Hi Everyone, Welcome to my first SST post! Yes I've been a member of the Sunday Street Team for half a year and this is my first post. *shakes head in shame* Sorry Nori. But Nori who is part of the reading club and signed up the minute she created it. She is such a brilliant blogger and to orgainse this. So the author of this month is Charlotte Huang, and her debut novel For the Record. I adored it. It got me out of my reading funk even more too. So before I share with you my review and the giveaway, here is a little more about the book.
For the Record
by Charlotte Huang
Publisher - Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date - November 10th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
If Almost Famous were a YA novel... a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like... until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
For the Record is an incredibly debut from Huang. You seriously do not get enough books about bands, singers or even that of a rock band. I mean c'mon when was the last time you read one. I love when I go into a book that I have no clue about or even any expectations because then you don't feel obligated to have an opinion of the book before you start. I remember reading the blurb for this in the email and I knew I would love it, but up until the point I started the book I didn't have an inkling since then. I know I've read a few review after I read the book and it does have some very mixed ones, so I'd like to stipulate that this book may not be for everyone... However it was for me.
It's starts off with a girl named Chelsea, she's just your average, high school girl who wants to get her GED. Something incredible happened to her, she auditioned to go onto America Popstar, the American version to X Factor if you didn't know. She didn't win, but she gave it her best try and it rewarded her with being the lead singer in her favourite band, Melbourne. The only let down is, she may be the singer but she is replacing someone that meant a great deal to the band members. Each of them are having a hard time that Hollis (ex singer) was gone and even harder to accept Chelsea. Whilst they're on tour, she gets involved with actor Lucas Rivers, which put Melbourne on a whole new scale. But it's unwanted for a lot people especially for Beckett the bassist, when they both get rather close to each other.
Chelsea, has been through a lot at high school. She's not really fussed that nobody knows about the tour apart from her only and best friend, Mandy. She's the one who has stuck by her throughout the years of freshmen. She doesn't want to leave her behind, so Mandy tags along and even helps out in the running of the tour. I guess what you could say is that Chelsea is quite alone and she's happy with that but finds it hard to really latch onto to something. So when this opportunity of lifetime appears she desparate not to let it go. Chelsea is sort of a strange character to be honest, now as I write this I find it hard to grab anything about her, which I guess is where the character development lacks, but that doesn't bother me. I overlooked that aspect completely. But it speaks volumes about how the rest of the book really made up for it in comparison.
The thing that lets her down the most is Lucas Rivers, as the band like to call him, he is a d-bag. Chelsea could do way better, like Beckett. But this actor is just a tool through and through, whilst I was trying to get along with him, I knew from the beginning when and where both of mine and Chelsea's heart belong. However this stupid rule of no relationships in the band let the side down but also intrigued me. It sort of engnited the fire more between the two of them. The romance wasn't the main thing of the novel either, it was a wonderful and fulfilling aspect but I found it was the band itself that took centre stage. You have a wide range of secondary characters as you would get in a band. I loved Dave the coach driver, and the guys like Pem, Beckett and Malcolm, each of them added a layer to the background of the story and you would really miss them If they weren't there. Despite it being flawed from the beginning with Chelsea as the lead vocalist, it for me was about the growth as a team and the respects for one another that grew between the characters. Under all that rock manship, eyeliner and clothing, they each rocked the hell out of each state either as themselves or as Melbourne.
This story is a lot about the journey of band, a journey of friendships and a journey of growing together as a band and as individuals. Huang really showed off her passion of music through Chelsea's and that of the music too, I can only assume that Melbourne's creation as a group and its songs it certainly down to her. Huang has a talent and an eye from music and it's great to see expressed through various aspects of the novel. What I loved even more was the journey itself on tour, it felt that you were on that tour, state by state they conquered. It's really rather addictive too.
It reminds me of a book group read I read over the summer, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, which is probably the only one I've read that really highlighted the musical genre in YA. It was country music, a whole new musical genre altogether but it was the friendship values, the romance and the general ambiance of the road trip. It just made your feel it. It can also be a perfect summer read, but it brightens up any rainy day, like it did to me.
Rating - 4
Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015)
Don't forget to enter the giveaway below...