Reviewed by Susan
TITLE: Pop Life
AUTHOR: Ryan Loveless
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 443 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 2016
Andrew writes the songs everyone sings along with on the radio—tunes full of love, longing, and heartbreak. He has a knack for tapping into emotions, but when it comes to his own, the feelings aren’t so easy to manage. Sent to New York City to work on Irish singer Paeder Brogan’s first solo album, Andrew is caught in the middle of a boy band’s infighting and secret love affairs while battling the memories of his last trip to the Big Apple, which ended when English pop star Jamie Webster drunkenly kissed him.
Andrew’s heart leaps when he discovers he’s staying at the same hotel as Jamie, yet he doubts Jamie recalls him, even though Andrew wrote his biggest hit. Jamie remembers him, though, and he seems to think Andrew is the only person who can save him from his downward spiral. Even as his feelings for Jamie swell, Andrew faces the real threat that the maelstrom he’s walked into will pull him down alongside Jamie.
This is an ensemble story full of angst and drama. We have Andrew and his writing partner Michael, who is his best friend and confident. We have Jamie who is an international superstar, but is seriously messed up with drug and alcohol abuse that has not helped his stability. We have the members of Icon, an Irish boy band full of drama – Paeder, who is arrogant and in charge….and having an affair with his band mate Keelin, despite also having a wife. And Russell, who is trying to hold his own in the band and keep the peace. Then we have Jeff, a sexual predator who is photographing them all for a book on Paeder.
This is all experienced through the eyes of Andrew, who in his late twenties, has found his professional life going extremely well and his personal life a shambles. He arrives in New York to work with Paeder and quickly finds himself immersed in all the drama surrounding the singer and his group. Adding Jamie to the mix sends Andrew into a whirlwind of want and confusion and hurt. Jamie keeps giving him mixed signals as he goes back and forth between wanting Andrew to be his anchor and his destructive behavior that he can’t seem to stop. Andrew and Jamie are the main focus, but the secondary character’s storylines are just as compelling. Some of them I found myself rooting for and some of them I found myself actively disliking.
This is a story that has a lot happening. There are many storylines all weaved into Andrew’s experience. I found myself riveted and waiting to see what crazy thing was going to happen next.
This is definitely not a light, easy read. The themes are dark and the actions of the characters are sometimes just as dark, but I liked it and would recommend it provided the reader takes a good look at the tags to see if this is the book for them.