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Songs About a Girl

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Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...

496 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 28, 2016

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About the author

Chris Russell

3 books135 followers
When I was thirteen, my best friend and I went to a Bon Jovi concert at Wembley Stadium. We thought it looked like fun, so we started our own band - a band that, ten years later, would become The Lightyears. Since then, we've been lucky enough to tour all over the world, from Cape Town to South Korea, playing at Glastonbury Festival and O2 Arena and supporting members of legendary rock bands such as Queen, Journey and The Who. And though we never made it anywhere near as big as Bon Jovi, we did get to play Wembley Stadium, four times, to crowds of over 45,000 people.

Music aside, writing was my first love. In 2014, I published a novel called Mockstars, which was inspired by my tour diaries for The Lightyears. Shortly afterwards, following a three-month stint ghostwriting for a One Direction fan club, I came up with the idea of a YA novel that combined an intense teenage romance with the electrifying universe of a chart-topping boyband. That idea became the trilogy Songs About a Girl, which was signed up by Hodder Children's in 2015, and has sold in multiple territories worldwide. Book One will be published this summer.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 290 reviews
September 1, 2017
****3.5 STARS****

For a more detailed and unfiltered review. . . https://prettymessreading.com/2017/08...

Don’t let the 3.5 rating score you into thinking this wasn’t a good book because it really was. The only reason it’s 3.5 STARS instead of 4 STARS is because of the age of the characters for me. If I was a tad bit younger, I may have given this book a solid 4 STARS.

If I had a teenager or young adult, this is the type of book I would want them to read. It is not only is a beautiful love story but it also deals with many social issues that people are faced with today. Cyber bulling, school bullies, and finding yourself when the world wants you to be like everyone else.

I really liked Charlie, the main female character, a lot. She was sweet, funny, loyal, and very self aware – all of which is hard to find in a typical teenage girl. I loved her style and hidden confidence. She is a year eleven, sixteen year old who is offered the chance to photograph one of the hottest boy bands in the world on their U.K. tour. Every teenage girls dream, right? It so wasn’t mine at sixteen but I know most would jump at the chance.

Me?. . . Not so much because celebrities annoy me but that’s beside the point.

I’m not a teenage girl but I could totally see the appeal of these guys.

Even with the normal insecurities teenagers have, Charlie had the maturity to understand who she was and what type of person she wanted to be.

The boy band, Fire&Light, has four hot and down to Earth members.

Can I say one quick thing about them?. . .

Their connection and friendship was beautiful to read. I believe the way the author portrays them helps the reader see the boys as regular people and not just celebrities. I loved that. I’ve been around my fair amount of men in the music industry and it is not a very common thing to find. Let me not mislead you into thinking that everything is peachy keen with all the members of the band because it is not. I’m not going to tell you why though, your going to have to read it for yourselves.

Like I said before, Charlie was different from most girls her age which appealed to both Olly and Gabriel. Both guys also appealed to Charlie by their humble ways, as well. For being a girl on tour with a famous rock band and having two of those members with a thing for you, her humble behavior made me love her even more.
“I knew it.” he said.

“Knew. . . what?”

“You are, far and away, the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”

On one hand you have Olly, Charlie’s old schoolmate who is the one who invited her to be their photographer. Then you have Gabriel with all his sex appeal and beautiful skin and gray eyes. I mean come on. How is a girl supposed to choose? Especially if Olly and Gabriel have a rocky relationship.

This book gave me the feels when it came to thinking about how one’s entire life is taken away when stardom hits.
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Even though Charlie wanted to stay out of the public eye, some things can’t be avoided and the consequences can be dire. I really felt bad for the chick when the cameras were turned on her. Again, you’re going to have to read it to find out.

Do I recommend this book? I do. I think it’s a really good book for those into YA and rock stars.

Will I read another book by this author? Fuck yeah! I need to know how this damn story ends.

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Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,727 reviews1,279 followers
July 3, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley.)

“I knew this was impossible, and completely crazy – but somehow… the song was about me.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl and a boy band.

Charlie was an okay character, and she did come across as fairly normal. I felt quite sorry for her when she was getting bullied, and the way things got out of control because of a single photograph, but I also thought her idea about the song lyrics being about her was a little far-fetched.

The storyline in this was about Charlie being invited to take some photos of the band backstage, and her getting to know Gabriel a little better. I actually expected there to be more of a love triangle in this book from the description, and for me there wasn’t much made of the love triangle at all, in fact I really wanted there to be more romance than there was.

The ending to this wasn’t much of an ending so much as a cliff-hanger which I wasn’t expecting.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for kate.
1,149 reviews927 followers
July 5, 2018
Was this essentially a One Direction fanfic?

Did I still kinda love it?

This was basically the book of my 15 year old selfs, One Direction obsessed dreams. It was incredibly cheesy but thats what made it so enjoyable. It’s simple writing style meant I flew through it in no time at all and had so much fun doing so. I mean, any book with a blonde haired, acoustic guitar playing Irish band member *cough* Niall Horan *cough* is always going to win some nostalgic Fangirl points from me.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
July 4, 2017
5 Words: Friendship, fame, betrayal, bullying, family.

This was such an addictive story, I seriously could not put it down.

This is another YA that acknowledges technology - it confronts online bullying and trolling head on and if anything the consequences of every action are even greater because of today's technology. But despite the serious issues it tackles, it still manages to stay relatively fun. And it makes the story very compelling.

