When You Get The Chance – Emma Lord | A Book Review

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.

There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

Published: January 2022 | Add on: Goodreads or TheStoryGraph

My Thoughts

As I have often shared, I loved Lord’s debut novel Tweet Cute (it is YA- contemporary perfection and I seriously doubt that I will find anything to top it), but much to my disappointment You Have a Match left me quite, well, disappointed. Therefore I knew that there was about a fifty-fifty chance that I would love (or be disappointed by) When You Get The Chance. Spoiler alert: I fell head of heels in love with this story and all of the characters.

In all honesty, it took me a handful of chapters before I was fully hooked – something that I also remember experiencing with Tweet Cute – but as soon as I began to enjoy myself, I fell in love.

Millie Price is over-the-top: expressive and exuberant; I must admit that initially I was mildly irritated by her, her “Millie-moods” seemed like a bit much and I personally felt unable to relate to that part of her. As the story unfolds, I understood her better and better, and I appreciated that way that she pursued personal growth, and emotional stability, as Georgie encouraged her.

Millie’s love of musicals and soundtracks made me so happy; I absolutely loved reading about a character who loves musicals as much as I do. Her persistence in reaching her goals was admirable, once Millie committed to something she threw herself fully into doing it well. Capable and hardworking YA characters seem somewhat rare to me, and I certainly didn’t expect to find one in Millie, but despite her somewhat misguided reasoning as to why she wanted the internship with Georgie, there is no denying that she was successful – I’ll stop this train of thought here, before I spoil too much.

“I don’t hate you, Millie,” Oliver exclaims, throwing up his hands in a very un-Oliver-like gesture. It appears that after all these years, I’ve finally found his last nerve. If it weren’t so insulting, it’s be kind of fun to watch. “I’m just exhausted by you.”

It took me a bit before I actually liked Oliver, but as soon as I liked him, I loved him – as a character. Oliver is funny and sweet. He challenges Millie and pushes her to be a stronger person. Oliver and Millie perfectly complement each other, and their conversations were the single best feature of When You Get The Chance. In the end my only real complaint about Oliver is simple: where in the world is his POV? and why did Lord rob us of the chance to know him from the first person?

Moving on (partially) from characters to Mamma Mia!! When You Get The Chance was teased as a gender-bent re-telling of Mamma Mia, and it was, but it was also a love letter to Mamma Mia, the musical and movies. As someone who was completely obsessed with Mamma Mia and ABBA over the spring/summer of last year – I miss my ABBA-high, sunshine and warm weather so very much right now – the presence of Mamma Mia references and themes made me smile. Lord perfectly paid homage to the fun of the movies/musical while acknowledging that Millie could have simply discussed who her mom was with her dad, rather than chasing three women all over the city in hopes of finding out who it was.

As far as said chase was depicted, unsurprisingly it was wonderful and full of twists and turns. I honestly had no idea who Millie’s mom was until right before Lord revealed to Millie who it was. All five of the women who eventually – or always, in the case of Heather – played varying roles in Millie’s life were interesting and lovable.

“When I sweep my eyes to the corner of the room, there he is, beaming that close-lipped, bright-eyed Dad beam so familiar to me that for a moment I am knocked back in time – back to when I was a little kid, and when my dad picked me up from kindergarten I’d be so overcome realizing how much I missed him that I’d burst into tears.”

Teddy and Millie’s dad were simply wonderful. I absolutely loved Millie’s friendship with Teddy, and her relationship with her dad was quite special. Cooper Price is somehow a very average and unique-feeling character; his love for Millie was beautiful and I so appreciated the way that Lord portrayed Cooper and Millie’s bond. It is so hard to find male characters who would choose to raise their children alone and to do so in such a touchingly lovely way.

Due to the fact that my unfinished schoolwork is yelling at me to stop, I must bring this review to a close. In conclusion, I loved When You Get The Chance and I am eagerly anticipating re-reading it, but I really wish that (a) Oliver had his own POV and (b) the beginning wasn’t quite so slow.

* Overall, very clean YA | f/f relationship featured

Have you read any of Emma Lord’s books? If so which is your favorite and which is your least favorite? And, now for the most important question: How do you feel about Mamma Mia?

4 thoughts on “When You Get The Chance – Emma Lord | A Book Review”

  1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this one Esmeralda!! I read it as soon as it came out and like you, I fell head over heels in love 😍 And this reminds me—I really need to watch/listen to Mamma Mia as soon as possible!

    Great review!! And I love the new aesthetic ❤️


  2. aah i LOVE THIS REVIEW!! i’m currently listening to the audiobook version, AND AM LOVING IT SO FAR and all that you’ve said about it is making me even more excited to read further!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE AMAZING REVIEW and i’m so glad you enjoyed this book so much!


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