Book Review: Cynthia Starts a Band by Oliva Swindler (ARC)

Cynthia Starts a Band tells the story of Eleanor Quinn, lead singer of the highly successful band Kittanning. She is also dating her bandmate, who happens to be the most beautiful man in America. Despite her success in her career and ‘love life,’ she decided to walk away from it all. Eleanor’s life is in turmoil behind the scenes, and she knew that she had to leave while she can. 

Free from her band and’ fiance,’ Eleanor decided to change her name to Cynthia, moves in with her cousin in Seattle, and enrolls in a local university’s writing class. Everything seems to be going well until her past started to creep its way into her new life.

This novel was a quick read for me. I thought it has a great concept and a fantastic protagonist in Eleanor/Cynthia. She’s likable enough for someone who’s 27, naive, and just literally based everything on what she’d seen in films. Usually, that would annoy the living crap out of me, but I liked her personally.

The book reads like a YA novel, or maybe many instances show Cynthia’s immaturity and naivety. I feel that that aspect of the story will be a hit or miss for the readers. I don’t mind it that much, but I wished it was more realistic rather than a mere copycat of the movie scenes she’s been referencing throughout the story.

I liked that the author talked about something relevant now but has been taboo in the past. It has the #MeToo movement, the #FreeBritney movement aspect, and just the ugly side of fame that we know but don’t usually get talked about more often. I love the whole narrative of claiming your power, claiming your voice, and I think it is an important topic discussed in the book but is glossed over by the hasty pacing of the storytelling. 

The book really has great potential, and I could even see it as a film in maybe, Hallmark Channel or, I don’t know – Disney adult version if there is one. That being said, I would be happy to read more stories from Olivia Swindler in the future. 

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 268 pages
Expected publication: October 19th 2021 by Morgan James Publishing

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher,  Morgan James Fiction  via Netgalley for an impartial and honest review.

About the Author
Olivia Swindler was raised in Spokane, Washington but resides currently in Grenoble, France, where she eats approximately a baguette a day. Cynthia Starts a Band is her first book.

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