Author: C J Skuse
Release date: 7th March 2010 UK
Genre: Contemporary YA Fiction
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Chicken House
Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she's right at the front. But when she's caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It's the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you've a rock-god in your garage who doesn't want to leave? Jody's stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place!
I have two words for this novel: incredibly fun. Apart from being incredibly fun and crazy at times (in a good way), the novel presents some of the issues of being a teenager and growing up, which can be hard when your dad left your mom (and consequently, you and your sister), your mom thinks you're on drugs and the only man you'll ever love (or so you think) is a celebrity that does not know you exist.
We all have or likes and obsessions, but the main point is that they are our own, not that we copy other people. It's important to be your own person, to keep good people by your side and find a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the vibe I felt while reading the novel.
Jody is an average teenager. She has problems, a mom who just doesn't understand, a best friend (who may be gay, but she can't be sure) and a huge celebrity crush. Her favourite band is The Regulators, a punk-rock phenomenon from America, and she loves the lead singer, Jackson Gatlin. She really loves him - she knows everything about him and she even became a vegetarian because he doesn't eat meat, and she tries to make herself like Stephen King books because his novels are another thing that Jackson loves and so, consequently, Jody must love them, too. Haven't we all gone through a similar phase when we were teenagers?
But things change for Jody when she accidentally kidnaps Jackson towards the end of the band's concert in Wales. She knows she shouldn't, but all Jody wants is one perfect day with Jackson, just as she has envisaged it so many times in her mind. Her best friend Mac is sucked into the madness, but stays by Jody's side reluctantly because that is what best friends do. Jody and Mac must hide Jackson somewhere and although there are many complications attached to this feat, Jody is thrilled to be so near Jackson, even if it means cleaning after him when he throws up on himself in their garage turned into a sound-proof music room. Yet, Jody soon realises that reality is very different from her dreams and Jackson is definitely not the man she has been obsessing about for so long. In fact, Jackson is obnoxious and Jody's world begins to fall apart.
This novel went into a completely unexpected direction. In all honesty, I expected a typical, predictable, slightly bizarre love story between Jody and Jackson, but the novel took a completely different and delightful turn, and I absolutely loved it. This is definitely a story about growing up and about discovering yourself. This relates to three characters in the novel - Jody, Jackson and Mac. They all go through several challenges that change their views on life. There is a love story, too, but it is simple, ordinary and sweet, and it is real. Your real boyfriend/girlfriend will always be better than your dream partner - because they are real; it's this simple. They can actually give you what you want and need, and this is another thing that Jody learns over the course of the novel. We must all have our dreams and ideals, but in the end we must settle for reality. Not because that's the only option we have, but because reality is great and we deserve it.
I loved the characters of Jody, Jackson and Mac. Jody is a confused teenager who is mourning the loss of her beloved grandfather who was just like her. She has family issues and all she wants is some approval and love, so she puts all her strength into Jackson. During the course of the novel, she learns to appreciate herself and what she has. Jackson is a major rock star, the "it" celebrity, the man that everyone wants. In fact, certain individuals want him so much they would kill him if he tried to do something a person of his standing is not supposed to do. He is pampered, prone to hallucinations and likes to boss people around. Fame weighs heavily on his shoulders and once he finds himself at Jody's house, he becomes determined to change that, which leads to an unexpected and delightful twist. Mac is Jody's best friend. He likes musicals, so Jody thinks he's gay, but Mac has a lot to offer. He is Jody's shelter and he would do anything for her. He puts up with a lot of her crazy things for a very good reason, Jody just doesn't know it because she's been blinded by Jackson.
The story flowed very smoothly and was dynamic. Jody is a great narrator and makes the novel a gripping read. My one complaint refers to detailed descriptions of bodily fluids leaving one's body, if you catch my meaning, and I confess, I'm squeamish about fluids that leave the human body through the mouth or the rectum. I can't help it, so naturally, I would complain about detailed description of it. However, this does not ruin the story in the slightest. I really loved the ending and although it was a slightly vague one, it answered all of my questions and made me smile.
This was a truly fun and different read and I truly recommend the novel. Be prepared: you will want to listen to a lot of rock music while reading this novel. But, I think this can only be a good thing.
Becky says: Irena, this sounds hilarious, daft and completely brilliant. I cannot wait to read it myself. Thank you to the wonderful people at Chicken House for sending us the book to review.