27 September 2010

Book Review: The Fame Factor by Polly Courtney

Zoe Kidd loves being her band, Dirty Money, with her three girl friends, but they are really struggling to hit the big time. Despite the numerous letters and demos they have sent to record companies, they've never gotten further than the local clubs and pubs, and Zoe is sure Dirty Money is never going to be the global sensation she desperately wants. So when American hit maker Louis Castle insists he can help the girls go much further with the band, they snap him up. Unfortunately, it seems that Louis has other ideas about how to get the attention of the record company... and it doesn't involve ALL the members of Dirty Money. Will Zoe be able to turn her back on the band she's put her heart and soul into?

This is the first book by author Polly Courtney I've read, and I'm really pleased that I gave this one a go! I really loved the cover when it arrived, the striking blue and white of it really make it stand out, and anyone who enjoys reality shows such as The X Factor will probably be drawn in by the title, although be aware it isn't based on any sort of talent show. It is published by Avon, a division of Harper Collins, and the little picture guide on the back says we should look out for drama, laughs and romance so I was quite intrigued to read more and find out what was going to be revealed about Zoe and her band, and whether they'd get the fame and recognition they so badly wanted.

I found the book was really easy to get into, and straight away I loved the lead character of Zoe. She was very likeable and fun, and I knew I would enjoy the book simply because I liked Zoe. I always find if you like the lead character of a book, it's much easier to get into and therefore I find a book that much more enjoyable. Although Zoe is part of a band, we don't actually see too much of her band mates Shannon, Ellie and Kate from around 1/3 of the way in because this is where the story takes it's massive twist and I loved it! I was really shocked by Zoe's decision because I really didn't expect that at all, and I feel it really set the mood of the book, and I couldn't wait to see what the fallout was going to be.

What with popular TV show The X Factor beginning at the moment, this is a book that really fits in well with popular culture and will definitely appeal to people because of it. However, it isn't based within reality TV at all, it is entirely set within the music industry, something I don't really know anything about but Polly Courtney makes it easy to understand and explains all of the relevant information so that the reader can understand enough of the story to get the main idea of what is happening with Zoe. We all know that the industry is quite cut throat and impersonal, but when things happen to Zoe along the way I was really shocked that things like that are allowed to happen! It certainly is an eye opening read, and I really enjoyed the realism that it contained.

As I said previously, I really liked Zoe. She really didn't have a clue about the world she was entering into, and it was interesting to see the knock on effect it had not only on Zoe, but on her relationship, her family and the bond she had with her fellow Dirty Money girls as well. Zoe is quite a naive character, believing that the bigwigs within the record company are going to let her take control of her music, but we can all see that isn't going to be the case. I felt really sorry for her because she was like a fish out of water really, with no one to turn to and no one in her corner throughout her whole experience. I really warmed to her because of this, and felt sorry for her because of the attitude of her family in particular, I couldn't believe that someone's family could be so negative. It made for really great reading because I was eager to see if Zoe would work everything out in the end, and I have to say the ending was very satisfactory for me.

I found it so interesting that Courtney has based this book on the real life of a musician. I don't know exactly how much Courtney has stuck to ??'s story but however much of it is true certainly makes it all that more fascinating to read! It has a great cast of characters, Zoe in particular is great but I really liked Shannon and Ellie too, 2 of the Dirty Money girls, and I warmed to Zoe's sister by the end of the book. You really do on a journey with Zoe throughout the book, with her ups and downs making you sympathise with her too. It's a gritty story that will keep you hooked, and I really couldn't put it down. Courtney's writing style was great, getting the reader really involved in the book. I most definitely recommend this book, I really enjoyed it and it is certainly different to a lot of books I've read this year which makes it even better! Brilliant!

Rating: 5/5

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