Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Audience: 11-14

How I Got This Book: Personal purchase

cut the lightsAbout The Book:

Briar has a vision for the one-act play she’s been chosen to direct at her performing arts high school. She’s going to create a masterpiece. If only everyone involved in the production shared her vision. Her leading lady is gifted but troubled, her leading man has a crush on the leading lady, her stage manager doesn’t have a clue, and her best friend, who wrote the play, is worried that Briar’s production is cursed. As Briar struggles to motivate her cast and crew, she learns some important truths about the fine art of directing–and about herself.

My Review:

This fall, I attended a Young Voices Conference for teen writers and artists. One of the presenters was Karen Krossing, who taught a workshop on Character Development. I really enjoyed her advice and handouts (I still have them!) so when I saw Cut The Lights at the bookstore, I had to purchase it.

At the time of the Character Development workshop, I had not read any of Ms. Krossing’s novels so I could not fully appreciate her mastering of the topic. I connected with the main character, Briar, from the start. She is clever, fun and ambitious! Briar isn’t the daughter of a billionaire or a spy or a fairy princess; she is an aspiring teen theatre director with a really cool goal. I like reading about teens or kids with ambitions and I thought that directing a short play sounded very interesting and unique.

The setting and description in Cut The Lights wasn’t anything special. I wish the descriptions were more detailed and vivid. Though, I did enjoy reading the “intros” at the start of each scene (ex. Briar’s kitchen on Sunday morning. Dad is reading the newspaper with coffee in hand. Mom is flipping pancakes.) 

This book is for 11 to 14 year olds but it is very short at just 128 pages. I would have loved to spend more time with Briar and the cast of characters (*pun intended). I liked this story; I liked the plot twists, and I really liked the dynamics between the characters.

Overall? I really, really enjoyed this book so I am going to rate it 4/5 Stars! I thought the characters were great, the concept was fresh and the writing was top-notch. Sure to delight young performers of all kinds (actors, musicians, dancers)! I also picked up another book in this middle grade performing arts series from Orca Limelights. It is called Totally Unrelated and it is written by Tom Ryan. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on this book in the coming weeks.

karen krossingAbout The Author:

Karen Krossing is addicted to stories. She began to create stories when she was eight, and she continued this habit by writing poetry in high school. By then she was hooked on books, so she studied English at university then became a book editor and a copywriter. Today, Karen writes novels and short stories for children and teens. She also encourages new writers through workshops for kids, teens and adults. Karen lives with her family in Toronto, Canada. For more about Karen, visit

4 Comments on Cut The Lights by Karen Krossing

  1. MissBookish
    February 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm (3 years ago)

    I greatly admire Karen’s work. She is a gifted writer. I also read The Yo-Yo Prophet by her as well which perhaps you will be interested in.

    • Sam
      February 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm (3 years ago)

      I will have to look it up!

  2. Karen Krossing
    March 10, 2014 at 12:10 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the honest review, Sam. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, and the character development workshop!

    • Sam
      March 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Ms. Krossing. Your workshop was amazing! (I still use the handouts).


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