Girls in bands books: Rachel Cohn, Sarra Manning, Lauren Laverne…

… I suppose I should have put Louise Wener in there as well, now she’s done her memoirs, but I didn’t like her at the time, so I can’t see myself bothering to read her latest tome… I never was a Britpop girl.

In the course of writing this book though, I did do a certain amount of research by trying to track down any other girls in bands novels out there. Two I read were Rachel Cohn’s ‘Pop Princess’, which was published in 2004, and is about a sort of Britney styled ‘pop princess’ type singer. The other was Sarra Manning’s ‘Guitar Girl’, which was published in 2003, and that’s about a genuine guitar-y girl band. I also read ‘Confessions Of A Backup Dancer’, which was hilarious, but perhaps not for the reasons that the author intended…

Anyway, I really wanted to like ‘Guitar Girl’, whilst having very low expectations for ‘Pop Princess’ when I started reading it, but in fact, I found that, whilst ‘Guitar Girl’ was very good on attention to detail, and on description, I didn’t actually like any of the characters very much. I found the heroine to be especially annoying, and I found the plot a bit contrived as well. By contrast, I found the characters in ‘Pop Princess’ to be much better, much more interesting, fully rounded characters, and had far less of a desire to give the heroine a good slap. True, I’m not the target audience for these kind of books, as both are teenage novels, but I don’t imagine demographics has ever stopped anyone from dissecting Harry Potter, so I don’t think it matters so much really.

What I found was that ‘Pop Princess’, whilst it didn’t feel like it had been written by someone in the music business, was very convincing in its telling, because the strength of the characters, and the unusual twists and turns of the plot, made it believable. By contrast, ‘Guitar Girl’ was clearly written by someone involved in the music business, but who seemed to be more into the details than the characters. Sarra Manning writes teenage fiction, but started her writing life at ‘NME’, amongst other places, whereas Rachel Cohn is an established writer of teen novels, and, so far as I was able to find out, has no connection to the music industry whatsoever. Yet I felt hers was the better book. Go figure… If you want an alternate take on Guitar Girl though, Emily and her little pink notes has quite a sweet take on it….

And now Lauren Laverne has written a young adult book about a girl with a band. The book is called ‘Candypop: Candy and The Broken Biscuits’, and is part 1 in a series. The heroine is called Candy, the band are called The Broken Biscuits. I haven’t read it yet, and despite maintaining an interest in all things Lauren related, this completely passed under my radar. Haven’t read it yet, but will be doing, and will post a review when I have…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Emily and Her Little Pink Notes
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 20:09:32

    One of the best Ya Book I read in 2010 is “I wanna be your Joey Ramone” by stephanie kuehnert, it’s Ya but it comes with a Irving Welsh’s recommendation on the cover and it’s about a girl Emily Blake, her band…it’s beautifully written, it deserves to be read


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