I loved Charlie's insecurity and self doubt, and I loved when she had those "I am good enough" thoughts. I loved how she reacted to the situations she found herself in, it felt very organic and real. Okay, I love Charlie Bloom.

I was a bit torn about the ending. Ending it just a few pages sooner would have been perfect, with everything wrapped up yet still open enough for me to imagine what comes next. But then there's this little twist and everything changes and now I really need the next book and I have to wait a year... I don't think I can!

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,251 reviews187 followers
July 15, 2017
When I first heard about Songs About a Girl I knew it was a book I had to read. I really enjoy books with this type of theme, and once it arrived I could not wait to make a start on it.

Charlie is an amateur photographer, taking photos for fun. Her recent shots of a gig garner the attention of Olly, an old school acquaintance, who wants her to come and take backstage photographs of his band Fire & Lights. After some deliberation, and sneaking on her best friends part, Charlie soon finds herself among the company of the most desired band and its members, Olly, Gabriel, Yuki, and Aiden, but all she wants is to take pictures, and not to have her name used for any of them.

I really liked how Charlie goes into this job with no idea of who the band is and what music they play. She knows Olly from school and that's all. However she soon realises that what the band portrays to its fans is a different story to what she sees backstage, and is a first hand witness to some of the disagreements, fights, and tension.
Life for Charlie isn't the best, her Mum has died and she lives with her Dad who isn't always there one hundred percent, she is bullied a lot at school and does what she can to avoid it all. As her job with the band progresses, a photo is leaked of her with them, and the bullying escalates to a level that I thought was horrendous. The photography is a way for her to escape, but also do something she is good at, something she enjoys, and judging from the descriptions shes extremely good at what she does.

As the story progresses we get to spend more time with the band, and Charlie begins to see a connection with thier songs, and her Mum's journals. But when the truth is revealed it's not something Charlie or I expected. Not in a million years did I think that this would happen, and I really needed there to be a chapter or two more in the book to explain more about this photograph, instead of just leaving us on a cliffhanger.

Final Verdict
Songs About a Girl is more than music, its about growing up, dealing with issues that others face every day, its about becoming a stronger person for yourself and never giving up on your dream. It's a book that you can fall into and never want it to end, and I really need the next installment now please.
Profile Image for Kirsty .
3,232 reviews329 followers
July 13, 2017
This is the book I've been waiting for. The book to break me out of several months of indifferent reading. I adored it. It could have been written for my inner teen. Music, boy bands and a cool and lovely lead. I want sequels. I want lots of sequels.
Profile Image for Aggie Unsworth.
111 reviews21 followers
August 14, 2016
OMG!!! I don't know where to begin! I freaking loved this book!! All the stars... all of them, everywhere. When my best friend was raving to me about this book I knew I would like it too, but this has been so much more then I expected.

Charlie Bloom likes to be invisible and with her best friend. She lives with her dad and she loves to take pictures. And while everyone is crazy for the new hot boy band Fire&Lights, Charlie couldn't really care less. She still remembers one of the band members, Olly, from when he used to go to their school. But what she never expected is for Olly to contact her and invite her backstage to take some pictures of the band. Completely against it at first, Charlie is convinced by her best friend and suddenly finds herself not only backstage at a huge concerts, but she soon turns into a fan herself. Charlie spends a lot of time with Olly but also finds herself completely drawn to Gabriel. But its when Charlie hears the bands new songs that everything becomes complicated and Charlie has to know exactly where those words have come from... Being so close to one of the biggest bands around also comes with a price and Charlie will have to find out the hard way.

Oh my... my poor fangirl heart. I am far from 17 now, but after reading this i really wish i was again. I have spend my teenage years loving all sort of boybands and let me tell you it was a good time for boybands back then. Some of my favourite memories involve my favourite music and I still love a concert and certain artists very much. This book is like a dream come true. But this is so so far from fan fiction. Its so much deeper then that. Its not just about a girl who falls for a pop star. Its about family, friendship, loss and bullying. It shows not only the glitzy side of fame but also the dark side, weather its for the artist themselves or the people around them.

I seriously couldn't put this down and finished it in less then 24 hours. I was completely drawn into the world of pop stars and concerts. Russell obviously knows what he is talking about, the way he describes the feel of a full arena is so perfect I almost felt like I was there myself. I love all the characters, the chemistry in the band and Charlie and her best friend. I am completely in love with Olly and Gabriel myself.

The secret around the songs lyrics just adds to the excitement of the book and works towards a very jaw dropping end. An end that leaves you wanting more. Oh please don't make us wait to long! I need the next book and I need it right now.

This has been one of my favourite books this year by far and I want to reread it already. And I don't do that kind of thing, ever.

Highly addictive, utterly charming and impossible to put down. This book will transport you some place else and make you forget everything around you. From the beginning till the end you will want to be with the band.

Thank you so much to Lauren and Hachette Children for my copy.

Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
522 reviews1,547 followers
September 11, 2016
I was introduced to Songs About a Girl at a blogger event at Hachette Towers, and this is where we also got to meet the fabulous author, Chris Russell, who's an utter delight and self-confessed fanboy. He's in a band himself – The Lightyears – and has previously written for a One Direction fansite, so is in a perfect position to write about the world of music.

