Title: Backstage: A Boy Band Novel
Author: Jacqueline E. Smith
Melissa Parker might just be the luckiest girl on the planet.
She’s just turned twenty-one.
She’s best friends with The Kind of September.
And she’s dating Sam Morneau, everyone’s ultimate celebrity crush. Of course, no one is supposed to know about that.
As it turns out, no one is supposed to know about a lot of things that happen behind the scenes of life with the planet’s most popular boy band. Now, what should be Happily Ever After for Mel and Sam is turning into a series of secrets, manipulation, and potential heartbreak… Just in time for The Kind of September’s world tour.
Backstage is one of those sequels that you just can’t help but love more than the first novel. Not only did it present us with fully evolved characters, but also with an outstanding look at the early 20s experience. Jacqueline E. Smith knew how to portray early adults just blossoming into adulthood, and the pain that can come along with that change. She covered the effects of stardom on the younger crowd, and how it changes people and relationships. In the end, I didn’t think that I was reading about world renowned superstars; instead, I felt as though I was reading about my best friends.
Having come down from the high that is Boy Band, I quickly moved onto this tantalizing sequel. Even though I was reading more for the boys than for Mel, the main character, I was pleasantly surprised by the maturation of our heroine. She didn’t come off as the love sick, early adult that she was in Boy Band, but a knowledgeable college student/friend to superstars. We begin to see her struggling between her college classes, and the star experience, and it is interesting to see her trying to embrace what she thinks she should be doing, and what she ended up doing instead. Throughout the novel it seems as though she is ashamed for not doing the classic college experience even though she has become widely successful, and that is something that is very common in today’s early adults. We all think that we have to follow a specific path, or else we are failures, when that is not the case at all. She is growing into the person she is supposed to be, and by entering her first real relationship she has grown in strides.
In Boy Band, we were presented with a band of boys who gained stardom early, and thrived off of the fame and high that they got from performing; but in Backstage, their fame is bittersweet and begins to deteriorate their personal lives. They begin to understand how fragile their images are, and how relationships can be tainted by the press and fame that hounds them on a daily basis. Watching how they rarely got time for themselves broke my heart and made me realize just how often we all have to put a front on to try and come off as a certain person to society. But for these boys, they had to do that 24/7, and it had a huge impact on themselves and their relationships with each other. Fame comes between many of them, and watching their struggles made me feel for them and the road that they chose to take. It was in this novel that they came to fully realize that this road that they have chosen changed them forever, and they will never be known as anything other than members of the band “The Kind of September”.
Smith pulled out all of her remarkable writing tricks in this novel, and even though it was short, its effect was stronger than any longer novel that I have read. She has come to understand her characters and their story more, and she allowed them to tell their own story without much guidance. I haven’t devoured a book as quickly as I have Backstage, and if you haven’t picked up Smith’s work, then you are missing out on a complete literary experience. I look forward to reading the third novel in this series, and it has easily become one of my favorites. While it does surround a carefree concept, there were real obstacles presented within the characters, and those were what humanized them.
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