Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: The Rock Star in Seat 3A

By Melissa Amster

Have you ever called someone a "rock star" because you just thought they were all-around amazing? What if the person you really admired actually WAS a rock star? And better yet, what if you got to meet this rock star in person? Jill Kargman indulges our celebrity fantasies with her latest novel, "The Rock Star in Seat 3A."

Hazel Lavery has the life most girls would envy. She works for a popular video game company and gets to help plan parties. Her very attractive boyfriend, Wylie (who is also a chef), is about to propose to her. And this is all as she is turning 30. Life couldn't get any better...or could it? When she's stuck on a turbulent plane trip to Los Angeles, it turns out her seat-mate is none other than her rock star idol (and the star of all her fantasies), Finn Schiller. As they come to know one another on the long flight, they get along better than Hazel ever thought possible. Soon, Hazel finds herself getting caught up in the life she's only ever dreamed about. However, her happiness comes at a price when she realizes she can't have her cake and eat it too. Is Finn the one who can truly complete her, or was she meant for a life of settling down with Wylie?

What I liked most about this book was the feeling of being on a mental vacation. How cool is it to be able to indulge in such a decadent celebrity fantasy, but without the guilt? I got to go on an armchair adventure and was definitely taken for a wild ride this time. The "romantic" scenes were really hot without even having to go into a lot of detail. I'm still blushing from those parts. In contrast, I also enjoyed reading about all the relationship idiosyncrasies that Hazel would bring up in regards to Wylie....the funny nicknames, the strange habits they had together, etc. Aside from all that, the dialogue flowed nicely, which made the chapters move along at a rapid pace and caused me to want to read on from one to the next. (Almost like having a huge marathon of a TV show I'm really enjoying, when I can't just stop after one episode.) Therefore, it was difficult to put down. And best of all, it found a way around a huge pet peeve of mine, which made it even more enjoyable. Oh, and the humor added a nice touch without going overboard. It was subtle, but I still found myself smirking.

I did have a few concerns about "The Rock Star in 3A." First and foremost, the language. While the romantic scenes made me blush, I could just see most of the words in this novel make a lot of people blush if they don't get enough HBO in their life. Let's just say it was "colorful." It got a little bit over the top at times, like when F-bombs were in every other sentence. The other language aspect that got under my skin was the way Hazel talked. I don't mind that she was candid because I felt that added to her essence. What I didn't particularly like was that she talked like a teenager when we were supposed to believe she was 30. She spoke in slang I've never heard any 30 year old least not the ones I know. I felt like she was possessed by Hannah Montana or Lizzie McGuire. I didn't even understand some of the slang terms she used and had to re-read paragraphs just to see if it would make more sense the second or third time around. (I did like "oy to the vey" though.) Finally, I felt like the story wrapped up a bit too neatly. Given the fact that she was making out with a celebrity in public, she didn't seem to attract much paparazzi attention. I thought there could have been a whole angle added there which would have fueled the intensity between Hazel and Finn and made them want to keep things more clandestine as a result. It just seemed like Hazel had it way too easy overall.

"The Rock Star in 3A" was an entertaining vicarious trip and I had a lot of fun reading it from beginning to end. I loved watching Hazel reach new insights about herself while on her whirlwind adventure into the life of a rock star's girlfriend. I just wish this had come out when I was still crushing on Adam Lambert because I would have received even more of a natural high than I already did while reading it. I also wish that a soundtrack had accompanied this book, as there were a lot of lyrics strewn throughout but I didn't have a tune to pair with them. If Jodi Picoult can do it, then so can Jill Kargman. And if Jon Bon Jovi would do the vocals for Finn, then she's got it made!

Thanks to William Morrow (HarperCollins) for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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