I assumed Songs About a Girl would be told from the point of view of Fire&Lights – a hot new boyband – but it's actually the incredible Charlie Bloom we get to hear from. 15-year-old Charlie is invited to be the band's photographer after Olly, one of the band members, comes across her photos. Charlie's a refreshing protagonist who's simultaneously unaffected by the boy's popularity and intrigued by their music and complicated friendship. Plus she's being targeted on social media by jealous Fire&Lights fans; has discovered a baffling secret about her mother, who passed away; and is stuck between frontman Gabe and bandmate Olly and their curious conflict. (I prefer Yuki myself!).

Songs About a Girl was a fun story to read over the summer and I'm looking forward to meeting up with my new friend Charlie in the sequel next year.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
August 18, 2018
Review first posted on my blog!

Rating: 3.0 stars.

“How long, I wondered, could a group of people spend every waking minute together, with tensions riding high, before it all came crashing down around them?

Something, eventually, would have to give."

Charlie Bloom, a talented, aspiring young photographer, is completely normal- at least according to her. However, with a "gentle" push from her best friend, Melissa, she finds herself entangled in the glamorous lives of Fire&Lights, teen pop sensations who have captured the hearts of practically every girl in the nation. (Except for Charlie, of course, because she's apparently oh-so-different and doesn't care about silly things like boy bands).

Songs About a Girl will be especially relatable for hardcore fangirls and fanboys (like me!!), whom the author affectionately labels "groupies". I especially liked how Russell gave readers a glimpse of celebrity life away from the prying lens of the camera.

It reminded me of how exhausting fame can actually be, with every move and misstep scrutinized by the public eye- and how dangerous, too, with daily death threats and overly aggressive paparazzi. We're so used to idolizing our favorite singers and actors/actresses that it's easy for us, as the audience, to forget that they're only human. Though we might take privacy for granted, most of them view it as a luxury.

"I just want one little piece of me to stay private, y'know? People expect you to give up everything just because you're famous, but I won't give them this."

Charlie also has her own ugly brush with anonymous online harassment, simply because of her association with the famous boy band. I can’t imagine how targeted and vulnerable I would feel if I was suddenly attacked by keyboard warriors on all sides of social media, but that’s exactly what Charlie went through. Russell effectively pointed out that it’s important to remember the person behind the screen, and that you should always, always think before you speak- or, in this case, type.

"I don't know, Charlie, but this is exactly what losers like that are paid to do. Make people feel crap about themselves. Because that sells."

Russell also portrays the band, Fire&Lights, as a close-knit family as friendly with each other behind the scenes as they are on the stage. Of course, the band is not without their own fair share of underlying tension. Overall, however, I loved the band's dynamic- Yuki's carefree playfulness, Aiden's sweetness, Olly's kindness, even Gabriel's broodiness. Though undeniably cheesy, the kind of friendship he portrays in Fire&Lights is especially relevant to pop culture, as more and more of today's band members leave to "fly solo".

“We were racing, explained Aiden, breathlessly, retrieving one of his shoes from a nearby bush. “I nearly beat him this time.”

“The thing our little Irish friend here fails to acknowledge,” explained Yuki, “is that I have the willowy limbs of a gazelle, whereas he…” He considered Aiden for a moment. “He has the athletic prowess of a slightly asthmatic dachshund.”

“That’s mean!”

“Cool your boots, Roberts. It’s your brain I’m attracted to.”

On the other hand, I felt that this book was just very cliche in many ways. Think about it: Charlie, an apparently completely normal person, gets miraculously plucked off of the streets by a former classmate-turned-super-famous-pop-star. And then, obviously, everyone else in the band just ends up loving her. Many of the "coincidences" that occurred seemed like a bit of a stretch to me, definitely to the point of being extremely unrealistic. But then again, this is all part of the magic of YA, and many other readers will probably appreciate this; it's just a matter of personal taste.

And if we're still on the topic of cliches, I just have to mention Gabriel West. Call me a downer, but these days, I'm just not having any sort of luck with YA contemporary romances. Like many of his hot predecessors, he is dark, brooding, and damaged, but, like, in a totally hot kind of way.

Even better, this popstar is somehow undeniably attracted to our totally average protagonist darling, and... surprise!... so is she. It’s total insta-love. And then... wow!... by some twist of fate, they realize that they're practically soulmates.

I can sum up his personality in one word: ANGST. MAJOR ANGST. (I know that's three words, but let's overlook that.) Charlie was equally as clueless, and honestly, I spent half the book nursing a burning desire to smack some sense into the both of them. I am left with a sense of deja vu- I feel like I've read about Gabriel's character thousands and thousands of times, and I am, quite frankly, tired of it.

I'm sorry, Gabriel West, I probably would have fawned over you in middle school, but by now, I'm so over the whole Dark Bad Boy Trope, not to mention the Special Snowflake Syndrome. (And remember, and important part of the Special Snowflake Syndrome is that the special snowflake CAN'T realize they're special! Everyone just loves them for some reason!)

"Truth is, most girls who manage to get backstage, they're only really interested in one thing. But you... you're different."

After reading this, I honestly have no idea what makes Charlie "different", other than the fact that she's not drooling obsessively over the teenage band. And even that changes by the end of the book.

One redeeming quality for the romance was the refreshing and pleasantly surprising lack of any major love triangle. I have to admit that I was suspicious at first, but the main love interest is quickly made clear. There’s tension, of course, but nothing too major- I mean, none of these boys square up and fight each other for Charlie. Though two of them do have an arm wrestling competition. Does that count?

