Like a Love Song

Underlined. Aug. 2021. 304p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780593382073.
Gr 7 Up–Natalie, a 17-year-old Brazilian pop star, and her beautiful boyfriend Trent are the power couple of the year, but just minutes before she is about to receive a People’s Choice Award, Trent dumps her backstage on camera. Now, her music charts are dipping, and ugly memes of Natalie are all over social media. Desperate for a comeback strategy, she decides to sign a contract with a fake boyfriend who will hopefully rebuild her image in a positive way. Enter William Ainsley: a cute, British white guy from London who is new to acting and nothing like Trent. As they get to know each other, they discover something about themselves that poses some serious questions about the biz they are in. In addition to the pressures of being a famous pop star, Natalie also struggles with conflicting feelings regarding her family, her heritage, and facing relatives back in Brazil who want her to visit for Christmas. Natalie is hesitant to go because she isn’t fluent in Portuguese, and she feels like a sellout for pursuing her dreams in America. Natalie has light brown skin. The story has diverse secondary cast with some lovable characters, including Natalie’s best friends: Brenda, who is Brazilian, and Padma, who is Pakistani. Except for Natalie, everyone in her circle of friends is part of the LGBTQIA+ communities. The dialogue is very relatable to teens with the use of text messages and social media acronyms.
VERDICT A great coming-of-age story about being true to yourself.

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