VIP: Battle of the Bands

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What an achievement it is to say that I finished this series in a day. I actually read the two VIP books in a matter of hours because they were oh-so-good and so entertaining. Parents of girls who are not really interested in reading (and you want them to be), Jen Calonita’s VIP series is the series that will satisfy your kids and have them commence reading like maniacs. I wish that this series existed when I was a kid, because I swear that I would’ve enjoyed it so much. I would have been so satisfied, so excited, obsessed with the characters and most especially, obsessed with Perfect Storm, a trio of cute guys that fangirls need to be real. Anyway, I’m getting too ahead of myself, because obviously these guys don’t exist. Battle of the Bands is a lovely sequel that touches base with the previous book, reaching the same level and still being really good and enjoyable.
This sequel kicks off a few months after Mac’s Spring Fling, and things get right into the action. Perfect Storm is still successful, causing teenage girls to awe and ooh over everything they do, which means that Mac and her mom are still able to tour with them as long as they are successful. Drama begins off right away, especially because as the title states, there is a battle between bands, and Perfect Storm is caught in it. We readers are introduced to Thunder and Lightning, a rip-off band of Perfect Storm who are signed with the same label. PS soon discovers that Thunder and Lightning has stolen a song that Kyle has written for Mac, and it goes viral. Next thing we know, a vlogger gets in the way, gossiping and creating a false, negative image of Perfect Storm.
I liked how Jen Calonita created this novel. The first book was about the introduction to the characters, to the show business, to tours, and especially to Perfect Storm and its members. Now, since we readers know the characters well and what they’re up to, the real drama begins. I loved the catfights, how tough Mac became, and everything in between. We don’t really see a broad character development for anyone (which I would have loved)—that would be a flaw for me. Mac deserved that extra push since she does have an Alter Ego for herself, this comic book character called Mac Attack. Comics are included in the book, but I wasn’t really entertained by them since they didn’t mean/add anything to the plot.
That’s why I have occasional issues with books. Authors like to add, add and add more, but in the end, the reason they added something in is senseless because it doesn’t help with development, details or anything in particular. I loved Mac, as I did in the first book, but nothing changed about her. She was tough, but not confident to the extent that she wanted to see herself as.
There certainly was development with friendships. I love Jilly and Mac’s friendship, and how from the first book to this sequel, they have gotten tighter and closer. NOTHING NEW WITH KYLE AND MAC. Like yeah, this is middle-grade, but there’s nothing cute. *cries* We also see a nice relationship between Mac and her mother—one that is rarely featured in middle-grade fiction. Occasionally in the past, I have even read books where there is no parent present, but Mac and her mom are just great in this book, just how some mothers and daughters realistically are.
I really liked the Bad Kitty addition. It’s fun for kids to wait and guess who a mysterious person could be from one of the characters that they know. It was predictable for me, but from what my sister told me when she read this, it wasn’t for her. I guess younger kids would love the ending, ten times more than I did. That’s a definite good sign.
VIP: Battle of the Bands is exactly the kind of sequel I have been looking for in a middle grade series. In fact, it has been a while since I’ve read a middle-grade series, and I thank Jen Calonita for teleporting me back. There are so many young girls in the world who would appreciate this humorous, lively series filled with characters who you just cannot get out of your head. Go grab the two books now and fall in love!

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