However, Russell's portrayal of Charlie's BFF, Melissa, was pure gold. This conversation basically sums up their entire friendship:

"If something awful had just happened and you thought the world was going to end... know what I'd do?"

I shook my head.

"I'd fill your bedroom with marshmallows."

I squinted at her. "What?"

"Your entire room. I'd go out and spend all my money on marshmallows, and I'd fill up your bedroom from floor to ceiling and then we'd just sit around for hours eating and laughing. It's impossible to be sad when you're eating marshmallows. That's a scientific fact." 

Melissa and Charlie were adorbs together, and I would not have minded if Charlie suddenly left her main love interest and realized she was *GASP* in love with Melissa the entire time! I realize now how preposterous that sounds, but a girl can dream, right?

Melissa is undoubtedly not without her flaws, and she makes huge mistakes that drive major rifts between her and Charlie. For some reason, I LIKED that Melissa and Charlie's friendship wasn't all smooth sailing, and I thought that it was a genius move on the author's part to test their loyalty and trust, and, in the process, make their bond even stronger. Regardless, these girls are always there for each other, and that's ultimately what matters the most.

Songs About a Girl is cute, definitely, and perfect for those who have always dreamed of falling in love with their favorite celebrities, or wistfully wondered what it would be like to be part of a band. It was clear that Russell poured his heart and soul into writing a book about something that he was truly passionate about- music.

To sum it up, check out this book if you’re a fan of: band life! cute friendships! angsty teenage romances! glamorous pop stars! insta-love- I mean, fate!

ALSO: What kind of ending was that? Was it a cliffhanger or.... yeah, it just left me incredibly confused.

ALSO ALSO: Major props to the author for actually writing and recording the songs featured in this book! Check them out here.

Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Profile Image for Holly Sparks.
Author 3 books150 followers
August 30, 2016

Songs About a Girl really took me through the emotions. I found myself completely glued to the pages as if I was in a trance and couldn't look away until the book ended!

Charlie was a great main character. I found her exciting, real and true. She is just like every other teenager who feels like they're alone in this world, but that's until Fire&Lights send Charlie a message.

A message that will change her life.

I could totally relate to Charlie in this book as photography is one of my true passions too. It was amazing that she was given the chance to photograph the newest and hottest band on the block - Fire&Lights! Yuki, Aiden, Olly and Gabriel! Man these boys were just so great! I found myself wanting to be at their concerts, dancing to the music even though I wasn't even there. All I was reading were words on page but I could feel the music, the atmosphere and I felt so happy for Charlie.

I adored Melissa throughout the book. I loved her excitable energy, the way she looked at everything and I found myself laughing out loud a few times too. I mean, who doesn't want a room full of marshmallows, right?

Olly was such a little darling from the start. I adored him. I was secretly routing for him because let's be honest he's the good guy! But the good guys are normally overlooked by the bad boys, am I right? Yep. I'm right!

Let's face it. We all love bad boys. If you don't, I know you're lying ;)

Gabriel has a voice to still you and eyes that you drown into. How could you not fall for him? But what we come to realise through the book is that he is a damaged, young man who clings to Charlie like his life depends on it. But that makes us even curiouser about him. Everything about Gabriel draws Charlie in. But bad boys always hurt us.

I adored Songs About a Girl, and I cannot wait for the sequel! The ending had me on the edge of my seat! I hope we see more of Melissa as I secretly want her and Aiden to get together ;) I also want to see what happens between Charlie, Olly and Gabriel...

I guess I'll just have to be patient! Which is something I'm not very good at...


Chris Russell, you get an A* for writing such a great book!

Holly x
Profile Image for Romance Readers Retreat.
2,346 reviews214 followers
July 28, 2016
This is the author's debut novel and I have to say that I didn't much care for it. I enjoyed reading it but it didn't hold my attention very well and I have to admit that I skimmed through a lot of it. I was instantly intrigued by the blurb and thought it was going to be a hot, sexy story about rockstars with maybe a love triangle thrown in like the blurb seemed to depict, but there was very little romance in this novel.

We have Charlie who is an amateur photographer, only using her camera as a hobby. When her recent photos of the school band gathers the attention of OIly Samson, an old classmate, who wants her to take backstage pictures for his band, Fire & Lights, she is suddenly thrust in a world that is completely different than anything she has ever known filled with paparazzi and backstage arguments. She is suddenly caught in the middle of sexy, mysterious frontman Gabriel West and his boy next door bandmate, Olly Sampson, who briefly went to school with her before he got famous. As Charlie is caught in the middle of the boys' fights with one another that threaten to tear the band apart, she comes upon a secret that could change everything!

I loved the camaraderie between the bandmates of Fire & Lights: Olly, Gabe, Yuki, and Aiden. They cracked me up with all the crazy stunts and jokes they pulled on one another! Other than that though, I didn't particularly feel a connection between any of the characters, especially Gabe, Charlie, and Olly. I would have liked a little bit more of a relationship development and definitely a lot more romance since I felt like the book revolved mainly around Charlie's photography and her mysterious past.

