Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.
When I asked for music-themed contemporary YA books, Audrey, Wait! was one of the titles that people kept recommending. I decided to borrow it when I saw that a copy was available at the library. I thought it would be a good idea to read this along with my good friend Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks because she mentioned that she hasn’t read this one either. I had so much fun reading this with Heidi – we divided the book into several sections and we’d email each other back and forth about our thoughts after we’re done reading certain parts. We managed to talk about so many other things during the course of our discussion – ice cream, bands, laundry, college and work. Feel free to check out what she has to say about the book.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!
Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.
What I liked about this book is that it focuses on music but the main character isn’t a musician. Audrey is a music lover but she doesn’t play an instrument and she’s not part of a band. Most of the other music-themed books that I’ve read have musicians as main characters instead of just being music fans. I kind of thought it’s like being a book lover but not a writer. I felt like I could relate to Audrey more because of that. And I enjoy listening to music even if I don’t love it as much as she does. This book reminded me of what it was like to attend various gigs and campus concerts back in college. Like Audrey, I had friends back then who were members of bands. Although there was never a song written about me.
One thing I noticed right off the bat is that the story isn’t realistic in the sense that things got blown way out of proportion. I mean, how many songs out there are about girls who broke a guy’s heart (or vice versa) and how many times does the public go after the subject of the song? I was fine with the whole thing as long as I recognized that reading it would involve a fair amount of suspension of disbelief. The breakup didn’t even involve a lot of drama – Evan wasn’t really a bad guy, Audrey just decided that things weren’t that great between them. It was supposed to be a normal high school breakup until Evan wrote a song about Audrey that suddenly became popular.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book, the banter between the characters was fun to read. I liked Audrey’s friendship with her BFF, Victoria, and it was cool how reasonable her parents were. We rarely get to see great parents in YA novels so it’s always a good thing when they appear. However, I wasn’t such a fan of the second half. I really can’t put my finger on why that is but I just didn’t find it as engaging as the start of the novel. I guess it felt a bit rushed and I was waiting for a bigger, more complex climax to the story. Also probably because I felt like the romance could have been developed further. It really is a fun book to read but I think my expectations were pretty high because so many other blogger friends loved this. If you’re into music-themed contemporary YA, then I think you’d really enjoy this one. I wanted to make a playlist of all the songs featured as chapter headings – I think it would have been great if I could have listened to that while reading the book. I’m curious still curious about Robin Benway’s other books and will definitely check them out when I get the chance.