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Book Review: How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo

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Call it chick-lit, a guilty pleasure, sappy or over-indulgent; no matter what you call it How to Kill a Rock Star is a great book. Music, rock and roll, love, and pages worth of emotion are all wrapped up comfortably into Tiffanie DeBartolo’s coming of age romance novel.

How to Kill a Rock Star is a love story about the conflicted and cautious Eliza Caelum. Eliza moves to New York to become a music journalist. Tied up by many fears such as flying, Eliza typically shies away from adventure due to fear.

Upon her arrival in New York, Eliza moves in with her brother’s band mate, Paul Hudson. The two share many things in common, such as the death of their parents, and an extreme music obsession for rock god Doug Blackman. Despite efforts to keep it casual, the two roommates fall madly in love with each other.

As Eliza and Paul’s romance races forward full-throttle, Paul’s band Bananafish begins to grow increasingly popular. The band members of Bananafish are suddenly dealing with not only their new popularity, but also the corruption that lies within the music industry. Selling out is a major issue for Paul, and he is conflicted by the idea of giving into mainstream culture. Along the way, Eliza makes some rash decisions due to fear of holding Paul back from his destiny.

DeBartolo conveys clearly to the reader the emotions Eliza feels throughout the book. The second half of the book is a roller-coaster of emotions and deceit from all characters in the book, which will throw you for quite a loop.

DeBartolo portrayed the music business accurately throughout the novel; the extensive research she did on the industry is obvious. From skeezy record executives, to loathing freeloaders and groupies, DeBartolo includes it all. Bouncing back and forth between life on the road and the loved ones left at home, DeBartolo creates a personal connection with readers, leading them to feel the heartache contained in the story lying within How to Kill a Rock Star.

The one character that I didn’t feel fully developed was Eliza Caelum. Eliza is portrayed to be this mysterious nymph that rock stars fall at the feet of, but I contrarily felt her to be a bit uninteresting and bland. Compared to the rest of the outlandish characters and plots of the books she falls into the backlight as far as personality goes — even though she is the main character of the book.

How to Kill a Rock Star is definitely a book aimed towards young women. The lives portrayed by DeBartolo are completely relatable for twenty-somethings searching, not only for what in the world they are going to do with their lives, but also who they are going to spend their lives with. Life, love, and music fill the pages of this attention-grabbing novel surely to leave you coming back for more.

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About Sarah C Thomas