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Review: Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna [ARC]

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 § 0 Comments

Title: Piece of My Heart
Author: Lynn Maddalena Menna
Genre: Young Adult, Music, Contemporary
Publisher: Merit Press
Release date: June 18, 2013
ISBN-10: 1440561052
ISBN-13: 9781440561054
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Still in high school, Marisol Reyes gets the chance of a lifetime to be a real singer, and she leaps at it. After all, this is the dream she held on to, all the days and nights she spent growing up on means streets of East Harlem. Marisol never gave in--no matter what her boyfriend or her best friend had to say. Who cares if only one in a hundred pretty, talented girls make it? She will be the one. In her rush to fame, Marisol tramples on the heart of her loyal best friend, and Julian, the boy she loves. But will it be worth it?

One night at a private gig in the Hamptons, the little Latino girl with the big voice from East Harlem gets a severe reality check. A famous rapper who claims to be interested in her talents turns out to be interested in something else, threatening not only Marisol's dreams but her body and soul. Will the realities of the gritty New York music scene put out the stars in Marisol's eyes forever?

My Review:
'Piece of My Heart' is your typical musician's fairytale; small town girl with big dreams suddenly gets thrust into the industry and finds out that it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's all very Sherrie Christian in Rock of Ages... minus the stripping. But instead of taking place in Hollywood, we're taken across the country to New York. Marisol is blessed with golden pipes and knows that she's made for more than small gigs at weddings and birthday parties. But is she ready?

Told from Marisol's perspective, Menna paints a pretty picture of both the gritty streets and glamorous side of the Empire State with its music, fashion, and nightlife, all of which are described very vividly. The music industry is all about connections, and boy does our starlet encounter a lot of those. Marisol, with all her teenage naïveté, is easily pulled into different situations that she gladly jumps into because, well who doesn't want to become a famous singer, right? She's travelling all over New York and playing gigs with people who, just months before, only played in her stereo as she danced and lip-synched to them in her room with her best friend. Speaking of best friends, while Marisol is living the high life, her relationships with her friends back home goes through the ultimate test and finds out that even those nearest and dearest to her might not be the people she thought them to be.

While I liked the premise (and the fact that the title is undoubtedly taken from one the greatest songs ever), I felt disconnected from all the characters throughout the whole story. But it had potential overall. Marisol's relationships with everyone went back and forth so much that it was hard to keep track of who she was actually friends with in the beginning. Maybe I would've liked it better if it wasn't written in first-person perspective, because Marisol's always moving around and there are a lot of other characters that it's hard to keep track of what's going on. I also wished that the issues Marisol faced were more fleshed out. Sometimes she went through big, big changes in her life and career, but it'd be over and onto the next issue just pages later. The narrative made me cringe at a few places, especially when she was performing. It just got really cheesy sometimes. Like Marisol was too good for her own good, if that makes sense. There's belief in your own talent, and then there's being cocky about it. There was also a lot of focus on describing the settings and fashion that it took away from the characters. Yes, it's interesting to know how great you think you look in that white dress with white-gold shoes, and how gorgeous your friend looked in her skin-tight mini dress that reached just above her knees, but for it to take up that much space? It all felt a little superficial.

'Piece of My Heart' is a light read, but if you're looking for some deep, thought-provoking fiction about someone truly struggling to make it in the music industry, this might not be for you. Behind it all is a rather relatable story about a teenage girl struggling to find her place in the real world as she finds out that sometimes the only person you can trust to make the best decisions for your life is, ultimately, yourself.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Merit Press for providing me with the ARC.

My rating:

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