I started this book believing that it was a standalone but it ends on one hell of a cliffhanger that leaves you with way more questions than answers and wanting the next book immediately. While I didn't particularly love this book, I do want to read the second just to get closure and answers to all my questions that Book 1 left me with.
Profile Image for Wybredna Maruda.
342 reviews578 followers
June 3, 2017
Kim jest "girl" ze wszystkich romantycznych piosenek? - "Piosenki o dziewczynie" / Chris Russell

Chyba każda nastolatka (a może i nie tylko nastolatka, bo ja już do tych najmłodszych nie należę) była kiedyś zakochana w artyście muzycznym. Piski, plakaty porozwieszane po całym pokoju i płyty odtwarzane w kółko na cały regulator. Mówi Wam to coś?

Zawsze jednak jest ktoś, kto nie podziela tego fangirlzmu. Taka jest Charlie Bloom. Dziewczyna nie pisze listów do swego ulubionego zespołu. To oni piszą listy do niej.
"Piosenki o dziewczynie" Chrisa Rusella to jak książka o mnie. I fabuła wyciągnięta z moich snów. Choć paru rzeczy można się przyczepić, a całość przypomina fanfiction, to przewracałam jej kolejne strony z szeroko otwartymi oczami. Bo widziałam tam siebie. A zakończenie sprawiło, że jak najszybciej chcę sięgnąć po kolejny tom tej serii. Do tego zainteresował mnie sam autor :)
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Profile Image for Sal.
398 reviews23 followers
June 22, 2016
The easiest 5 stars I have ever given. I'd give it a hundred stars if I could. I just knew, I knew the moment I first discovered the existence of this book that I would love it. Now it's become a very special part of me and I'll treasure it forever.

This is the very best of #boybandlit. It's filled with joy, friendship, heartbreak and boyband shenanigans - everything you could possibly want in a book! There were just SO MANY GODDAMN FEELS. Charlie Bloom is my spirit animal. I want to hug her. How does Chris write so magically? I love this book to pieces.

THAT ENDING. I am in dire need of the next book. I'm not done with Fire&Lights yet!

Full review to come soon.
Profile Image for Tasmin.
Author 3 books130 followers
April 13, 2018

Das Buch hat mich positiv überrascht, war aber leider auch nichts super besonderes. Die Reihe werde ich trotzdem weiterlesen, weil ich leider süchtig nach Rockstarromanen bin. [bitte hier die GoT Shame Szene einfügen]

Was ich gut fand:
- es gab jede Menge Plot abseits von Liebesgeschichten und Rockstarklischees. Das tat dem Buch wahnsinnig gut und sorgte an manchen Stellen sogar richtig für Spannung.
- ich mochte die Band, die Atmosphäre backstage, das Rockstar Feeling
- die Charaktere blieben nicht eindimensional (waren aber auch nicht detailliert ausgearbeitet), fast jeder hatte mehrere Hobbies und eine Hintergrundstory
- Charlies Freundschaft mit Melissa
- Plottwists
- gute Lehrer an der Schule
- Melissas Mom! Und Marshmallows!
- den Schreibstil
- Social Media und Chat Elemente
- dass Olly immer wieder zeigt, dass Respekt das wichtigste ist

Was ich nicht gut fand:
- dass Charlie (im Gegensatz zu Olly) nie reflektiert, wenn man sich ihr aufdrängt, etc
- die Lovestory fand ich leider nicht sonderlich glaubhaft, es ging mir zu schnell zu tief und ich habe es einfach nicht gespürt
- die Fotoelemente. Ich fand es toll, dass Charlie fotographiert. Aber man merkt, dass der Autor absolut KEINE Ahnung von dem Thema hatte... leider. (für alle, die sich etwas auskennen, hier ein kurzer Textausschnitt: "Oh mein Gott, eine Canon EOS! Meine Traumkamera! Die Canon EOS ist so toll". Außerdem kein Wort über Bildbearbeitung, Einstellungen an der Kamera, etc) Außerdem hat sie ja anfangs "nur eine Gebrauchtkamera" - warum ist das schlecht? oO Dass der Autor keine Ahnung hat, ist an sich nicht schlimm, aber für jemanden, der sich mit Fotographie auskennt ist es ein bisschen cringy
- kitschige Klischeesätze wie "Ich habe noch nie jemanden wie dich getroffen" ; "du bist so anders als alle anderen Frauen" etc. Die ersten 50% des Buches tauchen sie null auf und es hat mich so gefreut etwas so völlig anderes zu lesen und dann hat der Autor einem solche Sätze plötzlich nur noch um die Ohren. Vor lauter Augenrollen tut mir mittlerweile das Gesicht weh.
- der ganze Subplot mit Aimee. Hallo Girlhate. Und was für einen Sinn hatte das überhaupt?
- ob es wohl jemals einen Rockstarroman geben wird, wo die Eltern das Kind UNTERSTÜTZEN?


Ich fand das Buch für einen Rockstarroman große Klasse. Er ist verhältnismäßig unproblematisch, beinahe unschuldig. Natürlich ist es keine Glanzleistung in der Unterhaltungsliteratur, aber es hat mich gut unterhalten und auch Emotionen ausgelöst. Wer Rockstarromane mag, sollte es sich einmal näher anschauen. :)
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,131 followers
June 9, 2017
I didn’t really like this book. And I feel bad for it.

I wanted to like this, and I just wasn’t into it. At one point I was just pushing myself through it because I refused to leave it unfinished.

The book is about 15-year old Charlie, who gets the chance of a lifetime to go backstage and photograph the hot new boy band: Fire&Lights. There she meets the guys who would become her friends. There is boy next door, Olly, funny and intelligent Yuki, quiet and kind Aiden, and of course, talented and dysfunctional Gabriel.

