Songs About a Girl & Songs About Us (Songs About a Girl #1&2)
by Chris Russell
Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
Release Date - July 28th 2016 & July 13th 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.
Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...
Two months on from the explosive finale to book one, Charlie's life is almost back to normal again: rebuilding her relationship with her father, hanging out with best mate Melissa, and worrying about GCSEs. All the while, Gabe's revelations about her mother are never far from her mind. And neither is Gabe.
It's not long before Charlie is pulled back into the world of Fire&Lights - but the band seem different this time. But then again, so is she...
Meanwhile, tensions between Gabe and Olly continue to run high, leading to more turmoil between the band members and press than ever before. But when Gabriel and Charlie stumble upon yet another startling truth that links them together - everything they have stands to implode in front of them.
"Well butter my face and call me crumpet!" - that is what I think of Songs About a Girl series. If you familiar that saying you'll know it comes from the bonkers, gorgeous and hilarious Melissa, Charlie's best friend. This is one rockin' series and I loved it!
Songs About a Girl starts off with Charlie, a girl that likes to be invisible and loves to do photography, she never dreamed that the most popular band in the world, Fire and Lights would put her in the spotlight. Olly, one of the band members used to go her school, he went on Make or Break - basically the X-Factor, then wound up with Yuki, Aiden and Gabe to live his dream as a signer and guitarist. It's not until Charlie receives an email from him, to ask to do some photography from a groupie stand point that her life suddenly changes. She didn't realise how being roped into something so glamourous could turn something so ugly. How being caught between the smoldering, and bad boy Gabe and the the thoughtful gentleman Olly could be exhausting and emotional.
It doesn't stop there, Songs About Us, follows on, with much more mystery, that links Charlie more intimately with one member of the group. There are secrets that bind them together yet it's ugly affairs threaten once again the bands reputation and relationship to be released to the public. Being 'with the band' can be amazing on the outside, but beneath it all, on the inside you can really see how backstage bickering can tear it apart and Charlie at the center of it.
I loved all the characters especially Melissa who I mentioned in the beginning. She is just the bomb, completely nuts mind you, Mel really reminds me of a young Penny from the Big Bang Theory. Melissa really lens perspective on the band but also to Charlie, being her best friend. She isn't perfect, and the beauty of her. Oh and the band, Yuki, Aiden, Olly and frontman Gabriel, if I'm honest I really loved Yuki and Aiden especially in book 2, but each them really valued Charlie even when sometimes she felt she wasn't welcomed. She became such good friends with them all and she knew she could get to the heart of them and really see them for who they really are.
Chris's writing is completely addictive, it's unputadownable. It was his take on a romance, I mean there is very few male authors that write a typical YA romance. But I think the boy band aspect really took off. Obviously Chris being in a band of his own Light Years has made this book, looking on the inside of what it can be like for them. I was certainly intrigued as to whether this really does happen in the music industry. Whilst we followed the boy band through Charlie's adventures what I felt was that their is a fragility, a vulnerability to them. We see them as huge musicians, rocking that industry, we see the blood, sweat and tears in their songs, we see them as a band and not individuals and Chris really captured that through Charlie and through the honesty of her lens. All Yuki, Aiden, Olly and Gabe really want is to be normal too.
However, I felt there was so much more to this book than 'being with the band', it highlighted so many key issues in teenage life, including Charlie's relationship with her father and how strained it's become since her mum died. How Charlie's life can turn upside down from a single post on a blog and being constantly stalked and trolled online. Also that being an instigator to main school bully. Throughout the two books, Chris really explores this as well as how Charlie has grown and changed as a character.
Songs About a Girl Series is more than being part of a band, it has everything you need in a novel, family, friendship, love, romance, music, truth, lies, and even a slice of mystery as well. Oh and so many laughs, I loved every second of it, and I need more. I recommend it for those who loved the DIMILY series Can't wait for the release of Songs About a Boy next Summer of 2018.
Songs About a Girl - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Songs About Us - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Thank you to Hodder Children's Books and Team BKMRK for the review copies in exchange for an honest review.