For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Page Length: 320 Pages
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Publisher: Random House
Source: ARC via The Sunday Street Team
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads:
If Almost Famous were a YA novel… a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
For the Record is one of my top ten books of 2015, it’s such an incredibly written contemporary novel.
I’ve always been fascinated by musicians and the music industry so, when I heard about For The Record I knew that I needed to get my hands on it. I ended up flying through this book and read the entire novel within five hours. It’s so entertaining and you are immediately immersed in this story. There were so many aspects of this book that I really enjoyed and made this book one of my favorite books of the year.
Any music lover will appreciate how we were able to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be a rock stars. I know that there are a lot of YA books that primarily focus on music but what made For the Record such a unique book was how it deviated from the normal insta-famous cliche story. Its about a band, a group of artist learning to adapt to the recent departure of their lead singer and having to learn to accept someone new. Since the band, Melbourne, prides it self on being not being like “those superficial popstars” they dont accept Chealsea as an artist. Her past experience on a televised singing competition is something that they hold against her. We get to experience with Chelsea what it’s like to go from small town Michigan to now touring with an already established band all over the country. Chelsea has an incredible amount of pressure on her all the time, she is unaccepted by the band because they don’t feel like she’s a true artist, she has to deal with always being compared to their former lead singer. I really enjoyed reading about Chelsea as a character, while she did make a lot of mistakes and there were times were she was frustrating to read, it didn’t bother me that much because you could see that she was trying to find herself. That is just a tiny example of just well written the characters are in For the Record. All of the characters had very distinct characteristics and personalities. Pem was this bossy, anal, song writer who is obsessed with retaining artistic credibility. Beckett was the friendly guitarist who takes Chealsea under his wing and is the guy we all hope she ends up with. Malcom is the party boy of the band.
My favorite aspect of the book how we were able to see how these very different people come together to create art with their music and seeing the bond that they had with each other. Because the author is so familiar with how the music industry is ( she thanks in the acknowledgements Fall Out Boy!) there is a real authenticity to the book that make this a really refreshing read. We see all the people that make a band what it is the publicists, roadies, stage managers, agents, producers ect. We see how while it may be glamorous to tour the country and be one of the hottest indie bands ever there is absolutely no glamour in sharing a tour bus with three guys. I mean there were some scenes that take place on that bus that are gross!
The way For the Record is written it feel like we were right there in the tour bus with the band, in the audience the first time Chelsea performs with the band. There were some elements of romance which I enjoyed reading about but, I’m glad that it wasn’t the focal point of the story. While I really enjoyed For the Record I did have a few problems with the characters. For instance, I thought that Mandy’s behavior, while I did understand the motivation behind it, towards the end felt abrupt and uncharacteristic. I also didn’t understand the rift between Chelsea and her parents, I wished that it had been explained. Overall, this book is perfect for any contemporary fan and any music lover will really enjoy reading the lyrics to the songs mention in the book. There are some shocking revelations towards the end that will keep you immersed in the story as well as wanting for the book to be longer. I would highly recommend For the Record to anyone.
This review was brought to in part of the Sunday Street Team. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
About the Author:
Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015)