It seems like a dream come true until it turns into a nightmare.

When the fans of Fire&Lights find out about the girl that has been hanging out with the band, they decide to get nasty. All of this while the band starts crumbling from within as Olly and Gabriel compete for Charlie’s attention among other things.

It sounds like it would be a great story, and for a lot of people, it was. I just wasn’t one of them.

I liked the characters, I just didn’t much care what happened to them. The camaraderie between the Fire&Lights gang was fun to read and very endearing. Other than that, I really wasn’t feeling it. The other characters were just okay. The writing was okay. The plot was okay. It was just an okay novel and I wanted more.

Then there was the ‘romance’ aspect, which was very downplayed. I would have perhaps appreciated that if then the characters hadn’t gone and declared their love for each other, a month after meeting. You can’t have both. You can’t downplay the romance, and then proclaim your characters in love.

Honestly, I think that the problem is that I thought I was getting into something different than I got. I expected a full on romance about music and rock bands, and all that goodness. I got a mystery, a half-baked romance, and cliff hanger.

It just wasn’t for me.

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
Profile Image for MochaGeek.
87 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2017
3.5 Stars.
First of all it was mighty long. 358 pages for a contemporary book? (and it has a sequel?) Too long unless the content is good.
Second of all it was predictable. Ahem of course there's two guys: a good one and a bad one and guess who she chooses? And of course they decided to have this "huge" plot twist which I could see coming from a mile away.
Anyways, It was stupidly long and even though the writing was good I really didn't like the way that the author leaned towards cliches and tried to make a normal contemporary this "exciting" mystery.
Profile Image for Rachel  (APCB Reviews).
331 reviews1,191 followers
June 17, 2017
I'm always drawn to books that feature boy bands and the fame and fan craze that accompanies it. That's probably why I sped through this book in a few hours. "Songs About a Girl" brought back all the nostalgia I had for One Direction, while also giving an insider look on the music industry and the life of rising stars.

Charlie Bloom, a quiet teenager growing up in the U.K., loves photography. Olly Samson, a recent alum of her high school and now rising pop star in the mega popular up-and-coming boy band, Fire&Lights, asks Charlie to take photographs of the band backstage to give fans an inside look on their lives. And Charlie finds herself charmed by the band and swept up in the waves of fame and the cruel world of paparazzi and the media.

My favorite element of this book was definitely the boy band! The group of guys are so fun and funny, and I couldn't help but grin at the adorable backstage moments and shenanigans always going on. I also loved the inclusion of the fandom culture, although things did escalate and turn nasty every once in awhile. I also really liked the peek into the

Regarding the characters, I loved the band members Yuki, Aiden, and Olly. They were all so sweet and funny and thoughtful. But I really had a problem with the proclaimed star of the band, Gabriel West. He is painted as the cocky, brooding type who actually has more depth and secrets that will explain his behavior. But he seems so hot and cold, and I don't know how to feel about him.

Of course Charlie gets caught in the middle of the brewing feud between Olly and Gabriel. Who of course both seem to like her. Yes it is cliché, but it is so entertaining! I love this drama... I was not a fan of the romance in this book, but this book is just so addictive and I really like most of the characters so I'm sticking around for future books to find out what happens. Romance isn't even the main focus of the book, it is more about Charlie taking a leap of faith, discovering her love of photography, and experiencing the pop star life with her new boy band friends. There is also a mystery element to this novel that I can't wait to crack.

My main problem with this book is the cheesy romance lines that a certain character feeds Charlie. And it felt like instalove or maybe obsession is a better word for it. I just can't see why he likes Charlie so quickly after just meeting her. Also there are some pretty outlandish things that happen at Charlie's high school that didn't seem realistic at all.

Overall I really enjoyed this book though, and I will be popping back in for book two!
Profile Image for Yolanda Sfetsos.
Author 69 books179 followers
September 1, 2017
I have to start this review by mentioning how awesome this cover is. Not only is it totally fitting, but that silvery CD shine and polaroid pic are so nice.

Anyway, I grabbed this book yesterday afternoon to get a feel for it... and ended up reading the first 100 pages in one sitting! LOL. I found Charlie's voice compelling, and had a feeling it was going to be fun. I just didn't know I would love it instantly.

Charlie just turned sixteen. She's in Year Eleven, lives with her busy father, has a hilarious best friend (who also happens to be her neighbour), still misses her mother, and loves photography. All the other girls in school--including her friend--are totally into the hottest boy band in the world, Fire&Lights. But all she knows about them is that one of the guys used to go to her school and she had one conversation with him.

That's why, when she gets a personal message from him, she can't believe Olly actually reached out. But because of him, she accepts an offer she can't refuse and ends up taking a bunch of backstage photos of the band. That's when this quiet girl who likes to be anonymous in a crowd finds herself thrown into their crazy life of stardom.

All Charlie wants is the opportunity to take photos. Instead, she ends up really liking the boys. She enjoys hanging out with them, and gets caught between two of the boys and a web of lies she's told her father. Plus, now that people know who she is by name and face and decide to troll her with insults, threats and allegations, her life changes instantly.

What she didn't expect was to hear familiar lyrics in some of their songs, or to become the target of a bully...

Oh my! This book was SO darn GOOD. I had such a blast reading it. But don't be fooled, because it's not all fun and games. There are so many things going on in Charlie's life that the surprises never stop.

