CHARTBREAKER by Gillian Cross
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A 17-year-old runaway gift is discovered by Kelp, a struggling new rock group; her angry intensity, some luck, and hard work push them to the top. Janis Finch gets along with her mother till Mrs. Finch's boyfriend moves in; sensing the antagonism beneath his sanctimonious manner, Janis seethes with rebellion. Then a chance encounter with Kelp at a motorway cafÉ leads to her joining them in London, where they struggle to recapture the magic of their first improvisation. The key is exploiting the furious love-hate between lead singer Christie and Janis, now called Finch. Exhilarated, but also bruised by the necessity of being manipulated in order to create crowd-capturing music, Finch realizes that her genuine feelings are being exploited on stage and denied in real life. Meanwhile, she's been living with Christie's profoundly depressed mother, with whom she establishes a mutually supportive relationship. When her own mother unexpectedly dies before Finch has made peace with her and Christie uses the funeral as a photo opportunity, Finch's anger erupts into the ultimate onstage confrontation--and touches Christie with his own vulnerability so that, for the first time, a dramatic, onstage reconciliation occurs. Told by Finch as if setting the record straight after continued triumphs with Kelp, the narrative contrasts glamorous press reports with the complex, more realistic tensions and costs of success in popular music. Finch's anger is believable: Finch herself. groping for better way to get her effect, is likable. A gripping story.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1987
Page count: 181pp
Publisher: Holiday House