Title: Backstage Pass Collection: Aimee and the Heartthrob, Mia and the Bad Boy, Daisy and the Front Man, Anya and the Shy Guy, and Abby and the Cute One
Author: Ophelia London, Lisa Burstein, Rebekah L. Purdy, Suze Winegardner, and Erin Butler
Series: Backstage Pass series #1-5
Genre: YA contemporary romance, rock star
Published: December 5th, 2016
Source: Netgalley from Entangled Teen Publishing
My rating: 5 stars
Thanks to Entangled Teen Publishing for allowing me to read this complete collection. I have read a lot of adult contemporary rockstar romance stories before. This is my first time with teen versions. And as they are about a boy band, well, that made it perfect! I am a huge New Kids on the Block fan. I've never missed a single one of their concerts in my town. In fact, a couple weeks ago I had to buy tickets to their next concert this coming summer of 2017! So the whole boy band aspect was a blast for me! All of the stories in this were really good, although the last one was not my favorite. What is perfect about having them all collected together is that it is about a boy band, and so after every story, or during each story, you want to know what will happen for the other guys in the band. Below I will give a quick synopsis of my thoughts on each story within the collection.
Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London:
Aimee's story is connected with the British guy in the band, Miles. The five guys in the band, Seasons to Juliet, or S2J for short, were all chosen on a reality tv show. Miles was friends with Aimee's brother when they were younger. She'd always had a crush on him, and he'd always been nice to her. But once he went away, her brother told her that Miles had never liked her, in fact he'd made fun of her having a crush on him. So when she ends up having to tag along with her brother on tour with the band for two weeks while her parents are out of town and her best friend is sick, so she can't stay with her, she is prepared for being miserable and feeling humiliated. Miles is the "heartthrob" of the band. You know, the British accent does it. Plus he's very flirty. And when he first sees Aimee, not realizing who she is, he is very attracted to her. Then, he finds out who she is, and she doesn't want to talk to him. But when it seems like what her brother told her may not be the truth, and maybe Miles really is interested in her, she can't keep up her anger with him.
This was probably one of my favorites of the collection. I loved the reference to Prince in the beginning. Then, when I was almost done with this one, there was a part that I was almost in tears about! The emotions in this one were high! Of course at the end when the author said that NKOTB was inspiration, I knew I wanted to hang out with her!
Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein:
Mia is on the tour to be Ryder's tutor, because he never finished high school. Ryder is the bad boy of the group. Part of his bad boy issue is that he feels like he is selling out making the type of music that S2J makes. He wants to do his own type. Plus, he's kind of a jerk to Mia. But he doesn't want anyone to know that he has a tutor, and so Mia must pretend to be his girlfriend. Which means she has to share his hotel room at times. Mia's mother is very protective, and if she knew that was going on, she would pull Mia back home. The only thing her mother wants is for her to do really well in school and go to college like they've planned. This may not be exactly what Mia wants though. Mia is a very good singer, as well as writing songs. Ryder discovers that in getting to know her, and the two of them do spark a connection with all the time spent in the tutoring sessions and pretending to be dating. But there are more secrets than just not passing a test that Ryder doesn't want out, and when they do get out, he knows he only told Mia, so how else did the press find out?
I love that the author dedicated this one to Donnie Wahlberg! At one point he was one of my favorites of NKOTB. But then I decided Jordan Knight was my favorite. However, lately, after watching the reality tv show Wahlburgers, I'm kinda into Donnie again. Mia's story and Aimee's story were definitely favorites of mine in this collection!
Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy:
Daisy's story starts out with what has to be one of the most humiliating things that could happen to a girl in high school. She had won a contest to have Trevin Jacobs take her to her Homecoming dance. But when he doesn't show up, in front of the whole town and all the local news stations, she vows to never want to be his fan again. Then, well, her mom is going out of the country with her new boyfriend, and so Daisy ends up going to spend the time with her dad, who hasn't been around for most of her life since he came back from the war. Her dad just happens to be a bodyguard for S2J When Trevin doesn't even recognize Daisy, she's even more upset. But knows that she is going to do her best to get revenge. Ryder, the bad boy from before, still pretty much the same, bets Trevin he can't get this girl to fall in love with him, especially when everyone sees how much she seems to hate him. Not knowing about the bet, Daisy decides making him fall in love with her and then ditching him might be another good way to get revenge. When it all comes down to the end, both of their lies will clash, and it will all blow up in their faces. One of the band members does figure out who Daisy is, but she begs him to keep it quiet, because she wants Trevin to remember on his own.
The problems trying to get together around Daisy's dad made for some funny parts, and overall, I really liked the story and the characters here. I had one or two issues with this. Some things that I feel like could have been done a little different, but overall, it was still very good! I also like that Trevin was from a town in Kansas!
Anya and the Shy Guy Suze Winegardner:
Anya is homeless, and she has been since her mother just up and left her alone in their house one day. She's lived on the streets for a while, and knows the way that life is. When she writes some very well-praised articles on the homeless and homeless shelters, she is given the chance to report on one of the band members, turns out it will be the shy guy. Will is not who she wanted to interview. He's definitely attractive, they all are, but she wants to talk to all of them, and she's hoping to get some kind of scoop for the magazine so that she can make a really big paycheck. When she meets Will, he doesn't seem like the shy guy he's been made out to be. But she kind of connects with him anyway, even though she knows that nothing can happen from that, since she can't tell him where she's from, or how old she actually is. Will is not really who he says he is thought. Will is actually Matt, Will's twin brother. He's filling in for his brother who is in rehab after an accident that led to taking pain pills soon led to addiction for him. Only their horrible manager LJ threatened to ruin his mother if they took time away from the band for rehab, so this was the only way they could think to do it. So now that Matt is falling for Anya, he doesn't know what in the world he can do that she won't end up hating him when she finds out he isn't really who he says he is. Of course in the end something blows up to ruin things, this time it is the fault of one of the opening acts for the band, a horrible girl who is jealous of the girls, and vindictive as well.
This was one of my three favorites of the story for sure. I didn't see the homeless aspect coming in, but I really liked how it changed the way the story went, and I felt like it was a fresh twist on the rock star story.
Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler:
The final story is about the youngest band member, who is now also the only single one left, Nathan. their manager, LJ, is very insistent that he must remain single, although they want him to seem accessible to the fans, so they have him going on fake dates. One night after a fake date that Nathan can barely stand to get through, he convinces the bodyguard he's with, Beau, Daisy's dad, to let him go for a walk down by the river. There he meets one of the girls who is going to try out to be the opening act to replace the girls from before. Her name is Abby, she is young like Nathan, and when he hears her singing, he realizes he's seen her videos on YouTube, and he has been very impressed. They have a connection that first night. They even kiss. But soon Nathan realizes that if she gets the gig, they won't be able to continue where they seem to want to go, because LJ won't let any of them date any of the opening acts, not to mention he wants Nathan to follow his fake dating/relationship plan with an actress he'd been on dates with. Nathan and Abby have a lot of problems staying apart, and when word seems to get out about the two of them, LJ threatens to fire Abby and even possibly fire Nathan. Abby does great after she gets her feet under her as an opening act, and she doesn't know if she'll be able to have her cake and eat it too, have her chance at singing stardom, and the boy she is falling in love with.
This one was okay. Still a good story, but a little boring for me. And I don't understand why Nathan didn't come to the same conclusion as everyone at the end did, the conclusion that saved the whole story. But that's okay, it overall still worked.
If you like rock star romances, ya contemporary romance, boy bands, etc., you definitely need to give this collection a try!