For The Record by Charlotte Huang is a behind-the-scenes look at what happens when a small town girl is thrust into the spotlight when she becomes the lead singer of a famous band. Think a YA book version of JEM or That Thing You Do. Chelsea has resigned herself to returning to her small town life after losing a televised singing competition. Then she gets a phone call offering her an opportunity that will thrust her back into the Hollywood limelight. In this fast and easy read, Huang brings to light what life on tour is really like.
My favorite character was Chelsea. She’s easy to relate to, and well grounded. That said, I took about half the book for me to connect with her. I attribute this to the character growth that happened during the last half of the book. She’s also the only character that felt full developed to me. In comparison to Chelsea’s vibrant voice, the other members of the band and side characters felt flat.
The romantic storyline to this seemed underdeveloped as well. I think this would have been just as enjoyable as a coming-of-age story without the weak romance. I just wasn’t feeling the chemistry between the two. Their relationship felt more like a friendship to me.
Despite the issues I have with the characters and the romance in this book, I still found it an entertaining read. I think it is a good coming-of-age story about friendships and being true to yourself. I would have liked to see the other members of the band be more developed. They felt very monotone and interchangeable for me. If you like contemporary YA fiction with a musical theme then you will most likely enjoy this book.