Love Song by Sophia Bennett
|Love Song by Sophia Bennett|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: Written with a warm, musical style that is easy to read and hard to put down, Love Song is perfect for a breezy summer read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: April 2016|
|Publisher: Chicken House Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
Winner: The Romantic Novel of the Year 2017
The Point is the hottest rock band in the world, in every sense of the word. While Nina has always enjoyed their music, she isn't one of the millions of fan-girls utterly obsessed with the four 19 year-old boys. She prides herself on being more than just a girl girl. So when a chance encounter ends up with her being offered the job of assistant to the lead singer's diva fiancée, touring with the band, she takes it simply as an opportunity to travel the globe as part of the entourage, and inject a little bit of excitement into her life. Little does she realise the craziness that she is getting herself into, as she finds herself unwittingly drawn into the lives of the boys and all their messy drama.
I've got to be honest, I was somewhat wary going into Love Song. The last book I read by Sophia Bennett, You Don't Know Me, was a stunning portrayal of media manipulation, cyber-bullying and body image, on top of the romance and friendship you'd expect in any top notch YA contemporary. However, going by the blurb alone, Love Song didn't seem like it was going to stretch readers in the same way. Also I was somewhat sceptical about the whole premise of a girl touring with a hot boy band, and subsequent love story shenanigans.
The first third of the story, while entertaining enough, didn't do much to assuage my cynicism. The author is very good at wowing readers with the craziness of show business, while using Nina's backstage perspective to peel back the brazen veneer of rock star culture and reveal how things really work behind the scenes. However, while Nina settles in almost instantly as a relatable and witty narrator, The Point simply come across as a group of spoilt, unlikeable teens. Fortunately, this is simply the set-up, as a sharp turn of events give Nina the chance to explore the real people behind the superstar personas, and she begins to realise there's more to The Point than just girls and celebrity mishaps. This is when the story really sparks alive, as the focus shifts away from media culture, and starts to tap into emotions using the conduit of music, bringing out a surprisingly sweet love story that had me whipping through the final 100 pages at a rate of knots.
In Nina, not only does the author capture a wonderfully strong and genuine teenage voice, she has a hugely likeable protagonist, whose down-to-earth manner perfectly grounds the tale, preventing it from feeling contrived despite the crazy sequence of events that lead to Nina's interactions with the band. The author's love for music also really shines through, and it's the music that helps to set the story apart from any old tale of teen romance. Finally, just like You Don't Know Me, Bennett really nails it with an emotionally satisfying conclusion, that left me feeling wonderfully warm.
I would have liked the interesting aspects of fan culture to be explored further, and the plot could've been more substantial, given the reasonable length of the book. However, this doesn't stop Love Song from being a really entertaining, well-written, feel good contemporary, that firmly cements Sophia Bennett's place on my list of YA writers to keep an eye on.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
The aforementioned You Don't Know Me comes highly recommended from TheBookbag. I would also strongly recommend Drummer Girl by Bridget Tyler, a stunning teen contemporary about a girl band, with brilliant characters and a clever plot that effortlessly threads together a variety of interesting storylines. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and If I Stay by Gayle Forman are both incredibly beautiful stories with a love of music front, right and centre, though you might want to stock up on the tissues beforehand, for they're both real tearjerkers. Finally, for a more light-hearted summer read try out Holly Smale's Geek Girl.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love Song by Sophia Bennett at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Love Song by Sophia Bennett at Amazon.com.
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