ARC Review: Keeping the Beat by Jeff Norton and Marie Powell

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Keeping the Beat
Authors: Jeff Norton and Marie Powell
Publisher: KCP Loft
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): It was supposed to be the best summer of her life. Instead, seventeen-year-old Lucy finds her best friend, Harper, shot dead in an LA swimming pool. How did things ever go so wrong? The story circles back to trace the steps that led to this disaster.

Only Harper McKenzie could have taken five girls from their school and reinvented them as Crush, the top prospect to win the international talent contest Project Next. As soon as the band finds its footing, it scores a huge win in the UK semifinal. Next stop, LA!

The girls will spend a luxurious summer in Hollywood, living as reality TV stars while they prepare for their performance in the Project Next final. With a mansion to themselves, they’re the toast of the town … living every girl’s dream come true.

It’s way too late when Lucy discovers that Harper’s heart has never been in Project Next at all. Joining the competition was just part of Harper’s elaborate ruse to reconnect with her no-good ex-boyfriend. Harper will risk anything — from her friendships to the band’s reputation — to get him back.

Meanwhile, the other members of Crush are throwing themselves headfirst into sex, drugs and rock and roll. With the band in crisis and the final approaching, Lucy must decide whether she wants to play to Harper’s beat or set the rhythm for the rest of the band.

This fast-paced story takes unexpected twists, unraveling the mystery of Harper’s murder and exploring the complicated relationships among members of the band. Writing team Marie Powell and Jeff Norton — with many years in the entertainment business between them — deliver one-part wish fulfillment and one-part cautionary tale as they go behind the scenes to reveal what no one sees on “reality” TV.

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Keeping the Beat is all about a girl band and the tough life on a reality TV show. Each of the girls are so different and really transform throughout the story. The big themes in the book, such as drugs and eating disorders, really add some depth and make the story more intense. I would recommend this book, as it does a good job of taking the reader behind the scenes.

This book is all about a group of girls who form a band and work their way to stardom. I loved the way that normal British girls are thrown into the world of music and must adjust to life in LA. What is interesting about Keeping the Beat is the fact that the ending is shown in the first chapter, and the book has a bit of a mystery aspect added to the girls’ life of luxury. I am a sucker for both arts and thriller novels, so I really enjoyed this combination.

There is such an amazing cast of characters in Keeping the Beat! The girls of Crush joined as (basically) strangers,  and it is so interesting to watch them get to know each other and become real bandmates. Each musician has such a unique personality, and the girls are all so different from each other. My favourite character is probably Iza, as she transforms from a shy and quiet girl into such an independent individual. Female friendships are something that I always love to see, and I was thrilled to see a girl gang in this book.

There are some pretty heavy topics discussed in the book, which really made it more than just some girls living a life of luxury. Right off the bat, one of the main characters is shot and killed. Drugs, eating disorders, and body image are also incorporated and show the reader how easy it is to get caught up in all of it. I enjoyed how Keeping the Beat shows the media’s image of beauty and what can happen if you try too hard to make yourself “perfect.” The pressure on girls to look and act a certain way is really strong, and the fact that this book is able to educate a little bit about this is excellent.

Keeping the Beat is about a British girl band and contains many distinct characters. The themes in the story are pretty intense, but also educate the reader. I would recommend this book, especially to fans of the musical genre.

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: Keeping the Beat by Jeff Norton and Marie Powell

  1. Jaime Lynn says:

    This sounds very different from anything I have read. Definitely interesting, though! I can’t imagine being thrust into stardom. I honestly do not believe it is something that could handle. But I would love to read about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly says:

    This book sounds really interesting – especially with the fact that it incorporates music into the story! Definitely going to have to check this one out – great review!

    Like

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