Wednesday, 27 July 2016

REVIEW: Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Genre: Music, Romance
Release Date: July 28th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository

When sixteen-year-old aspiring photographer Charlie Bloom receives the invitation of her dreams - to take backstage photos for chart-topping boyband Fire&Lights - it's an offer she can't refuse. Overnight she is launched into a world of bloggers, paparazzi and backstage bickering and soon becomes caught between the dark charms of the band's lead singer and songwriter, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson.

Charlie's growing notoriety makes her a daily target for bitchy bully Aimee Watts and her clique, and though she seeks comfort in her best friend, Melissa, her life spirals ever further out of control.

As her connection with Gabriel deepens, Charlie stumbles upon a spine-tingling truth: all the songs he has written for Fire&Lights' debut album are, impossibly, linked to her and her past. How can this be? What dark secrets has he uncovered? Why is Melissa acting so strangely all the time? And will this rivalry between Gabriel and Olly eventually tear the band apart?
 

My Thoughts:
Boyband lit. I’ve read a few books that fall into this genre before, and honestly? I’ve not really enjoyed them. I often find the plot quite predictable and the band too cliché and cheesy, and I was worried that I’d never find a book that would get me into this genre. But then I read Songs About a Girl, got utterly sucked into the plot, and fell in love with a fictional boyband. 

This story follows Charlie after she gets a Facebook message from Olly Samson, a former pupil at her high school who also happens to be one quarter of the world’s hottest boyband, Fire&Lights. He’s seen some of Charlie’s photography from a gig and invites her to take some backstage pictures of the boys for their fan club’s website. Charlie, however, has approximately zero interest in Fire&Lights, despite everyone in her school being head over heels for them, including her best friend Melissa. Although she originally declines the offer, fearing she’s not a good enough photographer, Melissa accepts the invitation for her and soon Charlie finds herself thrown into the world of Fire&Lights. 

I’m honestly shocked at how much I ended up adoring this fictional band. Olly, Yuki, Aiden, and the mysterious Gabriel make up the four members of Fire&Lights, and they were written beautifully. I adored their fun interactions and their backstage antics, and it made me feel like I was sitting right alongside Charlie, behind the camera, observing every minute of it. You’re not asking me to choose a fave, but I’m going to anyway: YUKI IS EVERYTHING. His personality was perfect and his humour was entertaining throughout the story.   

Although I’d usually find Charlie’s story completely unbelievable, a seemingly average teen being taken under the wings of a world famous boyband, this story is written in a way that makes you believe that it’s completely possible. What was also great was the way Charlie discovered a connection between her own life and Gabriel’s. There’s so much more to the story than you originally think when starting this book. 

Whilst the story is a lot of fun, I was pleasantly surprised to see some darker themes included. When Charlie’s identity is discovered, the hate and abuse she receives from fans are vile and awful to read, and the worst part is that this genuinely happens in real life. I’m glad the book didn’t shy away from the harsh realities of being in the spotlight and dealing with everyone knowing who you are. 

Once I started reading, I honestly couldn’t stop and managed to fly through the book in three days. The pacing was perfect and there was never a dull moment. The dialogue was also spot on, especially Melissa’s fangirling sessions. Any fangirl or fanboy reading this book will smile at Melissa’s reactions to everything! The ending was a fantastic cliff-hanger and definitely has me eager for more – WHEN WILL THE SEQUEL BE IN MY LIFE? I’m much looking forward to reading more about Charlie Bloom and my new favourite fictional band. 

Royal Rating:

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