Published by Hachette, Hachette Australia on Feburary 2017
Genres: Adolescence, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family, Fiction, Friendship, Love & Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Amelie Ayres has impeccable taste in music. Bowie. Bush. Bob. So when she finds herself backstage at The Keep's only UK gig she expects to hate it; after all they are the world's most tragic band. In fact she feels a grudging respect - not (obviously) for their music, but for the work that goes in to making them megastars. And when lead singer, 'Maxx', is not dressed up as a cross between Elvis and a My Little Pony, he is actually rather normal, talented and has creative struggles not too dissimilar to her own. But the next morning she wakes up and rolls over to discover a million new @'s on social media. Overnight, a photo of her at the gig has made her a subject of global speculation. Suddenly the world needs to know #Who'sThatGirl? - but for all the wrong reasons. All Amelie wants is to play her music. She's got the guitar, the songs, the soul and, in the safety of her bedroom, she's got the voice. But when it comes to getting up on stage, she struggles with self-doubt. Immaculate's a concept. Flawless is fake. But just sometimes music - and hearts - can rock a perfect beat.
Have you ever read a book only to realise it’s a hundred percent better than the blurb led you to believe? That was the case with Rebecca Denton’s This Beats Perfect.
This book surprised me because I went in expecting to read boyband fanfiction. Instead what I got was a beautiful story about music, friendship, love and growing up. Seventeen year old Amelie Ayres is not the boyband type. You’re more likely to find Oasis and the Beatles on her playlist than One Direction or bubblegum pop. When her father invites her backstage at a concert for The Keep, Amelie goes along even though she’s not sure their songs even qualify as real music. It’s there that things start to get interesting and Amelie finds herself having to face some hard decisions regarding her own musical future.
What sets This Beats Perfect apart from other books is how perfectly is blends the unrealistic with reality. Getting up close and personal with the biggest popband is somewhat of a fantasy for many a fangirl. And whilst this premise could come across as cheesy it works in this book. I think that’s because this is a book which doesn’t take itself so seriously. It takes a swing at the boyband industry yet respectfully acknowledges its place in music world. Social media is embraced and events in the novel feel like a real life representation of what might actually happen if Amelie really did brush shoulders with a world famous pop group. And whilst this book has elements of romance, what shines is the story of a young woman finding her place in the world.
The characters are interesting. Amelie is the product of a summer romance and her relationship with both of her parents is complicated in different ways. Whilst they both love her and support her, their own lives have caused them not to be the most stable of influences on Amelie. I loved how her parents interacted with her and each other. Amelie’s best friend Maisie was delightful to read and the differences between Maisie and Amelie just helped to show how strong their friendship was. The supporting cast of characters who are involved in the music scene were entertaining and helped move the plot along without taking over the focus.
There is a romantic storyline in This Beats Perfect with Amelie getting to know The Keep’s resident bad boy better through their shared love of music. It’s sweet and moves along at a steady pace. It’s not a grand romance but it is perfectly pleasant and was nice to read.
This Beats Perfect surprised me in so many lovely ways. It’s a fun take on the music scene from the perspective of a teenage girl wanting to break in and create something real. The relationships shine with Amelie’s friendships and her parents feeling wonderfully authentic and real. It’s also a lot of fun and nothing like so much of the boy band fanfiction which seems to be floating around the universe at the moment.
Many thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy.