Book Review: For the Record by Charlotte Huang

Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.

For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
ISBN: 978-0553511826
Source: Bought
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Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything.

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?


When For the Record recently went on kindle sale for $1.99, I immediately jumped at the chance to get the book since it had been on my list of books to read for awhile. I was surprised though, that I started reading the book that very same night! That rarely happens. But I was in the mood for a music biz story and all of the drama that comes with it. And boy is there drama when you are the replacement singer in a band that everyone loved.

I loved all that was explored in this book, including but certainly not limited to… being the replacement in a band and having to accumulate to the dynamics of the guys in the band, dealing with the press asking the same empty questions as the replacement, having a crush on a bandmate but not being able to mix business with pleasure, realizing that rule was put into place after a bad experience before you joined the band, your parents and loved ones and ex friends inserting themselves into your lives more, knowing you’re talented but also being reminded in many different ways that you just don’t have the star power, oh, and did I mention, being a former reality singing competition contestant who is now a part of a legit band and has to prove herself when she’s only a singer and not a singer-songwriter-musician.

Yeah, there’s plenty to enjoy here. All of the above I was most interested in but if you think for one second that there’s only one guy in the picture for Chelsea, nope. A teen heartthrob has his eyes set on Chelsea and she notices. And she does something about it. So, bandmate crush and teen heartthrob love triangle, here you come. The guys aren’t fighting over each other for her and it’s not a love triangle that’s full of angst, not a love triangle I would roll my eyes at, not a love triangle that even really gets much attention. It was pretty simple and in this setting, I’d even say quite a natural progression, plus the romance isn’t the focus of the book, it’s really moreso in the background, so it worked here just fine. Romance aside, I really liked the dynamic between Chelsea and her best friend, Mandy, who she gave a job to and brought on the road with her… that is until the situation towards the end happened. That felt unnecessary to me. Realistic, sure. But it just didn’t flow for me here.

Overall, though For the Record was a solid read and just what I needed to read today. It’s a great summer read given the romance and the band touring – and if you’re in it for the music, you’ll love the song lyrics at the end of the book. I don’t want to say that Chelsea was necessarily a memorable main character. She was pretty standard for this kind of story and that’s okay because it worked, no bells and whistles required. This definitely reads as Quiet YA (and it would probably be a solid indie film with an unknown as the lead) so if you’re in the mood for a quick read, in the mood for drama in the music world (but drama that’s grounded and the stakes don’t stress you out like when you read, say, a dystopian), check this one out.

For the Record by Charlotte Huang is available today.