for moral support.
Auditions started with the dance portion. It was a cacophony of metal taps on the stage as Mrs. Ferrano, the computer teacher turned choreographer, tried valiantly to teach the Charleston and a few basic tap steps to students with a minimum of four left feet.
“Spank, brush, toe, heel, spank, brush, toe, heel,” she called out, beating the rhythm out on the edge of the stage with her clipboard.
A veteran of this process, I made it through without too many sweat stains or bruised toenails. However, tap wasn’t my strong suit so I was cursing paradiddles and Mrs. Ferrano by the end.
Then it was time to sing.
I watched our director, Mr. Kander, shuffling about in the pit, giving last-minute instructions to Mr. Riles, the accompanist. Backstage with me, Lakey Williams, all brass and confidence in the halls, paced a dull spot on the same three foot patch of floor while Virginia Parker looked slightly green, like she might puke into her purse at any moment.
And they weren’t the only ones. The anxiety ran off everyone in rivulets like sweat after a dress rehearsal under the stage lights. But I only had the tiniest of knots in my stomach, and even that would be gone by the time it was my turn. My skin wasn’t clammy, my knees weren’t knocking together in a typical manifestation of worry. I was excited.
I was already in character, already Millie. I’d shed my insecurities like a snake sheds dead skin, because Millie wouldn’t care. I knew Millie, and she was confident and awesome. And that was who I’d be on stage. I’d already given this character a dry run in Chemistry, and it was solid. Bulletproof. Sophie hadn’t been able to deflate me as Millie, no one here would either.
At last it was my turn. I strode sassily into the spotlight and called “hit it!” to Mr. Riles. There were a few laughs, I heard Breeze’s among them. I smiled; Millie was a smashing success already.
The audition piece was the opening number I had been rehearsing so much I was probably singing it in my sleep. The piano started, and I opened my mouth. I felt the odd yet familiar prickling just under my skin, like static electricity under a polyester skirt, as I transformed more fully into Millie with every word I sang and with every note I hit.
I’d perfected this duality of stage existence two years ago when I’d played Fifi, the sleazy dancer in Tied to the Tracks as a sophomore. When you have to lounge around in fishnets and a bustier, you learn to separate stage flirtatiousness from your shyness of everyday or live in a constant state of near panic attack.
And this skill had come in handy not only this morning in Chemistry, but last year when I played Babette the feather duster in Beauty and the Beast. Flirting with Pyotr Willis, a beefy boy in the grad below me, was too much for anxiety-plagued Mirella Danville, but Babette was made for it.
I once tried explaining it to Mr. Kander. He called it “Freedom Through Discipline,” but that sounded a little too Zen for my taste. I just called it being in character.
The essence of Millie poured out of me as I sang, liquid music and personality that drenched every inch of me. It was almost like being underwater but not drowning. I finished strong with a little stamp of my foot on the last note. “So beat the drums cause here comes thoroughly modern Millie now!”
I closed my eyes, exhausted but happy. I nodded my thanks to the accompanist but didn’t take a bow even though there was clapping bouncing around the aud. Bowing breaks character. And I was thoroughly Millie now.
Fill out the form below to enter to win a copy of Thoroughly Modern Mirella by L.S. Mooney, a letterpress bookmark, and a copy of A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic. Giveaway prizes donated by L.S. Mooney. Open to entrants in the U.S. only. Void where prohibited.