Seventeen-year-old Kat Hartland loathes Unrequited, the world’s biggest boy band. Is she the only girl in Sydney who can’t be bothered with perfect-looking Angus Marsden?
Give her 5 Seconds of Summer. Now.
Or maybe the seriously-hot med student who rescued her on a train—and who could be Douglas Booth’s twin! Perfect formal partner, much?
But when Kat comes face to face with Angus Marsden himself, things start to get complicated. Very. Throw in a deranged female popstar, final exams, a part in the musical and a mum who just doesn’t get it—and where is her best friend?
When did life get so crazy? Kat’s just an ordinary schoolgirl.
‘You cannot even be serious!’ Kat screams, gawking at the text message from her mum. It was sent two hours ago at 3.36 pm from Brisbane airport, where she is apparently stuck in a tropical downpour, flight delays coming out of her ears.
Kat hits ‘call’ but the stupid woman (not her mum—the recorded voice) tells her she’s totally out of credit and the action can’t be completed.
‘It has to be completed!’ she yells, shaking the phone like that’s somehow going to magic up some spare credit. Why did they give up their landline? This cannot be happening!
She re-reads the message:
‘Stuck on the ground. Won’t make it back in time. Please take the twins to the concert. You’ll have to go in. They’re too young to be unchaperoned. Love you!’
She has to be kidding.
Twelve-year-old Annie appears in the doorway, suited up in her official Unrequited paraphernalia like the committed Fangirl that she is. Tour t-shirt. I heart Angus necklace. Assortment of badges. Stick-on nails depicting Angus’s air-brushed face, his regulation-suave expression and a hairstyle to which entire Tumblr blogs are dedicated.
If Annie and her twin Jess are the UK boy band’s most ardent admirers, Kat is Unrequited’s biggest critic. It’s not any one thing about them—just an unpalatable combination of the songs, the lyrics, the merchandise, the hysteria. All of it. They do absolutely nothing for her, other than ruin her Monday night because she has to drag herself to their concert and endure two hours of out-of-all-proportion Unrequited hype. She’ll have to cancel the date she had with her HSC textbooks, the lounge-room sofa, left-over pizza and a DVD set of Smash!
Annie starts crying. Apparently it’s from excitement, which is kind of cute, and Kat tries to put herself in her younger sibling’s shoes. Shoes which, FYI, appear to be held together with Unrequited laces. Where will the merchandising end?
Kat forces a smile. ‘Is Jess ready?’
Kat isn’t. She glances in her bedroom mirror. Vintage eighties denim cut-offs, plain white t-shirt, no makeup, dark hair in an actual messy bun—as distinct from the ‘messy bun look’ which would have taken hours to assemble. She has no intention of taking hours to assemble anything for Angus Marsden and his cardboard cut-out side-kicks. They might be hot, but they’re ‘‘manufactured hot’’. Just like every other group that never even met until some high-flying producer threw them into a rehearsal room and made them inexplicably big thanks to the pack mentality of teenage girls.
The train-ride from Revesby is as hideous as Kat expects it to be. In fact, no—it’s worse. The carriage is unseasonably hot for early October and she has to keep peeling her legs off the synthetic seats. Unrequited music is blaring from various phones and iPods. Girls are squealing, including girls her age and older, which she thinks is beyond tragic. Shouldn’t they be studying for the HSC, like she would be if she wasn’t stuck here instead, and if the lure of Smash wasn’t stronger? And what’s with the cake faces? The band won’t actually care. They won’t actually notice any of these girls, which is pretty fitting given the name of their group. This is just another legion of screaming fans, making normal life impossible for the musicians and turning people like Kat into bitter and twisted anti-fans.
Bitter is SO not an attractive quality, Kat realises, as she tries to rein in her antagonism and think of something else. Anything.
Her attention drifts to the boy sitting opposite her on the train. In her anti-band flap, she hadn’t noticed him board. What an oversight! He’s on his phone and she shamelessly eavesdrops. He’s talking about his uni project while she takes mental note of his cheekbones and jawline—the type usually reserved for people like superman and Douglas Booth. On-trend reading glasses. Dark, floppy hair. A satchel full of textbooks gaping open on the seat beside him.
