Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: "Live Out Loud" by Heather Wardell

Amy is a talented songwriter and singer who accidentally falls into stardom when a video of a private performance that she gives is posted on a blog and goes viral. The next thing she knows she's being stuffed into too-tight clothing with matching wigs, she's moved to a more secure apartment, she has her own bodyguards, and she has become the singing sensation Misty Will.

Her willingness to do all it takes to become a music sensation is more than what it seems on the surface, though. Amy loves singing and performing, but what she really needs is the money that her opportunity will provide her with to start the center for troubled young girls that she and her late friend, Giselle, had always dreamed of opening. As Amy becomes more involved in the world of Misty Will, and as the money that she needs to start the center is deposited into her bank account, she starts to reexamine what it is that she truly wants from life and is torn: does she continue being Misty Will or does she start the center and honor her friend's memory? The answer seems clear, but is she making the right decision?

I'm a long time fan of Heather Wardell and there's lots to love about Live Out Loud. My favorite part had to be the underlying message that clearly comes across: live your dreams with no apologies. All too often we feel pressured to do something with our lives that will make others happy, but it's easy to lose sight of what will make us truly happy. Amy struggles with these issues throughout the book as she tries to decide if she should follow her dreams or follow the dreams of her late friend in her memory. I also enjoyed the developing romance present in the book. It felt genuine and realistic to me, and I was happy when Amy was able to find someone able to deal with her instant stardom. The plot was fresh and current. I'm a big fan of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and there have been tons of times when Ellen invites someone on her show who has posted a video of themselves on YouTube and has become almost instantly famous. With all of the technology at our fingertips this kind of thing is happening all of the time and the plot resonated with me.

That being said there was one thing in this book that I had a problem with. Amy, as a character, did not always feel real to me. It had nothing to do with her fame, but with her reactions to certain events in her life. Despite her fame she didn't seem to change a bit, and I didn't find that realistic. She was careful to watch out for others, and she got along with almost everyone that she met, but I think that all of us has an inner bitch that does come out to play once in a while, and that we can't be "on" 24-7. I just wish that she would have shown some kind of selfishness or diva-like behavior along the way. It wouldn't have made me like her any less, I just would have felt that she was more human.

Live Out Loud is well-written, relevant, and interesting, with plenty of things to love about it. I can easily recommend it to my fellow chick lit fans and I thank the author for providing me with a review copy.

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