VIP: I’m With the Band

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My sister is obsessed with this series, guys. My sister is not a reader whatsoever unless my mom tells her to read, so her adoring VIP: I’m With the Band was something new and interesting for me because I am the reader in the house. Who would have known that she would get an obsession with Perfect Storm, a fictional band that features three cute guys who are around my current age, fifteen (almost sixteen!) and who keep getting into trouble. I seriously adored reading this first book of this series, and as I am writing this review, I am gearing up for reading the sequel. I am so excited to head back into the world (a few hours later after completing this) of Mac, Zander, Kyle, Heath and Jilly, characters who I now love for their different, fun personalities and how they seriously made this book comedic.

VIP: I’m With the Band is exactly what you think it is, and perhaps a little more than what we all would presume, too. Jen Calonita, a frequently read author of mine, especially when I headed through my tween-cool-middle-grade phases when I was twelve, created a fangirl protagonist named Mac, or Mackenzie, who is the biggest fan of boy band Perfect Storm. Her and her two best friends, Iris and Scarlet, spend the beginning of the book trying to score tickets for Perfect Storm’s show in Long Island the next day. They don’t succeed, but Mac’s mom surprises the three with tickets that she retrieved secretly. Mac fangirls, meets the guys, and has the best time of her life at the concert. The next day, her life changes once more when she discovers that her mom will be Perfect Storm’s manager, and that she and Mac are going on tour with the band.
I WOULD’VE FANGIRLED TOO. This book, as a whole, just made me feel happy. Mac was a happy heroine who just fangirled wherever she went and made the best of the situation. VIP is written through the perspective of Mac, obviously, but in a journal format which makes things even more fun for the younger audience. The illustrator, Kristen Gudsnuk, also did a fabulous job at showcasing her image of Mac and the gang. This is honestly such a cute book as a whole.


After I finished reading, I told my sister that I will be rating this four stars out of five. She freaked out. “Why? I’m not talking to you anymore,” she said. I’m not twelve, I cannot relate to this book a hundred percent. Back in my day, three years ago, I wasn’t obsessed with any boy band. One Direction came a year later, but not at twelve. This was such a cute read, don’t get me wrong, but it’s completely unrealistic, because seriously, who in the world of entertainment (like Mac’s mom) will get the chance to do what she does. IT’S RARE. And bringing her twelve-year-old daughter with her? That’s extremely rare. I just inwardly wish that Jen could have focused a touch bit on realistic issues that are hinted at in the novel. For example, where is Mac’s father? We all know that Mac’s mother is single, because no man is ever mentioned and they wouldn’t leave a father at home to go on the road, and that seemed important to me, since Mac is still young.

I loved Mac as a protagonist. She had this carefree attitude, and I loved how she was striving to be mature around enemies like Lola. (I HATED THAT GIRL) Back to the unrealistic thing, the “romance” is completely unrealistic, as well. It is noted a few times that Zander, Mac’s initial crush out of the three members in Perfect Storm, is fifteen years old. I’m fifteen, and I would never romantically pay attention to a seventh grader. I’m turning sixteen next month, so that’s a different example. Okay, picture this: a ninth grader crushing on a seventh grader. Although you may not see it at first, it kind of happens.

I like middle-grade to be realistic, knowing who the audience is. The story is fluffy, cute, and definitely entertaining where tween girls can learn about show biz (because it seems that Jen has experience with this after interviewing people), but there’s the part where you know that girls won’t learn anything from this: it’s practically impossible to occur. Anyway.

KYLE IS ADORABLE. HEATH IS ADORABLE. ZANDER IS… MEH. I loved Perfect Storm’s attitude as a whole, but I loved Kyle and Heath the most. Zander is your ordinary, snobby member who is in it completely for the fame. We see how he wants the spotlight and all of the solos. *rolls eyes* I just cannot picture how a romance (or fling) could stem out of this series. I wonder what the next book will provide us with.

“Seconds later Heath joined in. Zander was the only one without an instrument. I guess he doesn’t need to play one when he has the voice of an angel. When Zander started to sing, I closed my eyes and listened without really trying to hear the words. It was always hard to catch them all on the first listen of a song, but I got the gist pretty quickly” (188).

VIP: I’m With the Band would seriously be loved by any tweenage (haha that word) girl who loves contemporary and funny books. I am so excited to read the sequel (RIGHT NOW) and see how Calonita’s writing continues and how the series unfolds. Will the romance happen? Will Kyle keep being my crush? I hope so for the latter.


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