Monday, May 23, 2016

Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

Title: Red Velvet Crush
Author: Christina Meredith
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication date: June 14, 2016
Pages: 304
Source/format: ARC from publisher from Irish Banana's Harper Teen Summer 2016 Tour

Rating: ☆☆

Synopsis (from

Rock music, a broken family, challenging sisters, and the crush of first love—Red Velvet Crush has everything you need in a summer read. For fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Eleanor & Park, and This Song Will Save Your Life.

Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

M Y  T H O U G H T S 

Teddy Lee Carter is the middle child. Her older brother Winston and younger sister Billie are always getting in trouble. Ever since her mother left her family, it's always been her siblings and her dad. Winston started working at a radio station and has a great idea to form a band. After auditions, Ty, Jay and Ginger Baker join Teddy Lee and Billie to create Red Velvet Crush. After practicing in the garage, Winston's boss is able to secure gigs at small bars and clubs. However, Billie is getting more attention than Teddy Lee. Billie is in the spotlight and Teddy Lee is upset that Billie always gets what she wants. Sadly, because of the tension between Teddy Lee and Billie, things don't end up well with the band.

Although Red Velvet Crush seems like a typical story about a girl in a band, it is not. There is a lot of focus on the family dynamics. A single dad is raising three children after his wife leaves him and the family for good. Barely scraping by, he is able to provide food and shelter by working more than one job.

Winston and Billie are always getting in trouble and Teddy Lee is definitely feeling the middle child syndrome. She wants to be in the spotlight once in awhile but even when she is so close to pursuing her passion, her sister messes up. Billie is selfish and she is definitely annoying. It was hard to read about how Billie takes advantage of Teddy Lee. Billie knows that her sister will give in to whatever she wants and it's frustrating to read about. I seriously wanted to give her a slap or two.

The romance in the book is straight on instalove. It is all lust and no love. Teddy Lee and Ty had no connection in their relationship beyond the physical. Yes, he cared about Teddy Lee wanting to sing her own songs and all but I didn't see any development in the relationship pass the crushing and lusting. They didn't see a connection building into something more.

The plot was all over the place and it was hard to figure out what the main focus of the book is. According to the synopsis, Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters and much more than that. I find the writing weak on the sisterly part. All I read is Billie always getting what she wants and Teddy Lee wanting to shine once in awhile. Teddy Lee gets so annoyed to the point where she gives in ALL the time. Even when Teddy Lee gets to front the band, she pretty much gives up. Billie pushes her buttons.

I wish Meredith delved more into the music scene by weaving the sisterly relationship with ins and outs of being in a band. I wanted that feeling I got when I read For the Record. There is lack of character development in the novel. I wanted to see growth between the characters and I didn't see much growth at all. Billie stayed like Billie and did what she wanted to. The guys in the band did their own thing. Winston continued to be Winston. And Teddy Lee didn't live up to my expectation. I wanted her to claim her own ground. I wanted her to say, "I deserve this moment to shine." I wanted her to finally be able to be in limelight. Instead, I got a girl who gives in to what her sister wants. She gives up. I want to see a strong female character who won't let her siblings push her around.

Red Velvet Crush is contemporary novel suited for those who don't mind reading about doing something spontaneous and trying to find out what you want to make of yourself.

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