The romance between musicians Eli and Kristen is plagued with discordant notes.
Eli’s image as a rock god is all about his hard-rock band, but readers are supposed to believe he’s really a nice guy whose priority is his severely autistic sister, Anna. When he hears Kristen and their high school production of Cats, Eli is so attracted to her voice—and her body—that he takes a photo of her and posts it to the band’s Twitter account: “This cat’s HAWT!” (Irritatingly, this conflicts with the back-cover summary that implies that he’s an innocent victim of an out-of-context post.) With the narrative clumsily integrating “screenshots” of social media into the transitions between their two perspectives, Kristen starts singing with the band. But the staged online battle that becomes #KrisVsEli quickly gets out of control, with Kristen facing misogynistic comments and physical threats. Eli brushes aside her concerns and keeps focusing on the band’s success and his desire for Kristen. Even when Kristen is assaulted by a fan, Eli doesn’t seem particularly concerned. But when fan behavior harms Anna, too, Eli finally wakes up. Although Eli clearly cares about his sister, it’s not enough to overcome his sexist persona and his too-late epiphany. Like Eli, his family, and Kristen, the supporting cast is a white one.
Not only does Kristen deserve better, so do readers. (Romance. 14-18)