I’ve always been fascinated by musicians and the music industry so, when I heard about For The Record I knew that I needed to get my hands on it. I ended up flying through this book and read the entire novel within five hours. It’s so entertaining and you are immediately immersed in this story. There were so many aspects of this book that I really enjoyed and made this book one of my favorite books of the year.
Any music lover will appreciate how we were able to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be a rock stars. I know that there are a lot of YA books that primarily focus on music but what made For the Record such a unique book was how it deviated from the normal insta-famous cliche story. Its about a band, a group of artist learning to adapt to the recent departure of their lead singer and having to learn to accept someone new. Since the band, Melbourne, prides it self on being not being like “those superficial popstars” they dont accept Chealsea as an artist. Her past experience on a televised singing competition is something that they hold against her. We get to experience with Chelsea what it’s like to go from small town Michigan to now touring with an already established band all over the country. Chelsea has an incredible amount of pressure on her all the time, she is unaccepted by the band because they don’t feel like she’s a true artist, she has to deal with always being compared to their former lead singer. I really enjoyed reading about Chelsea as a character, while she did make a lot of mistakes and there were times were she was frustrating to read, it didn’t bother me that much because you could see that she was trying to find herself. That is just a tiny example of just well written the characters are in For the Record. All of the characters had very distinct characteristics and personalities. Pem was this bossy, anal, song writer who is obsessed with retaining artistic credibility. Beckett was the friendly guitarist who takes Chealsea under his wing and is the guy we all hope she ends up with. Malcom is the party boy of the band.
My favorite aspect of the book how we were able to see how these very different people come together to create art with their music and seeing the bond that they had with each other. Because the author is so familiar with how the music industry is ( she thanks in the acknowledgements Fall Out Boy!) there is a real authenticity to the book that make this a really refreshing read. We see all the people that make a band what it is the publicists, roadies, stage managers, agents, producers ect. We see how while it may be glamorous to tour the country and be one of the hottest indie bands ever there is absolutely no glamour in sharing a tour bus with three guys. I mean there were some scenes that take place on that bus that are gross!
The way For the Record is written it feel like we were right there in the tour bus with the band, in the audience the first time Chelsea performs with the band. There were some elements of romance which I enjoyed reading about but, I’m glad that it wasn’t the focal point of the story. While I really enjoyed For the Record I did have a few problems with the characters. For instance, I thought that Mandy’s behavior, while I did understand the motivation behind it, towards the end felt abrupt and uncharacteristic. I also didn’t understand the rift between Chelsea and her parents, I wished that it had been explained. Overall, this book is perfect for any contemporary fan and any music lover will really enjoy reading the lyrics to the songs mention in the book. There are some shocking revelations towards the end that will keep you immersed in the story as well as wanting for the book to be longer. I would highly recommend For the Record to anyone.