Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)'s Reviews > Fireworks

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2017, april-2017, read-for-review

You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

This one gave me a pretty serious case of the sads. I  really liked the author's last book, 99 Days , and was therefore super eager to get my hands on this one. Plus, as a child of the 90s, I was psyched! The characters in this book were a bit older than I was then (yes, yes, someone somewhere is older than me) so I expected lots of 90s shenanigans. I got... not much. There were a few references, mostly musically related, but for the most part, it felt like a contemporary novel set today, just with fewer iPhones.

But beyond that, let's talk about the story itself. So, as we know from reading the blurb (and since I trust your reading skills, I won't rehash too much), Dana has been chosen alongside her bestie Olivia to try out for a girl band (think: Spice Girls ). Now this to me was a little hard to swallow because out of all the young females the country/world, four are chosen and these two best friends happen to be half of them? Okay then.

Of course, there is a boy band that is already somewhat established (think: NSYNC) who is staying at the same hotel complex. And this dude named Alex is hitting on Dana, but ::gasp:: Olivia had the hots for him once in eighth grade (that is paraphrasing, I don't remember when it was). So Dana tries to be all "Girl Power!" and you know, leave him alone because her best friend saw him first. But alas....

So she goes and sees him in random shady places, as you do. And things are... tense with the girls. I could look up the other two girls' names but it's unimportant. One of them is a typical "mean girl" and the other is just... there. But they aren't meshing well, they either fight or don't speak, and so Dana starts pulling away because she is shadily seeing Justin Timberlake Alex. And he doesn't want to play games.

So this is kind of how the story goes: Dana trying to decide if she really wants to be a singer/performer, Dana fighting with the other girls, Dana wondering if she's "good enough", and then Dana and Alex's relationship situation. I just didn't feel it, to be perfectly honest. Also I have no idea what was so special about her that she was picked to begin with, so that led to a certain level of disbelief. Plus, I didn't like how Dana didn't seem to care about the career half the time, and then wondered why everyone was pissed at her.

I liked Alex as a character, but the others? I could have lived without all of them. The adults were all irresponsible and really didn't care about the girls' welfare, which I am sure is accurate to a degree, but you'd think their families would have intervened a bit. Not Dana's, because her mom was the worst (again, this seemed quite trope-y, add an absent mom into the mix of unbelievably), but surely Olivia's?

Dana did grow a bit throughout the course of the book, which was a plus. She ended up starting to realize what it was she wanted, and applied herself to her goal, which was admirable. Until some stuff happened at the end that left me like "wait- what now?" Spoiler is coming so do not read if you haven't read the book.

I always tell you, you never listen. Hrmph. (view spoiler)

Honestly, I just didn't feel that invested in any of the characters, which made me kind of apathetic. Dana and I just didn't click, and I was mad at most of the characters for most of the book.  I definitely wanted a more 90s vibe, too. I did enjoy some of the aspects of the romance, and that Dana did have some growth. But I think a lot of people seemed to enjoy this, so I may be the black sheep here!
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Reading Progress

March 17, 2016 – Shelved
March 17, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
March 17, 2016 – Shelved as: 2017
June 30, 2016 – Shelved as: april-2017
March 5, 2017 –
page 194
March 6, 2017 – Started Reading
March 7, 2017 – Finished Reading
March 10, 2017 – Shelved as: read-for-review

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Samantha (WLABB) I was surprised that there was a dearth of 90s references as well. It seems like it was sent in the 90s only to try and justify the whole fabricated girl/boy band thing, which was popular. But then, maybe it was a conscience choice so as not to alienate the teens who the book is targeted too? And yes, Olivia = the worst. Hated her! I think the romance was strong enough in this book for me to see past some of the other things, because Alex was so fabulous. Great review!

Shannon (It Starts At Midnight) Sam wrote: "I was surprised that there was a dearth of 90s references as well. It seems like it was sent in the 90s only to try and justify the whole fabricated girl/boy band thing, which was popular. But then..."

It COULD be to not alienate teens but... also, I assume they'd have WANTED to read it for the 90s stuff, same way you'd want to read historical fiction? Idk. I am glad you enjoyed the romance enough though to make it worth it!

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