Hmm. At some point during his highly-technical phone conversation, which he is conducting in an incredibly warm, deep voice that Kat could listen to all day, she rouses the courage to smile at him. But he looks at her like she’s a thirteen-year-old Unrequited fan and glazes right over.
She wants to say ‘Hey, I’m seventeen and I hate them! This is absolutely a case of mistaken identity, trust me …’ But saying that might not come across as charmingly as it does in her imagination and he might end up thinking she’s more of a lunatic than he likely already does.
It’s a bad day when Angus Marsden and the boys, of all people, come between Kat and a potential date with a med student. (She’s decided that’s what he is, having stalkerishly scanned the titles on the textbooks spilling out of his bag and having seen enough ofGrey’s Anatomy to put two and two together. And yes, ‘date’ may be getting ahead of herself a tad, but she’s particularly good at getting ahead of herself.)
WHY didn’t she do her hair?
Oh, hang on! He’s off the phone! Try to look casual. Look out the window. DO NOT MAKE EYE CONT— GAH! Too late!
Future Dr McDreamy fleetingly locks his dark brown eyes with hers. Her heart-rate explodes. Her entire life passes before her eyes …
Oh, wait! That’s what happens when you’re about to die, not when you’re falling in love. Get your emergencies right, Kat!
On the topic of emergencies, Jess starts digging around in Kat’s handbag, flashing Unrequited tickets in her face, saying ‘Here’s yours!’
Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm, Jess drops the ticket onto the floor between Kat and McDreamy.
To Kat’s utter mortification, he reaches down and scoops it up. He stifles a smile. Hands it back and says ‘Good seat.’
Before she can think of something clever to say—or even anything to say at all—McDreamy goes back to searching for the cure for cancer on his iPad. Or maybe he’s checking Facebook. Either way, she’s left holding the ticket and gaping speechlessly, which is not really the intelligent look she’s going for.
Kat shoves the ticket back in her bag and glares at her sister. McDreamy starts typing a status update, probably: ‘Save me. Am on train with lunatic Unrequited fan.’ Then he flips the cover shut on the iPad, takes his glasses off and shuts his eyes.
He’s gorgeous when he dozes, Kat thinks. Although his lack of interest seems quite a long way from ‘Can’t Keep His Eyes Off Me’. That aside, he’s probably been up all night cramming for a very important exam. Yes, that’s it. The man needs his rest. Let’s all shush for a minute and give him some space …
‘Eeeeeee!!!’ Annie screams. Everyone in the carriage jumps.
‘What is WRONG with you, Annie?’ Kat chastises. Annie bursts into tears again and says, loudly ‘I’m just so excited! I can’t believe we’re about to MEET THEM!’
‘See them, you mean …’
‘No! Look at the tickets! They’re VIP. They include a back-stage meet-and-greet pass after the show!’
There’s an eruption of fangirling in the carriage and an audible chuckle now from McDreamy. Kat glares at him before remembering who he is, and she does her best to rearrange her face into something less repulsive and more ‘come hither’. But not too‘come hither’. She’s hardly going to throw herself at the guy, is she? The result of all this facial rearranging is confusing for all concerned, and besides, she has the pressing matter of the Backstage Pass to deal with.
WHAT possessed her mother to buy these tickets? Why didn’t she warn Kat in her SMS?
‘Gosh!’ she forces through her teeth. ‘Backstage passes, girls! Aren’t we LUCKY?’
The girls beam. She smiles back. McDreamy pretends not to notice but clearly has, because he’s also smiling just a little—more out of pity than anything else—and, for ten glorious seconds, it’s all Happy Families. Then the train lurches to an unscheduled stop, flinging Kat from her seat and practically into McDreamy’s lap. The engine dies.
Where are we? Kat thinks, panicking.
‘Where are we?’ she begs McDreamy. She realises she’s grasping his arm as part of her involuntary fight-or-flight response to her sisters’ impending doom. She is ninety-eight percent focused on Jess and Annie right now and the potential crushing of their Unrequited dreams. The other two percent is focused on how hard McDreamy’s forearm feels. Obviously he’s one of those brainy guys who also works out at the gym, probably on the rowing machine … possibly in shorts and a tank …
Then, despite it taking all the will in the world, Kat gently extracts his arm from her clutches, edges back to her seat and finds herself saying ‘Sorry! You don’t understand. I HAVE to get to this concert.’
