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Fireworks Hardcover – April 11, 2017
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About the Author
Katie Cotugno is a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in Mississippi Review, Apalachee Review, Iowa Review, and Argestes, among other literary magazines, as well as on Nerve.com. Her first novel was How to Love. She lives in Boston with her husband, Tom.
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Top Customer Reviews
The narrator is Dana Cartwright. The book is told in 1st person POV.
The book starts off in 1997 in Jessell, Georgia. Dana and her best friend Olivia are 18 and have just graduated high school.
Dana lives with her mom and they are very poor. Her mom is a drunk who is never there for her. Olivia is in an opposite situation. She comes from a loving family and they don't struggle with money the same way Dana and her mom do.
Olivia has been performing her whole life. She brings Dana with her to Orlando to an audition. Everything changes after that audition.
The book was a cute YA story. I enjoyed it very much. The characters are 18 years old. There is some drinking and sex in the story. But it just read like YA to me. But it's probably not appropriate for anyone too young.
I liked Dana. I liked boy-bander Alex. There was a lot of stuff about pop stars in this story. And I really enjoyed that part of the book very much. It was fun to read about and I did not want to put the book down.
For the most part I enjoyed Dana and Olivia's friendship. It seemed genuine and I loved how close the author made these two girls. But there were definitely things that I didn't love, especially the ending. It really did not work for me. There were a few things that were resolved. But there were other things that I wish had been addressed.
Also, the book blurb makes it very clear that the story takes place in the 1990s. But unfortunately I did not read the book blurb right before reading this book. There is only one mention in the book of it being the 1990s. I saw that but then it was never mentioned again. That really didn't work for me at all since I completely forgot about it. In retrospect there were obviously some current things like cell phones that were not in the story. But Dana was so poor that it didn't click for me. I wish that the time period had been mentioned a few times.
Overall, this was a cute YA story. And I did enjoy it for the most part. I just didn't love where the story went at the end and I needed more of a conclusion than I got.
Thanks to edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for allowing me to read this book.
There was so much I loved about Fireworks. The setting, the characters, the romance, the friendship, the plot, the writing. I loved it all and I loved it all because it meshed flawlessly together. As soon as I started reading and realized these girls would technically be my age now, I was sucked in. Then I got the the 'boy band' part and I was transported to the 90s. Then I got to the romance and I swooned. And finally I got to the heartache of strained friendships and I bawled. The book was magical in its beautiful woven parts and made me a fan for life.
I really can't even find the words to tell you how genuinely in love I am with Fireworks. It was a book that just got me. I felt a connection to it and I just can't explain why. It wasn't what I expected yet it was what I wanted and more. Another must read in 2017.
Dana and Olivia live in Georgia and have been best friends forever. They do everything together, and spend pretty much all of their time together - Dana even spends her days and night over at Olivia's house, where Olivia's mother is way more caring and understanding than her own mother, who is absent most of the time and spends the rest of her days drinking and living her own life. When Olivia asks Dana to come with her to auditions in Florida for a girl group called Daisy Chain, Dana is hesitant at first, but finally agrees to come to help support Olivia. After all, what are best friends for?
When they get there, Dana is called in to audition, even though she had no interest in it. She essentially auditions as a joke, and surprise! She and Dana both get called back to be members of the girl group. Excited and in disbelief, they both pack their things and move into their new Florida apartment with their bandmates, Ashley and Kristin. While Olivia hits it off with the new girls from the very beginning, Dana thinks they are shallow and not her type of friend - instead, she spends her days missing her friends from her hometown, while not putting too much serious effort into being a part of the band.
When Olivia starts drifting and forming a close attachment with the other girls, Dana is left alone, and she quickly develops an attachment to a guy from the boy band Hurricane State, Alex. While she tries to hide their obvious attraction to each other, because he has been Olivia's crush for years, Dana finds herself hurt because of the way Olivia is behaving, and completely drawn to Alex even more, to the point where she no longer cares what anyone thinks - especially after she's tried to come clean to Olivia multiple times, only to have Olivia blow her off for something else.
"I felt like I was magic, like I could bend the entire universe to my will as long as I was up here. I felt confident and powerful and true. I could love this, I realized as we headed into our last song, building to the finale. More than that: I kind of already did."
As Dana finds herself drawn more and more to the show business scene, committing herself more than ever, she and Olivia drift further apart, especially when Olivia finds out about Dana and Alex. As tensions rise, Dana fights to stay in the band. However, the band eventually gets disbanded when the performances aren't up to par, and it leaves Dana and Olivia competing for a spot on the summer tour of a lifetime.
While I really enjoyed reading this, and it was one of those books I had a hard time putting down, I really couldn't connect to either Dana or Olivia's characters. They two of them treated each other in such a way that didn't make them seem as though they were the best friends. The way they fought was cruel, not being there for each other when they needed it most. They competed, they fought, and I didn't like Dana's character because she was either whining about how she felt like she wasn't good enough, or she was putting others around her down in order to get ahead.
I also didn't care much for Alex's character - especially when Dana caught him flirting with other girls, and she just looked past it and continued on with their relationship anyway.
Finally, I really disliked the way that Olivia's eating disorder was handled - Dana kept things a secret for Olivia, taking care of her and trying to make sure she was eating, but when they weren't talking, she just left things go. It seemed like while the author tried to make an effort to talk about an important issue - anorexia, it was done so in a lighthearted fashion that was almost an afterthought - a hurried attempt to throw a serious issue into the book so that it felt like it had more depth than it did. It wasn't touched upon as much as it should have been in my opinion, and instead kind of left the reader hanging in the end, when that part of the novel was not resolved.
What I did really enjoy about the book was how it puts the reader inside the life of a member of an all girl band, including the highs and lows that come with it. Like I said, I grew up in the 90's and boy and girl bands were a huge part of my life, so it was interesting to see how things worked out for the members of those bands.
The ending of this book threw me for a loop, especially when another major friendship bond is broken. I really think that the ending of this book would have been better had it been changed around a bit.
As my first Katie Cotugno book, I was kind of impressed, and I'll definitely read her other novels. I liked this book, but at the same time, it wasn't what I was expecting - I was a really strong friendship theme above all else. This is definitely a great summer read though!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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