When Dana accompanies her best friend Olivia to auditions for a new singing group in Orlando, she doesn't expect her whole life to change. But when the producer putting the group together scouts both her and Olivia, Dana is thrust from a life in the background to a life in the spotlight. As both girls spend time learning how to be pop stars, drama starts to brew behind the scenes - friendships turning into rivalries, unexpected romance and the endless possibilities of a future in the limelight. Will Dana and Olivia's friendship survive the opportunity of a lifetime?
Plot? While I was reading Fireworks, I mentioned to Rachel that it read like fan fiction. (I would know - I used to write my own boy band fan fiction back in the day!) It is told from the perspective of main character Dana, and allows the reader to experience the barrage of new things in her life alongside her: an opportunity for a future that leaves her small-town life far behind, a budding romance with the boy (sort of) next door, a shift in her relationship with her best friend. Cotugno successfully weaves all of these things into one quick read that has equal parts fluff and drama. While I didn't particularly find this plot refreshing or new, I did still fly through the pages of this book.
Character? I didn't necessarily love Dana, but I could appreciate her character growth. Cotugno has always had a knack for creating complex characters, unafraid to embrace both their flaws and their talents - and Dana was no exception. She didn't always make the right choices, and her reactions were often instinctive. But that just drove the realness of her character home, and it made it especially poignant to discover she was a different person by the end of the story. (The secondary characters were decent, but I didn't particularly find any of them remarkable. Except Alex, who was a sweetheart, but certainly didn't get enough page time, in my opinion.)
Writing? It's really undeniable that Katie Cotugno is a great writer. She has a knack for writing stories that are impossible to put down once you start them, and Fireworks is no exception. She also has a gift for making her main characters leap off the page as complex individuals. Even though this is not my favorite story of hers, I still found it to be an enjoyable read.
Overall? If you're on the hunt for a fun, quick contemporary read with a bit of heart, then Fireworks is the novel for you. It also brought me back to the era of my boy band days, where I wrote my own fan fiction (which was nowhere near as good, mind you) and that was fun too! While I wouldn't necessarily suggest starting with this novel if you haven't read any of Cotugno's works, but you should certainly give it a read.
In the 90s, who was your favorite pop princess? Who was your favorite boy band? I was a huge Britney Spears fan back in the day! I was obsessed with her first three albums, but particularly loved Britney album the most. I still know a lot of her older songs by heart, and will always feel nostalgic whenever I hear one of them. As for boy bands, I loved a lot of boy bands. But in the 90s, I was obsessed with the Backstreet Boys - a legacy from my mom and dad, who listened to their first album on our car trips all the time. I honestly still really love their stuff up until now, and will often listen to them just for fun's sake.
Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)