‘Big Unrequited fan?’ he asks, dead-pan expression except for the twinkle in his brown eyes as he flicks his dark hair out of the way. It’s like the temperature in the carriage skyrockets.
Kat laughs out loud. Unfortunately, it’s not an attractive, girlish flutter of a laugh. More of a guffaw. With a bonus snort.
‘We’re about a 20-minute drive from the arena,’ he says matter-of-factly.
Jess starts to cry. Annie is uncharacteristically silent and Kat starts madly counting her cash. She has enough for a cab-ride home after the show and for glow sticks and maybe a bucket of chips for the three of them to share.
‘Can you get us there?’ Kat hears someone ask, and then she discovers, embarrassingly, that it’s her. What is she doing? She doesn’t even know this guy!
McDreamy glances at his watch. Of course he’s got somewhere else to be. Look at the guy! ‘We don’t even know each other’s names …’ he begins to explain.
He WOULD be a perfect gentleman, wouldn’t he?
‘I’m Kat,’ she says, trying to think of a solution fast. Introducing herself out of the blue seems a crucial step, even though she appears to be inadvertently throwing herself at the guy in the process, and even though it’s not working at all.
He doesn’t answer but whips out his phone and makes a call while they’re all getting off the train. It’s about a half-kilometre walk to the platform, with Unrequited fans in various states of tears and frazzle.
‘I need a cab.’ McDreamy commands. ‘Pick-up Ashfield station.’
Kat’s confused. He said he had a car. Is he lying? Maybe he is a serial killer after all. He doesn’t look like one …
‘Drop off Sydney Olympic Park. Three passengers. Book it in the name of Kat. As soon as possible. Thanks.’
‘I can’t afford …’
‘I’ve got it, don’t worry.’
He’s paying for the cab now? Kat doesn’t know what to say. She wants to say ‘no’ but this is her only lifeline. ‘I HAVE to get these girls to that concert …’
He smiles. ‘I get it. I’ve got sisters. I live with a life-sized cut-out of Angus Marsden in the lounge-room. It’s driving me out of home. Literally. I put an application in for campus accommodation last weekend.’ He winks, and she’s distracted by the crinkling around the corner of his eye. She imagines him with a stethoscope strung around his neck, fixing people. Sigh. She doesn’t know if he’s joking or not about moving out. All the uni students she knows can’t afford to. Maybe he’s smart and hot and rich …
‘Here we are,’ he says, as a taxi swings into the car park minutes later and is identified as Kat’s, much to the massive disappointment of every other desperate fan there. Kat opens the back door and shuffles the girls in, with their fan posters and phones and incessant shrieks of delight. McDreamy runs his credit card through the machine with the driver.
‘Can you give me your number or something so I can pay you back?’ Kat asks, responsibly (and hopefully).
‘No need!’ he says. ‘Don’t argue—the meter’s ticking …’
She hops into the front seat and he shuts the door as the driver takes off.
And that’s that.
Kat’s not entirely sure what just happened, or how she feels about it, but she seems to have been rescued by some sort of anonymous, urban knight.
I received this book as in E-ARC for this blog tour and this does not persuade me opinions in any shape or form.
So welcome to the review part of this blog tour! I really enjoyed reading this book and how the author incorporated modern day aspects to it. Something that I also so liked was reading from the character’s perspective. Her personality was so great and I loved reading her thoughts. I liked how the characters had similar characteristics but also stood out in different ways. This book made me laugh, internally yell at the characters, snicker at what was coming, and just freak out because…book. XD. Anyways I hope you enjoy the book if you do decided to pick it and if you are considering….pick this book up. Thank you! 😀
Just (minor) some spoilers….
The love triangle in this book was so close to a square. I almost considered the love triangle in this book a square but naahhhh, I think we were expecting a person to be included and the other person wasn’t too much in the way. I just was really sad how the sisters weren’t too much in this book even though they played a pretty major part in the book….
Emma Grey has two teenage girls, a three-year-old boy, a couple of businesses and another teen novel in the pipeline. Her first book, ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ was published in 2005.
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Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!