Book: For The Record by Charlotte Huang
Published November 2015 by Delacorte Press|310 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Contemporary
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 hearthrob 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?
I liked For The Record! I know it’s compared to Almost Famous, but as a YA novel, but as I’ve never seen Almost Famous, I’m not sure how For The Record compares.
All of the characters are so distinct, and they have their own personalities. They’re so different from each other, and I liked that Huang made them so unique and not the same person. They really stood out on their own, as individual people, but individual people who came together as a group. There’s a lot of balance in the band, and I liked that about them.
I did get frustrated with Chelsea at times, but she’s flawed and not at all perfect, and I liked that about her. She still has a lot of growing to do, but she also grew a lot in the book.
I also wish we saw a solid friendship in the book. I’m fine with things being weird with the band, since she’s new but I was really disappointed in the only friend she seems to have. Mandy seemed shallow, and unwilling to deal with the consequences of her actions. She came across as ungrateful and expecting Chelsea to fix things for her. I know she stuck by Chelsea in high school when everyone else hated Chelsea, but if they really were best friends, Mandy wouldn’t have used it to guilt Chelsea into helping her. I thought Chelsea was too forgiving of Mandy, and even though they talk about what happened, something the way Mandy apologized and talked about it felt really fake.
Even though the ending was open-ended, and things are up in the air for Chelsea, I wanted a little more resolution. It fits with everything that happens in the book, and I do like it enough that if there were something that wrapped up For The Record, or even focused on what Chelsea’s up to, I’d read it.
Overall, it’s a cute book, and I thought Huang did a really good job at showing what it was like for Chelsea to be new girl on the bus, and what it was like for her adjusting to fame and what it was like on the road. I’m not completely sure how accurate of a portrayal it is, but it did feel like a pretty realistic at all aspects of Chelsea’s rise to stardom.
I wasn’t into the romance, but it was complicated and messy and even a little bit predictable. But I kind of liked how complicated and messy it was for Chelsea.
3 stars. I liked it, and it’s cute, but I didn’t love it.