When sixteen-year-old aspiring photographer Charlie Bloom receives the invitation of her dreams - to take backstage photos for chart-topping boyband Fire&Lights - it's an offer she can't refuse. Overnight she is launched into a world of bloggers, paparazzi and backstage bickering and soon becomes caught between the dark charms of the band's lead singer and songwriter, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson.
Charlie's growing notoriety makes her a daily target for bitchy bully Aimee Watts and her clique, and though she seeks comfort in her best friend, Melissa, her life spirals ever further out of control.
As her connection with Gabriel deepens, Charlie stumbles upon a spine-tingling truth: all the songs he has written for Fire&Lights' debut album are, impossibly, linked to her and her past. How can this be? What dark secrets has he uncovered? Why is Melissa acting so strangely all the time? And will this rivalry between Gabriel and Olly eventually tear the band apart?
Boy-next-door band member Olly used to go to Charlie's school so when he emails and asks her to photograph the band behind the scenes at their next show, she isn't sure what to think. Almost manhandled into it by best friend Melissa, Charlie is whisked into the band's world of reporters, groupies, screaming fans and massive shows. As we get into it, we see more about the inner workings of the band, how they balance their friendship and the work.
This book is all about that fantasy of saying "I'm with the band". Much like Love Song, it's about a girl who gets tangled up in the messy inner workings of a budding boy band but with a twist: this band's new album has songs about her. Not in a "we're meant to be together even though he's never met me" way but in a "these lyrics are written in my dead mother's notebook" way. Spooky huh?
So while Olly is the one to ask Charlie into their world, Gabriel is the one that everyone talks about and draws hearts around. A strange love triangle develops, Charlie getting stuck between heart throb but trouble Gabriel and sweet and unassuming Olly. Honestly, I wanted Gabe to take a hike, he was way too much trouble but I can see the appeal. But of course if Charlie hadn't stuck around and gotten to know him, he wouldn't have opened up and they definitely wouldn't have figured out this link to their pasts.
It wasn't all about the band either, which I really liked. We saw Charlie's home life, struggling with her relationship with her dad, getting unwanted attention from bullies and then trolled when her name comes out as the band's photographer. Between the school yard bully and loads of randoms off the internet, Charlie was in over her head but I think she handled it as best she could.
I can really see why this book has kind of blown up the blogosphere. It has everything from romance and boy bands to dealing with paparazzi and internet bullies. I loved just about every second of it and that cliff-hanger? Boy, bring on book two!
Published 26th July 2016 by Hodder. Thank you to the publisher for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.