Release Date: August 4th, 2015
"When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. Unbeknownst to him, I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."
Since Cara's health has been deteriorating, all Stella Walter can think about is trying to cheer her sister up. Her life revolves around Cara to the point where Stella drops out of one of the country's top photography programs so she can spend what little time she has left with her sick sister.
With Cara's birthday around the corner, Stella wants to get her the perfect gift. An autographed poster of her sister's favorite boy band should do the trick. Sounds simple enough, right? But life isn't always so easy.
Not only does Stella hate The Heartbreakers because of their terrible music, but when she realizes that the cute boy she met at Starbucks is really Oliver Perry, the lead singer of the band, her life seems to spin out of control...
Will Stella be able to swallow her pride and get the autograph that she so desperately needs to make Cara happy? And will Oliver be able to show Stella how to live her own life again?
Meet... The Heartbreakers.
"It wasn't spectacular, but it was a cute read."
Disclaimer: I received an eARC via NetGalley. This didn't affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this.
I can't say I went into this with high expectations. I already figured it would be a fluffy, light, quick read, and so on that front, it didn't disappoint! If you're looking for a cute and easy read, this is the book for you. I loved the photography aspects, as well as the insight into what it's like to be part of a boy band and to know people who are in said boy band. This would make for a great beach read. The book is predictable and a bit cliche, but I think that sometimes it's okay, and this is one of those times.
That being said, the book was still far from perfect, as expected. I thought that we were given a great and interesting, albeit not very diverse, cast of characters, but it felt sort of wasted. So much more could have been done with the characters, and I felt that nothing was done with that potential. The characters, particularly some of the boys, felt flat. I could get a sense of their personalities, but I couldn't get much more from them and their interactions with Stella. Now, maybe that's not so much a problem, but I feel like having spent so much time with the boys, Stella would have gotten to see more of the layers. We start to get into it with Alec, but it felt more like skimming the surface than really exploring the layers of him as a person.
As mentioned earlier, the book is fairly predictable and a bit cliched, but that's sort of a given when you read the blurb. Like you already know it's gonna be like that, so it wasn't as big of a deal to me. However, the pacing was off at times. It would drag in many places, and I never really felt completely engaged with the story. I didn't find it difficult to put down the book or anything like that. The book and its plot were good and decent, and I did enjoy reading it, but it didn't wow me. It's fine for a one sitting read (hence beach/pool day read), but it wasn't the kind of book that left me needing to pick it up again. Even the climax didn't seem like a big deal to me, likely because of the way it was handled/written. It could have been a big blow up and could have caused so much more of a problem--both parts of the climax--but it just never got there.
Lastly, while I appreciated the message and the lesson that Stella learned, I question whether she really learned it at all. I found the book a bit unfeminist in that it seemed that Stella never really did anything for herself or on her own accord. She leaves the guys after what Oliver did, but she also left to go back to her sister, who had a medical complication. She didn't even apply to SVA on her own and was hesitant to do so on her own; instead, one of the guys helps her/convinces her to do it. Oftentimes, one of the guys helps her pick which photos to use, and she goes along with it without questioning it or thinking twice. We never really get a sense of her taking the photos or of her mindset when she's in the moment and taking a picture for her job. It's mostly just her with the guys--almost always with the guys but without the sense of her doing her actual job. I feel like the ending was supposed to show her being independent, having made her own choice and chasing her own dreams and doing what she wants, but it's hard to see that as separate from what others are telling her/pushing her to do. I don't know...it just didn't sit completely right with me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't spectacular, but it was a cute read. I loved the interactions between the characters, and I loved seeing the growth of Oliver and Stella's relationship. I liked the behind-the-scenes feel and the photography aspects, and this is the kind of summer contemporary I'd love to read at the beach. It's far from perfect, but it was a solid read that delivers what you expect of it. There are tough issues, but they don't weigh down the book or give it a darker tone, which fits this type of read. This book is a great fluffy read for when you don't want to think too much about what you're reading.