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Review: For the Record

For the Record - Charlotte Huang

I snagged a copy of this title from Netgalley when it was available as a 'read it now' title.

Actual rating somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.

I was quite looking forward to this book and jumped at the chance when I saw it was a 'read it now' title on Netgalley. The first part of the book never really grabbed my attention. I struggled to get through the first half of the story. I liked the main character, Chelsea. She was okay. Desperate to get out of a small dull town after an incident had left her ostracised by the other kids in her high school, with one best friend who stood by her, Chelsea had was on an American Idol-eque reality TV show, but voted off. Not all bad though, she found herself with an offer to sing for a favourite band, Melbourne, replacing the female lead who had recently left.

The story starts with Chelsea going on her first US tour with the band. Mildly interesting enough to see how she copes with the dynamic of the already established band-mates and the behind the scenes people. She manages to convince the manager to let her boy crazy BFF Mandy come along to help sell the band merchandise at concert venues. I just did not like the boys in the band. They were privileged snobs who constantly talked down to Chelsea, made fun of the fact she had never heard of certain albums, Patty Smith, something from the Beatles and a few others) and that she didn't have a record player and liked to listen to stuff on her iPod. It was annoying to say the least.

Bus life on tour was interesting enough, but its understandable when Chelsea gets irritated over things like her food being eaten (cause her name wasn't on it) she didn't get pissy about it when the guys got drunk and brought their groupies back on the bus. Yet when she starts hanging out with a guy and he comes along, its a big freaking deal.

It was actually the love triangle in this that held my interest more than the band drama. Chelsea hooks up with famous Hollywood hottie Lucas Rivers in the first part of the book then meets him again later on the tour. Before this happens of course, she starts getting friendlier with one of the band guys, Beckett (the only tolerable, likeable dude in the band) He's fun and easy to talk to. He does get on her case about her taste in music, but other than that, he's pretty decent. But Chelsea discovers Beckett has a sort of girlfriend who comes along on the tour at some point. Driving her back to Lucas Rivers when he shows up again.

It was the who will she end up with that really kept me reading. (It was actually obvious right from the start, at least to me.) However, the drama with Lucas was entertaining. Silly, as they try to get to know each other while dodging paparazzi, Lucas Rivers fangirls, and the pissy attitude of the band guys when Lucas comes along on tour. At the same time Chelsea is still struggling with her feelings for Beckett.

The second half of the novel was a lot more enjoyable than the first, and I liked reading more about how Chelsea found her image and her voice and dealt with all the drama going on. The characters were not particularly brilliant, a lot of them felt rather flat and dull, it was pretty much music and drama that filled this book. At least for me.

I wasn't all that impressed with the storyline with Chelsea's BFF Mandy. From what went to a decent friendship it all went down hill half way through the tour. At least it had a realistic resolution by the end. The end had some decent emotional impact that I found lacking in the first part, and the end was fairly surprising. Quite open ended, which was interesting. There's a conclusion, and a believable one, when heads are pulled out of asses and people finally start dealing with stuff.

I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. It was a fairly quick read and the novel certainly did have its moments. I liked the writing, just not the characters. I would definitely read something by this author again.