Thursday 27 April 2017

BLOG TOUR: Review on Street Song

Ryan Callaghan isn't your average teenager. To the public, he is better known as RyLee, teen pop sensation and winner of PopIcon. However, after being caught falling out of clubs, taking drugs and ending up in rehab, everyone has all but forgotten about RyLee. After an argument with his stepdad ends in violence, Ryan decides to leave and start a new life in Belfast. 

Ryan soon meets Toni, a girl who has the same hopes and dreams that he used to have. After joining Toni's band, and reinventing himself as Cal Ryan, he is finally happy. However, Ryan discovers that moving to a new city with limited funds is more challenging than he thought.

This book caught my interest the minute I saw it! I think I probably signed up to the blog tour in record time, as I knew I just had to read this book! I had never read a book focusing on a teen pop star before, so I was interested to see what this book would be about.

The book follows Ryan, who later reinvents himself as Cal. Ryan is everything you would expect a rich, washed up pop star to be. He lives in a mansion, has more clothes than he could wear in a lifetime and is a bit of a brat and a player. I initially didn't like Ryan much, but I knew he was about to go on a journey that would change him for the better. After meeting Toni in a park, Ryan decides to leave his pop star past behind him, and travel from his hometown in Dublin to Belfast.

Firstly, I loved the setting of this book! I find that the majority of YA books are set in either America or London, so I loved that this one was mostly set in Northern Ireland. I loved seeing Ryan have to adapt to living in an unfamiliar city, and facing difficulties such as having to use a different currency, all while trying to blend in. As Ryan has no I.D, everything is made difficult for him, such as booking into hostels and being able to pawn belongings. I was however a little confused over how he was so easily able to get into bars and buy alcohol without any I.D. Although I'm not sure how often people get asked for I.D. In Irish bars, I felt as if Ryan would at least have come across a few problems.

Ryan's journey was interesting, and I loved that I didn't feel as if the story was progressing too slowly at any time. I did however prefer the last quarter of the book, as I thought that was when it really picked up, and I was concerned for Ryan's health and safety. Ryan never truly has a home in Belfast, and moves from place to place, until he eventually ends up on the streets. Near the start of the book, Ryan refuses to give a homeless person any money, making the excuse that they would just use it to buy drugs. I think most of us are guilty of frequently doing this. We don't think of the homeless person we see in a doorway as being someones son, daughter, father etc, and we assume they are on the streets due to alcohol or drug addiction. I loved how Ryan's perceptive changed once he was on the streets himself, being grateful when he was given £4. I adored Ryan's character development throughout the book, and how he was trying to become a better person.

I loved Ryan's relationship with his bandmates, Toni and Maryisa. Although it was obvious that Toni was going to end up being the love interest, I was happy that it wasn't too instalovey. I loved that Toni didn't fall for Ryan's popstar charm, and Ryan had to work to show Toni that he was a good person. I was happy that there was a little diversity in the form of Marysa, and I loved that she formed a strong friendship with Ryan.

Along with the horrible reality of homelessness, there were a few other upsetting scenes, including the aftermath of a minor being raped. Although this was an upsetting scene, I felt as if it helped to spread the message that just because someone seems nice, it doesn't mean they can be trusted. I felt as if Ryan did the right thing in helping the victim after the attack, but I also felt as if he could have done more to prevent it, as throughout the book, he felt uneasy about her having a boyfriend who was older than her. There is never anything right about grown men wanting to date children, and I felt as if Ryan could have intervened before it esculated.

Although it was clear Ryan had a bad relationship with his stepdad, I did initally think he had a good relationship with his mum. Although Ryan is legally an adult, and is perfectly within his rights to leave home, I felt as if once his mum heard from him and knew that he was safe, she stopped trying to find him, and even left the country. As she was aware that he had no money, I was shocked that she left him to his own devices so quickly. I know that if I was in Ryan's situation, my mum would come looking for me despite assuring her that I was fine. Although it's possible I misinterpreted how close Ryan was to his mum, I still felt as if she should have been a little more concerned for him.

I thought this was a unique and gripping story. Homeless youths are something that never really come up in YA novels, and this book brought up the harsh reality that there are young people living on the streets. Although Ryan voluntarily left his home, other young people aren't so lucky, and are forced out of their homes with nowhere to go. Along with themes of self discovery and the fantastic music elements, I felt as if this was both an important and wholesome read about how anyone can turn their life around for the better, and how it is okay to turn to other people for help. I definitely recommend Street Song! But don't just take my word for it, check out what all the other awesome bloggers on the tour thought

Street Song is now available to purchase!

BlackandWhitePublishing| Amazon Book Depository 

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