Cover image for Saving Hamlet
Saving Hamlet

Booth, Molly, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
342 pages ; 22 cm
Series Title:
Saving Hamlet
"Fifteen-year-old Emma is acting as stage manager for her school's production of Hamlet when she finds herself transported to the original staging of Hamlet in Shakespearean England"-- Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Book V00005407697 YA FIC BOOTH, M.

On Order



Emma Allen couldn't be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club's production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she's rocking a new haircut that's sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma's promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh--the adorable soccer boy who's cast as the lead--turns out to be a disaster. It's up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.
One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life's latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage's trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.
It's London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma's a boy--even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet , learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out? Praise for Saving Hamlet: "I love, love, love Saving Hamlet. I love its characters--smart, sassy, irreverent--and its gender-bending both in the 21st and 17th centuries. I love its intelligent take on high school theater geeks." -- Jane Yolen, author of The Devil's Arithmetic, Sword of the Rightful King, and Owl Moon

Author Notes

Molly Booth is a total Shakespeare nerd. In high school, she was a stage manager for three different community theatres, which almost killed her. She graduated from Marlboro College and went on to study more Shakespeare (twist!) at University of Massachusetts Boston. Molly is a freelance writer and editor and has been published on,,, and various other websites. She cohosts a Bard-centric podcast, Party Bard, and directs a lovely, hilarious, and fierce group of homeschooled teen Shakespearean actors. Molly lives in Massachusetts, where she spends a lot of time with family and friends, and the rest attending to her queenly cat and loaf-of-bread-shaped dog. You can visit her online (please do!) at

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Sophomore Emma, recently introduced to theater, is excited to learn more as the drama club's assistant stage manager for a production of Hamlet. Her theater-maven best friend Lulu is gunning for the role of Hamlet so what if she's a girl? and Emma has a serious crush on student director Brandon. But then Emma suddenly finds herself running the whole show, she and Lulu have a massive fight, and Brandon actually starts to seem like a piece of work. Worse, the show is a disaster: brevity may be the soul of wit, but Brandon's version is five hours long. Then Emma falls through a trapdoor into seventeenth-century London, behind the scenes of the original Hamlet. As she travels back and forth in time between the two productions, she learns more than she ever thought possible about theater and being herself. Emma is an easy-to-root-for heroine whose struggles will resonate with teens, drama geeks or otherwise, and her forays into Shakespeare's London add insight into gender identity in the theater. A fun, imaginative debut.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans of the Bard will relish this evocative and witty time-travel tale that has student stage manager Emma falling through a trapdoor into Shakespeare's 17th-century Globe Theater, where the high school sophomore is mistaken for a male backstage assistant. Before Emma has a chance to adjust to the language, conventions, and stench of Elizabethan thespians, she is swept into the frenzied preparations for the premiere production of Hamlet, the same play being rehearsed at her school under the questionable leadership of a new student director. Using the trapdoor as a portal between two centuries, Emma begins leading a double life, finding crises, triumphs, and romance in both worlds. First-time author Booth captures the thrills of the theater in two eras while providing an striking portrait of Shakespeare and the Chamberlain's Men through Emma's eyes. Her energetic narrative encapsulates general issues of Elizabethan England (disease, pollution, hygiene) and personal ones confronting Emma in modern times (earning respect from her cast, rebuilding broken friendships, and saving a show from potential disaster). As enlightening as it is enjoyable, this whimsical novel deserves applause of its own. Ages 12-up. Agent: Alexander Slater, Trident Media Group. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-With her short new haircut and black clothes, Emma is ready to put her soccer days behind her and join the ranks of theater geeks as stage manager for her high school's student-directed production of Hamlet. However, when her best friend Lulu loses the lead to inexperienced soccer star Josh, problems begin. Already feeling vulnerable after her parents ground her for kissing a girl, Lulu snaps when Emma starts coaching Josh and then breaks off their friendship. Even worse, Emma discovers that Brandon, her crush, is gay, so her romantic prospects seem doomed. Perspective comes when Emma falls through an onstage trapdoor, traveling back in time to Elizabethan England, where she becomes assistant bookkeeper to Master Wick during a Globe Theatre performance of Hamlet. Seeing Shakespeare himself in action, she learns much about stagecraft and the true meaning of the play, knowledge that helps her salvage her school's and the Globe's productions and clarifies her romantic feelings. The well-paced narrative should have wide appeal for teen thespians. Although the initial premise seems a bit far-fetched, the major characters are well drawn and believable. The added time travel layer allows Booth to provide historical and interpretive information about the play, thereby making Shakespeare's poetry comprehensible. Less savory parts of Elizabethan life are included to help Emma realize that, despite her travails, she belongs in modern times. VERDICT This nicely plotted story with a strong female protagonist deserves a place in most YA collections.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.