Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Source: NetGalley
"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.
This is the kind of book to pick up if you're looking for a quick cute, light read. It's not perfect, but it's great if you just want to read something and have fun with it without thinking too much about it. It's sweet and funny. I love the whole celebrity, boy-band thing, even if it's totally cliche. I love the music and photography. The book also deals with tough issues but in a way that isn't too heavy and doesn't really bog you down. The pacing was a bit funny, and the plot was predictable and a little cliche, but it was the sort of thing I needed when I read it.

However, I was very disappointed at how unfeminist I found it to be. First, there was basically no racial diversity at all as far as I can remember. The book is so whitewashed and could have done SO much better. Granted, there were few characters constantly mentioned, but one of the boys could have been non-white. There was little other diversity as well, but I wasn't particularly expecting anything else, to be honest.

What really bothered me most, however, was that throughout the book, there was a lot of focus on Stella coming into her own, becoming independent, and doing things for herself, fearlessly. But while it sort of happened, in the end, I feel like it was never of her own accord. Most of her growth was through one of the boys, which is totally sending the wrong message. Yes, part of it was through her sister, but I felt like for a story trying to get across making your own choices and doing things for yourself, Stella never got there. Many of her decisions and many of the opportunities she had were through one of the guys. She didn't apply to photography school on her own and didn't decide to do that on her own. She even needed one of the guys to choose which dress to wear for the premiere. They often help/tell her which one of her pictures to post, and she doesn't question it. Most of what she does centers around the boys. I know that's sort of part of her job and the story, but I think it would have helped to see more of the taking pictures side than the being-with-the-boys thing. And then the only choices she makes completely on her own is leaving when her boyfriend ditches her. Even deciding to go to college wasn't her own decision--it was a result of her sister's words and actions. I know that these are tough decisions, and I'm not saying that we make decisions on our own because trust me, as an indecisive person, I often get lots of input before deciding something. I just felt like so many of her decisions were made through male characters, and that's what bothered me.

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