Title: Boy Band
Author: Jacqueline E. Smith
Sam Morneau is Melissa Parker’s best friend. He’s also a member of The Kind of September, basically the hottest boy band on the planet. After two and a half years, Mel is all too familiar with the day-to-day occurrences that come with being a member of the band’s inner circle, including hectic schedules, passionate fans, and gossip-mongering celebrity girlfriends. Now, with the release of the group’s third album just weeks away, their lives have never been crazier and Mel is doing everything she can to keep up, all the while trying to cope with the ridiculous rumors that follow the band everywhere they go and pretending that she isn’t harboring a secret and hopeless crush on Sam. It’s weird enough being in love with your best friend. It’s even weirder when the rest of the world is in love with him, too.
Boy Band is a novel that surrounds a juvenile concept, but pulls it off for an older audience. When I first began reading this novel I was afraid that it would be directed towards the lower end of the young adult spectrum, but I was happy to find that it was fit for my age range – those in their 20s. Jacqueline E. Smith took the concept of “bandoms” to the next level by having a girl, Mel, as the best friend of one of the band members, Sam, before they became famous. In this way she humanized celebrities, and I found myself forgetting that the boys involved were indeed superstars.
Mel was a highly relatable character. She was awkward, and always tried to stay hidden even though she was a big part of the band’s life. The story follows her as she struggles to hide her feelings about her best friend, Sam, whom she has been in love with for years. I could relate to her struggles with her intense feelings, and I was rooting for her in the beginning, but as the novel went on I became irritated with her inner dialogue.
Since the novel is told from her perspective, the reader was prone to hearing her lash out at certain characters, and then apologize profusely to the reader for how she acted. To go along with this, she also tried to convince us that she is not usually like that. She frequently found herself thinking about Sam as a lover, and then backtracked all over herself saying how she would never confess to Sam how she felt. Her humbleness was endearing in the beginning, but over time I just wanted her to stop apologizing and get on with her story. I also wasn’t fond of the ending as I always see cliff hangers as a cheap trick, but it did work and I will be going onto the sequel immediately.
Apart from that, I loved Smith’s raw writing style and how beautifully she captured older young adults today. I felt many times as though she were speaking from herself, instead of as Mel, and this added realness to her story. She incorporated all the characters beautifully, and none of them seemed to be lost in the cast. Even though I didn’t feel that Josh and Jesse had that big of a part in the story, she still gave them full personalities and I felt that they were jumping off of the page. Smith did a fantastic job of introducing the term”bandom” to those like me who never knew what it was, while also maturing the situation into a heated romance, and a drama filled fiction. Smith’s writing is everything that I wanted it to be, and so much more. I highly recommend this novel to women in their 20s, and I am positive that I will not be able to get this novel out of my mind for quite some time.
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