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Songs About A Girl by Chris Russell - Review

Monday, July 4, 2016

Where did I get it? I got it on NetGalley so thank you to Hodder's Children's Books. I saw some chatter about it on Twitter and requested it. 

What's it about? Charlie Bloom is an amateur photographer in the last year of school. Fire&Lights are the biggest boy band in the country right now, and one of them, Olly, used to go to Charlie's school. He gets in touch with her and asks her to take some photos of the band backstage. She does, sneaking out from home. She lives with her dad solely since her mum died when Charlie was small. 
She meets the boys and gets on well with them, especially Olly, and the mysterious Gabe. She's invited to more concerts and even a video shoot. She gets close to Gabe, but his new lyrics are really familiar to Charlie - from a notebook her mum left behind. 
News about Charlie hanging out with Fire&Lights gets spread online and she is targeted with horrible abuse. But she keeps going back to take more photos, 
I liked the novel well enough, but it didn't set my world alight. Charlie's friend Melissa was so annoying, and I felt the bullying Charlie was subjected to at school just wasn't portrayed right. Charlie sometimes seemed like a 12 year old and sometimes like much older than sixteen; I think there was just something slightly off about her characterisation. The boys in the band were cute - Aiden and Yuki especially. I felt like some of the backstage details or the tour bus details were improbable, but I appreciate that some audiences wouldn't have picked up on that at all. I felt like some of the stuff that happened between Charlie and Gabe would have happened between much older teenagers. It's a decent novel, but not the best thing I've ever read. 
What age range is it for? 13+ I think, it's quite tame. 
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Yuki is Japanese and I liked that.
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No
Is there any sex stuff? No, just some kissing.
Are drugs mentioned or used? Very briefly - there's a mention of someone being "wired" but no further detail
Is there any talk of death? Yes a little bit about Charlie's mum and I need to give a trigger warning for suicide, although it's not explicit. 
Are there swear words? Not many
Would I recommend the book? Yes, if you like books about music. 
How many stars? Six out of ten. 

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