Between internet trolls, gossip, and competing male egos, Charlie Bloom discovers that hanging out with a famous band isn’t the dream the rest of the girls at school think it is.
When Olly messages Charlie about taking backstage photos of his famous band, she’s surprised. The two of them never hung out when he went to her school, before he became famous. Despite reservations, she agrees and discovers she actually likes the boys in the band, all as white as Charlie save mixed-race Yuki (white/Japanese). She loves taking the pictures, and she especially seems to share a magnetic pull with Gabriel West. But how deep is their connection, really? An eruption with her best friend, a school bully, and a family mystery make things even more confusing for Charlie. Russell’s debut novel strives to explore the magic that can occur in teen relationships but never quite manages to escape the confines of sentimental stereotypes. The dialogue often feels canned: “You don’t need me. You’re Gabriel West. You could have any girl on the planet.” A few interesting details, such as the blue knit hat that belonged to Charlie’s dead mother, help add texture to an otherwise flat reading experience.
A drama filled with saccharine moments of romance and angst, populated by characters that can’t seem to escape their two-dimensionality. (Fiction. 12-15)