Note: This ARC was provided by Spencer Hill Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Auditioning to be part of a reality dating show is something that seventeen-year-old Monet O’Neal never had in her life plan. The chosen contestants won’t be dating any regular nineteen-year-old either; they’ll have a chance to go on a date with musical artist Jeremy Bane, a dream for almost any living, breathing female. The girl Jeremy chooses at the end of the show wins thirty thousand dollars, and that’s Monet’s main goal. She needs the money in order to receive treatment for Fluxem, a disease passed on from person to person via saliva. But Jeremy is so much more than just a rock star and it feels as if he sees Monet differently from the nine other contestants. She may have joined the show for money and not love, but could there be a possibility of her winning both only for as long as her diagnosis and other secrets stay hidden?
Compared to other sub-genres under young adult (YA) fiction, dystopian stories remain in the minority of books that I have read. It’s not that I haven’t read any nor am I saying the ones I’ve read weren’t any good (because they were); it’s more of my tendency to lean more toward other sub-genres that are set in present times. When it came to Date with a Rockstar, it didn’t immediately register in my head that this was a dystopian read. This YA novel by Sarah Gagnon brought forth a world that anyone could easily recognize with changes that were more than plausible since environmental issues are things that have been discussed and debated over for decades. Add to that a sweet love story between a girl who saw herself as ordinary and a guy who was seen by the rest of the world as extraordinary and you’ve got yourself a book that mixes the familiar with the possible foreseeable future.
Monet O’Neal and Jeremy Bane’s love story is the kind teens and adult alike can immediately recognize because who among us has never hoped for our celebrity crush to not just notice us but to fall madly in love with us? You want to cheer these two on, even when Monet’s symptoms begin to become more noticeable, and, if I’m being honest here, they weren’t the kind you could use a bit of concealer on and they were a tad icky. You can’t help but want Monet to win both Jeremy and the money because the girl simply deserved to have good things happen to her for a change. The fact that Jeremy was such a good guy and that he wasn’t tainted by his celebrity made him potential book boyfriend material for teen readers out there. The other contestants were a mixed bag but some certainly stood out for a variety of reasons—both positive and negative—but Praline was my favorite because she was nutty but nice.
Aside from the romance, the setting of the story gives you pause because the characters here are living through the consequences of not caring enough for the environment. Who wants to live in a world where even going to the beach has to be closely monitored because of the ramifications brought about by careless citizens who use and abuse it? Nature is something that should be cared for if we want to continue to enjoy and experience it. I like that this book makes you think about more serious issues while still being able to make you sigh in contentment with a cute love story. And hey, when I say “cute”, it’s always a good thing. ^.^ Sarah Gagnon’s A Date with a Rockstar was a great debut and I’m giving it 4.5 stars. ♥
Release Date: 23 June 2015
Date Read: 13 June 2015
Learn more about Sarah Gagnon here.