This is the story of Marti Hunter, who is attending a small arts camp in Northern Wisconsin for teens to immerse herself in photography. Adam Jamieson is also attending for the same reason. He has cut off his hair and is going by the name “AJ” so no one will know he is the famous rock guitarist in his band of brothers; he just wants to have a normal experience for once.
Marti is herself the daughter of a famous rock guitarist from the band Graphite Angels. But her dad is an irresponsible louche and her mother is an addict. She lives with her Grandma.
At the camp, all the kids attending become Insta-BFFs. Some even pair up. Marti and AJ are attracted to one another until Marti finds out that AJ is really Adam. Because of her dad, she has a very bad opinion of rocker guitarists.
So they have a love – then hate – then love thing going on, culminating in a first sexual encounter for both of them. But extenuating circumstances cause both Marti and AJ to have to leave camp ahead of schedule, and they wonder if they will ever see each other again (when not wondering if Marti could be pregnant).
Discussion: This is one of several books in a series concerning a boy band and the girls with whom the members get involved. My niece turned 14 in June and she loves these books, so I wanted to read at least one in order to see what was floating her boat. The two main protagonists are 16. They and all their friends are gorgeous, relatively prosperous, and white. They think stilted thoughts and have hackneyed dialogue.
“AJ’s friendly demeanor made her feel like she’d known him forever.”
“The sun kissed his hair with blond highlights, and a bronze tan covered his body.”
“When their lips parted to take a breath, Adam’s eyes turned dark with little flecks of gold passion sparkling in their brown depths.”
Guys who think about their girlfriends or show them consideration are “whipped.”
There is also the usual stereotypical image of the strong yet gentle boy, and the appealingly smaller and protection-needing girl:
“As the sound faded, Marti stayed in AJ’s secure arms a few seconds longer. He had strong arms and a solid chest, as if he could protect a girl from anything.
“He held her gently and she began to cry. … Her tiny body shook as the tears fell.”
Kind of a horrifying image, isn’t it? It is also illustrative of the point I was making in a recent post about the deleterious nature of male-driven notions of eroticism that characterize even books written by women.
As noted above, Adam and Marti, barely out of pre-school (at least from my adult perspective) quickly graduate to having sex. Unprotected even. Holy cow! But they do “learn” from this and vow never to do such a thing again, that is, without taking precautions.
I send my niece Rainbow Rowell. I send her John Green. I send her Maggie Stiefvater. But she prefers these books by Angie Stanton. But you know what, I get it. When I was that age, there was nothing that filled my head more than dreams of meeting up with the latest rock star and having him discover out of all the people in the universe, **I** was his dream girl. Weird. Must be genetic. (However, I did not include sex in my fantasies. I didn’t even know about such a thing! These kids today!)
Evaluation: The idea of a romance with a member of a boy band will be very appealing to at least some tween readers.
Note: This is number two in the series, but it reads like a standalone.
Published by Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013