Charlie's voice is interesting. Her life is both happy and sad. I liked her friend Melissa because she was hilarious. I also liked how well they got along and how they supported each other. I loved her passion for photography. And I totally felt for her because she misses her mother so much, and suspects that her father is concealing information from her. Which really puts their somewhat awkward interactions in perspective.

And of course, I have to talk about THE BAND. I loved how the boys in Fire&Lights are portrayed in such a real and honest way. These four talented guys are thrown into an insane amount of fame very quickly, but they're just a bunch of normal, fun guys who happen to be making a lot of money doing something they love. Each of them is very different and have their own quirks and issues with how to survive their everyday lives and the never-ending focus put on them by the press, paparazzi and even devoted fans. It's a crazy world, and while Charlie tries to adjust, she realises how much pressure they really face.

Oh, and I'm obsessed with the mystery at the heart of the story. I'm not going to reveal anything about it, though. But it's sooooo good.

Songs About a Girl is such a well-written, well-rounded book full of awesome characters, exciting music, strong friendships, and so many complications that I couldn't put it down. It's an awesome story, and one that took me right back to my teens. I mean, what teenage girl hasn't been obsessed with at least one boy band and/or hasn't daydreamed about getting caught up in their world? ;)

Anyway, THAT ENDING killed me. I need to know what happens next.

OMG. I loved this book. Heaps. Where's the next one? O_O
Profile Image for Colin.
704 reviews78 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
May 29, 2022
Stopped at page 180.

There isn’t really anything “wrong” with this book but it just felt so dated, considering this was published in 2016 during the boyband craze and I was reading it in 2022. I’ve also never been into the boyband WattPad fanfic scene even at its peak so maybe this is just a matter of personal preference for me.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,438 reviews234 followers
September 11, 2021
Charlie Bloom was not your typical teen. Therefore, when she was contacted by a member of the current-hottest-boy band to photograph them for their fan site, she declined. Due to interference from her technologically savvy best friend, she found herself a reluctant part of the Fire&Lights world. With each concert, she found herself more attached to each member of the band, but there was something different about her attachment to Gabriel, the brooding bad boy of the band. As they got to know each other, they found they had a connection, and this connection was a lot more meaningful than they initially anticipated.

This is a debut, so I really didn't know what to expect, but you know me, I love a contemporary romance. That coupled with a boy band sold me on reading the story, but this was not simply a contemporary romance. It was made a little more interesting with this thread of mystery, which was woven into the story.

I really like Charlie. She was this ordinary girl, who was thrust into an extraordinary situation. She was quite unprepared for all the negative and positive things that resulted from her work with Fire&Lights, and I found her reactions quite honest and authentic. She was nursing wounds that ran quite deep too. Her mother was dead, her father was somewhat disconnected, she was bullied at school and online. All these difficulties could get a girl down, yet, Charlie kept going. I attribute some of that to her support system next door - her best friend, Melissa, and Melissa's mom, Rosie, but also to her fortitude of character. **Side note: Melissa was a hilarious fangirl of epic proportions, and made me laugh almost every time she opened her mouth. Example:
"It's impossible to be sad when you're eating marshmallows. That's a scientific fact."

I really enjoyed being back stage with the band. They charmed the pants off of me. Russell captured the boyish camaraderie perfectly, and their antics were quite fun to read about. Another thing I loved was that he made the characters so age appropriate. Charlie is 15-years-old at the book's onset, and the band members are all around 18, so their behaviors and reactions really fell in line with normal teens of similar age.
"'Carla's famous. She's on TV. Me, I'm just...'
Gabriel looked at me, amber light shining in his eyes.
'Charlie, trust me. You're not just anything.'"

When Charlie and Gabe met, there was this pull, they were drawn to each other. They keep talking about a connection, and as they started to break down each other's wall, they learn that there is indeed a reason for this connection. This little mystery is present throughout most of the story, and I thought I knew where is was going, and I was really wrong. Then, I thought I knew where it was going again, and I was wrong again. And then with the cliffhanger, I thought I had it figured out, but I will be unable to confirm until the next book.

This book is so much more than a contemporary romance. It explores ideas about friendship, family, aspirations, the impact of online media, bullying, love, and loss.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

Profile Image for KatieBookQueen.
257 reviews68 followers
July 28, 2016
Reviewed at: http://www.queenofteenfiction.co.uk/

Boyband lit. I’ve read a few books that fall into this genre before, and honestly? I’ve not really enjoyed them. I often find the plot quite predictable and the band too cliché and cheesy, and I was worried that I’d never find a book that would get me into this genre. But then I read Songs About a Girl, got utterly sucked into the plot, and fell in love with a fictional boyband.

This story follows Charlie after she gets a Facebook message from Olly Samson, a former pupil at her high school who also happens to be one quarter of the world’s hottest boyband, Fire&Lights. He’s seen some of Charlie’s photography from a gig and invites her to take some backstage pictures of the boys for their fan club’s website. Charlie, however, has approximately zero interest in Fire&Lights, despite everyone in her school being head over heels for them, including her best friend Melissa. Although she originally declines the offer, fearing she’s not a good enough photographer, Melissa accepts the invitation for her and soon Charlie finds herself thrown into the world of Fire&Lights.

