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Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell was sent to me by the Amazon Vine review programme in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I’d already been told by a friend of mine who had read this that she loved it, and she thought I might too. I’m glad to say she was right.

It isn’t the usual kind of thing I love, I have to say. It’s very readable, not too thinky, quite whatever the teen version of chick lit is, full of improbable plot lines and ridiculously far fetched romances, but nevertheless it struck a chord. It reminded me very strongly of the books I used to love myself as a teenage girl, and transported me right back to those times when I had my favourites and read and re-read them over and over again. It has all the things in I would have looked for in a book back then. It has a strong female character who is a bit of an outcast, misunderstood but loyal, artistic and slightly suffering for her art. It has gorgeous boys in it, that tear the heroine’s heart in two having to choose between them. It has drama. It has high octane excitement. It’s just teenage girl wish fulfilment writ large.

Charlie is a sixteen year old girl who loves taking photos and is considered to be an outsider geek at school. She lives with her dad after her mum died when she was very young. Her mother’s memory haunts the book and her back story is part of the unsolved mystery of this book, which will hopefully be resolved in the second book of the trilogy, due out in 2017.

Charlie’s life is transformed when she gets a message from an ex school mate, who just happens to be one of the hottest boys in the hottest boy band on the planet. He remembers her from school and wonders if she wants to come and take pictures of the band for their fan page. As you do.

Charlie, after some hesitation, says yes, and what unfolds is a page turning romantically complex story with a darkly mysterious sub plot that lifts the book out of the ordinary and makes it super compelling.

Recommended for girls aged 11 and up.

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