by Ali Novak
published on August 4th, 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
young adult | contemporary | romance
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Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.
Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?
But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?
Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.
I’m going to reveal something to you that may lose you as my readers forever.
I am secretly obsessed with cheesy romantic Disney movies.
No, we’re not talking princesses and sing-a-longs. We’re talking about Disney Channel original movies like Starstruck and Geek Charming. Which I’ve watched enough times that I know all the words to all the songs from Starstruck and have played them on guitar. … Okay, anyone still with me? If you, too, love slightly corny-but-adorable teenage rom coms, then you will want to hug The Heartbreakers until Ollie pops out of the pages and does a solo song in your living room.
Novak’s big-league debut is a fluffy, sweet read that hooked my hopeless romantic side and delivered a flock of feels. I don’t like to admit that I have a soul, but it’s there, and it loves Stella and the Heartbreakers. Start with an aspiring photographer and a chance meet at Starbucks. Cue teenage daydreams and catchy pop tunes, then add four freaking adorable singers and sibling bonding. It’s the kind of story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s okay. This isn’t Wuthering Heights. It’s a witty 90s meet-cute fulfilling every teenage girl’s daydream of falling in love with a pop star.
And I loved it for what it was. If you’re looking for something fun and feel-good, Novak’s got you covered. Stella is a little cliche–the boy-band hating artsy sibling who realizes that maaaaaybe boy band members aren’t total airheads–but having basically been her at one point in my life, I could slip into her head right away. She overcomes her boy band aversion to score a signed CD for her sister, Cara, a huge Heartbreakers fan who’s been battling cancer for years. But when she and Drew, her hysterical and sweet brother, come up empty, the only real solution is to accost the Heartbreakers in their hotel room. (Did I mention they go to Chicago? Seriously, it’s like Novak was reading my 16-year-old soul.)
Stella and Drew end up having a crazy night of pool hopping and video games with the Heartbreakers, and Stella finds herself locking lips with Oliver, the suave and surprisingly kind-hearted frontman. She doesn’t think she’ll ever see him again, but the wild ride continues when the boys want Stella to come on tour with them and run their very own fan blog. The relationships that develop between Stella and the boys made my heart all sorts of warm and fuzzy. There’s J.J., the prankster; Xander, the flirt; Alec, the quiet and oh-so-sweet nerd. And then Oliver, who was all sorts of bantery.
Don’t get me wrong. The book has its rough points. The plot is obviously a little ridiculous, and there are points where Stella is snobby to the point of vicarious embarrassment. She even chews out the band the first time she meets them and somehow doesn’t earn their eternal wrath. The dialogue can also be a little cutesy; there were a number of times I rolled my eyes in between segments of swoony banter. If you aren’t up for something fluffy, then maybe you’ll think it’s too juvenile or cliche. But like, what do you freaking expect!? It’s a book that describes its own plot as a “cheesy love song!” Don’t read it expecting the next great American novel.
But if you’re in the right mood, The Heartbreakers is a rom com throwback with spunky characters, snarky romantic banter, sibling feels, and a plot full of crazy antics. It’s absolute wish fulfillment.
And I’m totally down with that.
I’m a font of useless knowledge and an endless source of sarcasm. Oh, and I guess I read, too.