I’m honestly shocked at how much I ended up adoring this fictional band. Olly, Yuki, Aiden, and the mysterious Gabriel make up the four members of Fire&Lights, and they were written beautifully. I adored their fun interactions and their backstage antics, and it made me feel like I was sitting right alongside Charlie, behind the camera, observing every minute of it. You’re not asking me to choose a fave, but I’m going to anyway: YUKI IS EVERYTHING. His personality was perfect and his humour was entertaining throughout the story.

Although I’d usually find Charlie’s story completely unbelievable, a seemingly average teen being taken under the wings of a world famous boyband, this story is written in a way that makes you believe that it’s completely possible. What was also great was the way Charlie discovered a connection between her own life and Gabriel’s. There’s so much more to the story than you originally think when starting this book.

Whilst the story is a lot of fun, I was pleasantly surprised to see some darker themes included. When Charlie’s identity is discovered, the hate and abuse she receives from fans are vile and awful to read, and the worst part is that this genuinely happens in real life. I’m glad the book didn’t shy away from the harsh realities of being in the spotlight and dealing with everyone knowing who you are.

Once I started reading, I honestly couldn’t stop and managed to fly through the book in three days. The pacing was perfect and there was never a dull moment. The dialogue was also spot on, especially Melissa’s fangirling sessions. Any fangirl or fanboy reading this book will smile at Melissa’s reactions to everything! The ending was a fantastic cliff-hanger and definitely has me eager for more – WHEN WILL THE SEQUEL BE IN MY LIFE? I’m much looking forward to reading more about Charlie Bloom and my new favourite fictional band.
Profile Image for Kali Cole.
345 reviews34 followers
March 30, 2017
THERE BETTER BE A SEQUEL CAUSE THE WAY THIS ENDED...NO NO IT DOES NOT END WIT THAT CLIFF HANGER. This book was all types of shocking, fangirling, beautiful, angering, happy crying! It was everyone all wrapped in one book. I reallyyyyyyy hope there's a sequel.
Profile Image for Ema.
36 reviews
May 23, 2018
Sometimes there are rare moments in bookstores when among thousands of books one catches your eye for no obvious reason and you end up buying it even though you don't know anything about it... this was the case with Songs about a girl...
I enjoyed this book a loooooot and didn't see the plot twist coming ... it was such an easy read and made me laugh out loud to the point where I needed to call my best friend and read the funny parts to her :D
And because it made me smile sooooo much I give it 4 stars... also apart of good jokes this book addresses some serious issues like bullying and coping with teenage problems. Have to say author did a magnificent job incorporating this all and putting it in an environment full of publicity and fame... definitely making it one of my favorite ya books :)))
Profile Image for KatForsyth.
200 reviews15 followers
June 29, 2018
I really really enjoyed this. Quick, light read, but not without substance. Pretty pleased I pulled it off the library shelf just because it was next to another book I wanted to read!
Profile Image for Holly.
70 reviews17 followers
December 20, 2017
I’m obsessed. Slightly cheesy, but who doesn’t love some cheese? Gabriel is swoon worthy and there were plenty of moments where I wanted to throw my kindle in annoyance but also where I had to squeal with how cute it was. Whilst Olly was sweet he annoyed me slightly jumping in at any moment he could; however I loved that he was there for Charlie when she needed him.
Profile Image for Annie.
4 reviews
October 28, 2020
i bought this off a shelf because it looked pretty which is pretty stupid right?! next time i should look thoroughly through the book and find out it's a trilogy before reading it so i'm not LEFT ON A CLIFFHANGER!!!! that being said it was a good trashy read for when i wanted a break from school work. 10/10 would recommend if you want a brain numbing read.
Profile Image for Serendipity Reviews.
555 reviews334 followers
July 3, 2016
I forgot to update this in all of my excitement this week. This is my book of the month!
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
January 12, 2019
This One Direction-inspired contemporary starts out with strong voice but descends into all the worst love triangle cliches, culminating in a predictable twist cliffhanger.

The worst aspect for me, though, is that I really loathe the romance. Before she met Gabriel, I liked Charlie. I was impressed by Russell's ability to write a female voice. She was independent and a bit funny, and she had this really blasé attitude about all the fame stuff that felt more believable than it usually does in a celebrity romance. Then Gabriel shows up, and the girl I'd enjoyed reading about disappears.

The love triangle is between Charlie and bandmates Olly and Gabriel. Aside from his jealousy over Gabriel, Olly's a genuinely nice guy throughout, even once she chooses Gabriel. He remains a friend when he's been rejected, and that's a good sign in a guy.

I honestly don't know why she chooses Gabriel. She meets him a handful of times, and he's off every time. He's either with another girl or being rude to his bandmates or brooding or drunk off his ass or fleeing his security or yelling at a pap. What about this guy is appealing? He has a rough past, but I'd feel for him more if he got therapy rather than merely taking on Charlie as his new muse.

Also, I think it's super fucked up that he has pretended someone else's songs are his own.
Profile Image for Ashley.
1,386 reviews31 followers
January 14, 2019
I tend to enjoy any book about a regular girl getting "in" with the hot band, and this wasn't any different. It was cute; I quite liked Charlie and her life - her family, her bff Melissa. I like that things weren't picture-perfect (like how she got bullied at school) but that she never was an unlikeable character. And I enjoyed the story, it was a cute premise that could be believable, and worked pretty well. I enjoyed it.

Some Fire&Lights blathering:

Looking forward to reading more about these characters in the sequels.
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