An Excuse to Use 90’s Gifs: Fireworks by Katie Contango

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From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-’90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

Source: GoodReads

Note: I DNF’d this one at about 60 pages.  It was stale as old bread and predictable.  Cliche filled.  I was really hoping this would’ve been a nostalgia trip to the 90’s but it wasn’t.  Instead, it really could’ve been in 2017 save for the fact we’re not getting five million references to social media.  Which was nice because I often roll my eyes when authors decide to hide Twitter with Chirpy or whatever and Facebook by MyFace or whatever.  It’s annoying.

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So, so, annoying.  But so is using the 90’s as a setting when the period has nothing to whatsoever with the fucking book.

This is the first Katie Cotugno book I’ve read and likely I won’t read another one for a long time unless I get  good deal on it  or venture out to the library.  When I read the book I was unaware it was packaged but after reading a few pages and seeing the little Alloy imprint on it I wasn’t so surprised becuase God knows this piece of shit felt so, so, packaged.

The characters were really weak.  I barely remember the leads names and had to pause for a moment to recall them.  Dana is your typical best friend who is really talented but doesn’t realize it shit.  Olivia is the jealous best friend who you know is really going to be a shitty friend, but we won’t realize this towards the in.  Alex is the boy who will fall in love with Dana and ruin Dana’s relationship with Olivia.

Add a lot of midriff wearing and you have the mid to late 90’s save there’s no Britney and Justin which is just sort of sad.

Just saying.

To be honest, I only have vague recollections of this period of time.  I was still pretty young and my mom really didn’t like me listening to boy bands and she always seem to have me doing some sort of something during the CW Prime Time so instead of watching teeny boppers trying to be America’s Next Top Pop Starr my mother thought Judging Amy would be a better show for her young impressionable daughter to watch.

Well, it did get me interested in the legal profession (sort of), so I guess she did have a point.  Though, it still pains me that I did not get to watch Charmed when it first aired-thanks, Mom (not).

Okay, point is the late 90’s was the era of cotton candy pop.  It should’ve been fun to explore but it wasn’t.  More or less this swept up my fears in having a series featured in the late 90’s it was really more or less a tool to address social media and the changes it has had on teenage-hood.  But really, would it have killed Contugno to at least have one character wear a midriff?

I know it might seem like I’m asking for a lot, but there really wasn’t anything else in this book that felt  90-ish. Maybe it improves as the book progresses, but man I would’ve been exploiting those out dated pop culture references to the limit.

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Anyway, this one really didn’t work for me.  I was intrigued that it was going to use a period of time that’s really not that long ago but it just didn’t work on various levels.

Overall Rating: DNF.