Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: budding singer, New York City, music scene
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks!)
Summary: Marisol has been working hard to get her voice noticed by someone in the music industry. When her chance finally arrives, will it all work out? With an unsupportive on and off again boyfriend and distractions at every turn, she has a lot more on her plate than she realizes.
Piece of My Heart reminded me of that Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind”:
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York
Marisol is a sassy and ambitious young lady living in Harlem and hoping her killer voice will make her a music phenomenon. She sacrifices time with her best friends and her on-and-off again boyfriend, Julian, to work with her friends, doing karaoke for parties from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Hoping, just hoping that one evening her dreams will come true and someone important will notice her.
She doesn’t have to wait long. In the opening chapter, she is already set to record a track with one of her biggest musical influences (and crushes) and so begins a fast-paced story where the music industry seems so accessible to these characters, it’s almost like a fairy tale.
But Marisol’s journey to get what she wants is not easy. There are definite setbacks and people she comes in contact who may want more from her than just her talent. She may be a little naive but our girl seems to have her head screwed on straight. She wants to make it the right way.
For a girl on the verge of 18 though, Menna writes Piece of My Heart in a very young tone even though there are a lot of mature situations unfolding. I wish she had dived more into Marisol’s dad’s unexpected death, or really fleshed out her relationships with her best friends. And then there is Julian. Julian, who gets mad that Marisol spends a majority of her time doing something music related. For a guy that Marisol is so in love with, he doesn’t seem to support her dreams so much. His character is totally selfish, and I was wishing for Marisol to live up to her fiesty personality and let him go. He didn’t deserve her.
Piece of My Heart reminded me a bit of Audrey Wait and Awkward (the sudden fame), it fell more on the serious side of things and felt a little rushed. I think I would have enjoyed this one more if the actions and thoughts of the main character were more age appropriate and some of the plotlines were more streamlined.
A bonus? Menna wrote some original songs and showcased them in the story. Definitely a nice addition.