Review: Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Mena


Author: Lynn Madelenna Menna
Date of publication: 18 June 2013
Genre: Young Adult

My rating: 2.5 stars

ARC provided by Merit Press via Netgalley

Goodreads Blurb

Still in high school, Marisol Reyes gets the chance of a lifetime to be a real singer, and she leaps at it. After all, this is the dream she held on to, all the days and nights she spent growing up on means streets of East Harlem. Marisol never gave in--no matter what her boyfriend or her best friend had to say. Who cares if only one in a hundred pretty, talented girls make it? She will be the one. In her rush to fame, Marisol tramples on the heart of her loyal best friend, and Julian, the boy she loves. But will it be worth it?

One night at a private gig in the Hamptons, the little Latino girl with the big voice from East Harlem gets a severe reality check. A famous rapper who claims to be interested in her talents turns out to be interested in something else, threatening not only Marisol's dreams but her body and soul. Will the realities of the gritty New York music scene put out the stars in Marisol's eyes forever?

My Review

The story had a lot of potential but I feel it did not lived up fully to it. The whole book has a very high school vibe, despite the characters having just graduated. I was hesitant at first, but gradually I started to like the voice of the heroine, Marisol. She is struggling to start a musical career while maintaining her friendships with the people from her childhood. 

Ms Mena tells a story about growing up, the changes you and your friends undergo while trying to find your place in the world. Like I said, it has a lot of potential to explore these issues, but most of them are just skimmed through, without giving the reader any depth into the life of the characters. The focus seems to be on appearances (I do realize how important is one's style in the music/show business, but still it I find it too much in the book). There was also a lot of attention paid to petty gossiping and quarrels between friends and not enough on the motivations and reasons behind the actions of the characters. 

The characters were underdeveloped and fell flat. I also feel there was a lot of going back and forth in Marisol's relationships.  

The story is deeply rooted in New York but as non-New-Yorker I found it difficult to relate to most of the local references. I suppose, people actually living in New York would appreciate this locale colouring in the novel much more.

Having said that, I still enjoyed the book. It has a positive and uplifting feel to it. I could recommend it for a younger audience, though (teenagers and young adults).

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