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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Wednesday, 23 November 2011 00:00|
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: there is a reason why people self-publish. I'm not saying every book published with a house is good writing -- far from that -- but it always makes me a little nervous when I notice a self-publishing label on the spine of a book.
Enter J.F. Kristin's Rock Star's Girl. The book is set in Los Angeles, and follows the life of Emily Watts, a workaholic internet entrepreneur, as she gets caught up in a love triangle between her good friend, musician Jesse Cinder, and Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping band. The story starts out with a great opener that definitely got my attention, and the first chapter presents a conflict within the first few pages. It drew me in and I wanted more, but as one chapter melded into another, the storyline did not progress; I have to be honest, I started getting bored. Much of the book consisted of Emily going on dates with Cory, being warned by her best friend Shelby about her poor dating decisions, interventions with Jesse, and then right back to the start. It wasn't until chapter fifteen, or two-hundred and twenty pages later, that things really started to pick up, and that the reader begins to feel like something is happening. Emily's business is starting to suffer from the media exposure and she starts getting celebrity notoriety (always an interesting topic when you live in the city of angels). Unfortunately, the resolution to Emily's problems does not involve her solving them herself -- which in my opinion is a huge character flaw. And the ending? Anti-climactic.
If you're looking for believable characters who are also easy to follow, then this book has that covered. But I think Kristin missed the mark when she was anticipating the reactions her readers would have concerning her characters' behaviors. For example, Emily's main squeeze, Cory, was a genuinely good guy. I did not see where this media spin was coming from, since there was nothing in the character's actions or dialogue to lead me to believe he was anything more than a man who's realizing he's falling in love. Shelby, on the other hand, was poorly developed, and I would have liked to get a better feel for her, since she seems like someone Emily really relied on. I found myself uninterested in scenes with Shelby, because they always felt somehow detached. Jesse and Emily, on the other hand, were well thought out and I could relate to them, which made their scenes and dialogue quick and easy to move through.
If it was just a matter of a weak story line, I would give this book a thumbs up and send it on its way. Sadly, this is not the case. I don't know if my opinion will count for much considering I don't read chick lit very often, but it felt like the manuscript still had a draft or two of crucial rewrites to get through prior to publishing. I found the language too casual and choppy, and where one spot lacked the necessary scene settings, another spot had too many. Near the end I found myself taken out of the story, skipping sentences and wanting to 'get on with it.' As somebody who's been reviewing writing for several years now, I would not say the prose was ugly, but it was far from attractive.
It really is a shame to see these issues in Rock Star's Girl. All of them would have been a quick fix, nothing more than an extra tweak to strengthen and tidy up the writing and the plot. I still think the story is intriguing, but I would need more in order to pick up this book again. With a little more work, it could have been a really fun, light read.