Music critic Claire Abby is a single mom dreading her daughter’s departure for college and worried that turning forty will leave her career running on fumes. She’s floored when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story on 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman. She spent her teenage years fantasizing he was her boyfriend.
In person, Christopher is everything Claire feared he’d be—charming, witty and unwilling to address the rumors he’s dodged for a decade. Still, she contains her adolescent fantasies and manages to earn his trust, unearthing the truth and the devastating secret behind it. His blockbuster story is her first priority when she returns home, a nearly impossible task when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should maintain a professional distance. She knows she should focus on the story. She knows it would be best to simply walk away. But how can she say “no” to the man she could never forget
There is something that you should know about me before I delve into this review; I was never a teenage fan girl. There was never a band that I obsessed over or one musician that I idolised; I think that is one of the reasons I struggled with the start of the book. I’ve seen many reviews from bloggers who have those types of memories and they didn’t struggle in the way I did with this book. Remember this before you read on.
The start of this book was difficult as hell for me. You know the premise, so I’m going straight into my thoughts and feelings on the matter. The premise was intriguing and I loved it. The reality, however, was quite difficult for me to engage with. I found Claire to be really quite annoying. She basically acted like a fan-girl for the entire first quarter of the book, even into the beginnings of her relationship with Chris, and it gave him leeway to be an absolute douche. To be honest, I didn’t like either of them at this point as neither of them was acting like a well-rounded person. He was acting like a charming, suave 2D character who basked in the adoration her simpering character gave him. It was tedious but I couldn’t put it down though…I just couldn’t!
The change in the book came when she started to stick up for herself, when she started to call him on his bullshit behaviour. She realised that she was being used and started to demand a little bit more consideration and respect. This created a shift in the whole tone of the book as he had to engage a little more in the relationship and stop expecting her to be happy with the scraps that he gave her. He became less of a cartoon and more of a man and, shock of all shocks, I actually started to like him. His tenderness towards her and her teenage daughter created the persona of a man who valued family and relationships and would have been, in another lifetime, a fantastic family man. The only thing was I still couldn’t see how their relationship would work when it would mean the sacrifice of her career for his. This was bound to create resentment, worsened by the distance between them as his career blossomed, and it just seemed like such an unbalanced way to start a life together.
After this, the book seemed to stray away from dealing with the difficulties of being involved in a relationship with a star, those problems having been dealt with or recognised, and a whole new heap of issues began. I will not mention these but know this; at some points in this book the characters actions were inexplicable to me, leaving me frustrated and blooming angry. Kudos to the author here because these actions could have alienated me from the story and made me refuse to finish this book. They didn’t and were written in such a way that this book became a habit for me. I literally could not put it down; I think I referred to it as “crack” on twitter ‘cos I had to know what the end of their tale would be. I laughed with them, hurt with them and was genuinely unsure of what I wanted the ending to look like. When they were together it was lovely but the amount of external pressures was overpowering and destructive to any relationship they were nurturing. It was frustrating.
The majority of my issues with this book were the characters. Would this have been different if it had been written in third POV instead of first? Who knows, but I do seem to be in minority with the problem with her character. When the shock of his a-list status faded, the story became less about the relationship between a star and his fan and more about the difficulties facing these two individual people who had genuine feelings towards each other. This is where I really started to like the story. The ups were lovely, the downs soul destroying and the tension was attention grabbing. Book crack all-round!!