Stella’s twin sister Cara is undergoing treatment for cancer, and the low dosages of chemotherapy haven’t worked in the past. The real possibility of Cara dying trumps everything else in Stella’s life, like regular school and college plans. Stella, Cara, and their brother Drew are about to celebrate their eighteenth birthday, and since Cara couldn’t see her favorite band, The Heartbreakers, in concert, Stella and Drew have decided to road trip to Chicago for an autograph session, as an epic gift for Cara. However, Stella hates the Heartbreakers, and it should be noted, is only doing this because a) she loves her sister, and b) they’re visiting an exhibition of Stella’s favorite photographer beforehand. The morning they arrive in Chicago, Stella stops for a save-me cup of coffee and runs into a cute, if somewhat familiar boy. Later, at the signing, she realizes he is none other than Oliver Perry, the famous leader singer of the Heartbreakers. Later that night, the Heartbreakers are staying at her hotel, and Stella cannot help but proclaim loudly how much their music stinks. When Oliver stops by her room to secretly play a prank on her, her brother gets involved, and Drew and Stella are sucked into a wild night of antics with the band. Stella is surprised to actually have fun, and when they return home, she is contacted by the band’s publicist to be their official photographer and blogger, just for a short time. This dream-come-true opportunity shows Stella a life beyond her sister’s cancer, friends she didn’t expect to find, a future she didn’t give herself a chance to believe in, and a love that still seems unlikely.
A perfect beach (or pre-Let It Snow?) read that is bound to cheer you up despite the depressing theme of cancer, bouncing from fluffy to subtly deep and back again. Liked how a topic that seems pretty trope (girl falls in love with famous boy) was handled with fresh verve, even if there is much need for suspension of belief. (Would parents of eighteen-year-old triplets, albeit one with a very serious illness, really let another one of them just go off and have a job in the entertainment industry without accompanying them to the contract signing or anything? Don’t expect the parents to be very realistic in this story. They’re basically out of the picture while being present.) Looks like this will be the start of a series, perhaps following the rest of the Heartbreaker boys? Any girl who is hopelessly fangirling over some current boy band member (One Direction, 5SOS [yes, who I know is not technically a boy band, but as we discover, neither are the Heartbreakers], K-pop’s hordes of boy bands…) would find this a delight.
Notes: Strong language.