Upstaged (Tour Post & Review)

Book Title: Upstaged
Author: Robin Easter
Release Date: May 28, 2024
Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I am so excited to be participating in the Upstaged Tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours! If you’re interested in following the rest of the tour, be sure to check out the tour schedule, which I’ve linked to at the bottom of this post.


In a summer of goodbyes and new beginnings, shy Ashton Price hopes to confess to their theater camp crush in this heartfelt middle-grade graphic novel. Perfect for fans of The Tryout and The Girl from the Sea .

This is the last hurrah, the final curtain call. 

Ever since sixth grade, Ashton Price and their best friend and enduring crush, Ivy Santos, have spent their summers together at theater camp. Now it’s their last year before they part ways for high school, and Ash is determined to end it on a high note!

With Ash as stage manager and Ivy the lead in this year’s musical, this summer’s shaping up to be everything the two could have hoped for. Maybe Ash will even work up the courage to ask Ivy out! But between Ivy rehearsing long hours with her colead and Ash throwing themself into an ambitious stage production, will they end up drifting apart instead?

As summer wanes and September looms, Ash and Ivy’s friendship will change forever, one way or another.

My Review + Top Five Reasons to Read:

Upstaged is a fun coming-of-age middle grade graphic novel about a non-binary kid who attends a theater summer camp with their best friend. Throughout the book, they learn important life lessons that are handled expertly, perfect for a younger audience to read and learn from. The fun and vibrant illustrations really brought the book together, too, and I especially loved the addition of Ash’s sketchbook pages manifesting as their inner dialogue. 

There are plenty of reasons to pick up this heartfelt graphic novel, but here are my top five reasons you should: 

1). Queer Rep: Something I’ve always advocated for in books of all ages is more queer rep, and Upstaged really delivered on that. Not only is the MC non-binary, but several of the side characters are queer, too. Towards the beginning of the book, Ash’s new cabin mates all introduce themselves and add their pronouns after their names, which seems like such a small thing, but is actually huge. Being queer was completely normalized, which we absolutely need to see more of in media, especially in books for younger children. 

2). Theater Camp: As a theater kid myself, I absolutely loved the setting of a theater summer camp. Watching all of the kids rehearsing and building the set to make sure they were ready for their performance really brought me back to my own years in theater, which was so nostalgic. If you’re a theater kid, you’ll adore this book. 

3). Crushes and Young Love: Navigating crushes can be difficult no matter your age, but especially as a young person, and especially when you’re in love with your best friend. Ash has feelings for their best friend, Ivy, but they’re terrified she won’t feel the same way, and that by telling her their feelings, it will ruin their friendship forever. This was a big plot point of the book, and I appreciated the way it was handled. It felt genuine and realistic for a kid of their age.

4). Experiencing Jealousy: Something Ash deals with a lot in Upstaged is jealousy. After being separated into different cabins, Ash and Ivy don’t get to spend as much time together as they thought they would. And when Ivy spends most of her time with her male co-lead Luke, Ash begins to see green. Ash has to learn how to deal with their jealousy and not let it affect them. While it could be frustrating to watch at times, it was a great representation of how it feels to be jealous, especially at that age, and especially when so many things are changing. 

5). Learning to Deal with Change: Speaking of change, one of the biggest themes of Upstaged is learning to deal with change. This was Ash and Ivy’s last year at the summer camp before they moved onto high school, (separate high schools, at that!!), and Ash was having a hard time handling all of that. As someone who also has a difficult time with change, this was something I could relate to well. 

Make sure you pick up your copy of Upstaged! 

Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for the review copy!  

Book Links:



Barnes & Noble:


About the Author:

Robin Easter is a cartoonist and illustrator who graduated from SCAD with a degree in sequential art. They are also a grown-up theater kid, former camp counselor, and walking encyclopedia of random facts. Robin currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with several plants and their dreams of having a dog.

Author Links:



Tour Schedule:\

Check out my last blog post: Top Five Reasons to Read the Magic Paintbrush

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *