contemporary · review · young adult

Songs About A Girl – Chris Russell

“This, my friend, could be the beginning of something epic…”

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Blurb: “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…”

Songs About A Girl is a book that just happened upon when scouring the shelves at my local library. When I saw it was all about boybands, I knew it was something that would appeal to the teen in me and… let’s be honest, me currently. It’s just an aspect of life that is so intoxicating and easy to relate to.

Charlie Bloom is a brilliant protagonist but not without her tropes: she’s really into photography, just trying to keep her head down and, of course, doesn’t understand why everyone seems to be so obsessed with this boyband called Fire & Lights. Enter best friend Melissa to keep her up to speed. If there was any character I saw bits of myself in through this story it was definitely Melissa: she’s excitable, over the top, obsessed with boybands and knows every tiny detail, wants to marry them, almost pees in excitement at the mere thought of meeting them. Trust me, I’ve been there. She just had this energy the whole way through the plot and she really did steal all of the attention when she was on the page.

I thought it was clever to have the boyband within reach. One of the members used to go to the same high school as Charlie so when he initially reaches out to her to do photography work for the band it didn’t feel that far-fetched. I know it’s fiction but it had that element that just made it believable. Also Chris Russell is in a band himself so I feel that added an extra bit of authenticity to band life.

I loved each of the bandmates and they were fully fleshed out in their own rights and the backstory of Gabriel proved far more interesting than I expected it to be.

There are often discussions about the lack of technology within YA books and for me this is where Songs About A Girl excels. The use of social media plays a big role in not just the story, but the overall daily lives of the characters with excerpts from the number one fan site and, unfortunately there’s a lot of online bullying which is all too common in real life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole book and was really pleased to discover that it’s actually the first in a trilogy! However, at just short of 500 pages, it felt longer than it needed to be, though I’m not sure what could have been cut.

A fun read about loving music unconditionally and grabbing opportunities when they come around, Songs About A Girl is such to light up your world.

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