Book Review: Catch My Breath

Catch My Breath

M.J. O’Shea

Danny Bright was born to entertain. He just needs his big break. So when he hears that Blue Horizon Records is holding auditions looking for the next big thing, Danny jumps at the chance. It doesn’t turn out exactly as he imagined, though. Instead of getting solo contracts, Danny and four other guys are put into a boy band.

Innocent, idealistic Elliot Price thinks he’s headed for college. An impulsive decision to sing in the local talent search changes all that. A bigwig producer happens to see him, hands him a business card, and turns Elliot’s life upside down.

Elliot and Danny are close from the beginning. They love all the guys, but it’s different with each other. Soon their friendship turns into feelings more intense than either of them can ignore. The other three boys only want Danny and Elliot to be happy, but when their management team and record label discover two of their biggest tween heartthrobs are in a relationship, they’re less than pleased. Danny and Elliot find themselves in the middle of a circle of lies and cover-ups, all with one bottom line-money. They have to stay strong and stick together if they don’t want to lose themselves… and each other.

* I read this book a couple months ago and am just getting to the review now — my memory may be a bit hazy… *

I have to admit I had difficult with this book from the first few pages.  I was okay with the set-up, with Danny’s singing audition, which seemed very reminiscent of American Idol (though the audition wasn’t filmed I think), right down to one judge being very Simon Cowel-like.  But the onslaught of characters made this a complicated read.  O’Shea does the right thing by only using Danny and Elliot as the only POV characters.  The very large cast of secondary characters, though, were extremely hard to keep track of.  I vaguely knew who was who, just enough to keep reading.  However, in that confusion, I completely lost track of who was Danny and who was Elliot and couldn’t keep it straight until the last little bit of the book.

As I was reading it, something was nagging in the back of my head.  This was reminiscent of something, but I couldn’t figure out what.  Eventually, I clued in that this sounded like what little I knew of One Direction.  I texted a friend that’s a huge 1D fan and asked him a couple questions about the band.  Within a matter of a minute, I’d confirmed that Catch My Breath is essentially 1D fan-fiction, altered enough to be unrelated.  But if a total non-fan who’s never heard a 1D song in his life can figure it out, a 1D fan would catch on almost instantly.

I found it a bit of a tough read, mostly due to the large cast, but I found I kept reading.  O’Shea, I felt, did a good job of portraying the pressures the boys are under in having to maintain an image while in the spotlight.  It put a strain on Danny and Elliot’s relationship and I enjoyed seeing them get through it.

The last couple chapters, though, were fantastic.  When I got to them, I was glad I had stuck with the book.

O’Shea does some interesting things that I enjoyed — particularly, including Twitter conversations throughout the book.  Since being in a band nowadays includes the craziness on social media, it was an effective addition to the narrative.  As well, I think each chapter was titled with a song title, which would be an easter egg for music fans reading the book.

It was an enjoyable, though sometimes frustrating, book.  I definitely wasn’t the target audience, though.  1D fans would freaking love this one, I think.

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