A Powerful Tale of Striving for Stardom

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readingrebecca Avatar


Five stars for this debut novel which is powerful in its realistically gritty portrayal of young teens fighting for fame in the world of pop music. One thing I really liked about author Isabel Banta's story telling was her ability to be describe difficult situations without gratuitous shock value. Every curse word or crude behavior is needed: from a mother's alcoholism and resulting cruel, cold-hearted behavior that hurts her own daughter to the take-no-prisoners fight for fame in recording studios, casting couch rooms, and agent interviews. Light touches of history are interspersed among the page-turning story of teenager Amber Young's attempt to make a career for herself with what she loves to do -sing. The historical references include some popular song titles of various years to occasional references to big national news. All of these flow smoothly with the plot. Nothing seems forced; nothing interrupts Amber's narrative. Of course, readers also share Amber's heartbreak with attempts to find romance and her disappointments with physical intimacy or attempts to feel grownup. I highly recommend this book. I have seen others compare this book to the memoir "I'm Glad My Mom Died," but despite Amber's mom being a verbally and mentally cruel Mommy-Dearest type parent, "I'm Glad..." did not feel like a comp title to me because the daughter/protagonist doesn't give up in the book HONEY. There also isn't any of the creepy physical touching from the mother as there was in Jennette McCurdy's memoir. While HONEY may not be literary fiction by some readers' standards, it is absolutely entertaining and has the potential for easy adaptation to the big screen or a streaming TV series!