Monday, August 26, 2013

Piece of my Heart

Piece of My Heart
Lynn Maddelena Menna
239 pages
Released: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: the publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Books about teens who are aspiring singers never really do it for me, but last week I noticed a few really good reviews of Piece of My Heart floating around the Internet, so I decided to pick this one up off my advanced copy shelf and give it a read.  This is one of the better books Merit Press has put out this year (I couldn't even get past the first twenty pages of Screwed) but it still fell short for me.

Marisol is still in high school, but she's harboring big dreams about being a popular singer.  She and her DJ friend work several parties where she warms the crowds up for karaoke.  Then at a party she's discovered and is soon thrown into a world of rappers and fancy parties.  Classic Cinderella story - if Cinderella was from East Harlem.

All of the characters in Piece of My Heart fell flat to me, so I won't take up your time talking about all of them, but I will talk about Marisol since she's the main character.  I'll be blunt: I don't get Marisol.  She's supposed to be from "the mean streets of East Harlem" but nothing mean seems to be happening in her neighborhood.  Also, I tend to assume that characters from "mean streets" aren't exactly well off if you know what I mean, but Marisol stated a couple times in the book that she wasn't hurting for money and she has no problem accepting expensive gifts from people who barely know her.

But what I really, really didn't about Marisol was her love for her boyfriend, Julian.  They're on again off again because he hates that her job singing at clubs keeps her from him.  I just got such a horrible, controlling vive from Julian and I wanted to slap Marisol and tell her to wake up!  Any guy who wants you with him 24/7 and doesn't want you to pursue your dreams is not worth your time.  Hello!  Their relationship was so frustrating to me, I wanted to shake something.  Marisol's relationship with the other males in the novel aren't exactly... well... let's just say she doesn't make smart choices about the opposite sex at all.  Yuck.

I had a couple issues with the writing style of the book as well.  A couple times the setting changed rapidly and without indication such that I was a little confused.  For example, the end of chapter one finds Marisol at a club after finishing her song and meeting the famous music manager, Pablo Cruz.  The beginning of chapter two finds Marisol still swooning about Pablo Cruz in a bathroom.  As the reader, I assumed she was in the bathroom of the club she just sang at, but in actuality it's a few days later and she's in the recording studio.  Some earlier indication of the scene change would have been useful.  The book also had a few continuity issues - even on the first page!  Marisol is supposed to be singing at a high school graduation party, but in the very next paragraph it's birthday party.  How did no one catch this before it went to print?

Three stars.  I rated this book three stars when I finished it five days ago, but now that I write this review I'm struggling to find something positive to say so I think it might be closer to a two star book.  Just, meh.  If you hardcore love books about teenage singer wannabes, by all means pick this up, but otherwise maybe give it a pass.

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