I’m not going to lie, I was really really excited to read Fireworks. I’ve heard Kristin from SuperSpaceChick and Lysette praise it. There was a lot of hype surrounding it and with good reason. As much as I wanted to love the book, I was disappointed more than anything sadly.
There will be spoilers from Fireworks if you haven’t read the book yet. Just be cautious because I’ll be talking about characters, plot points and general happenings from the book.
Being set in the 90’s, I was ready for a girl band experience. I love girl bands and hearing about one being made sounded cool. At first, the book started off great. I loved the friendship between Olivia and Dana. They honestly were portrayed like best friends it was extremely authentic.
Once the girls got picked to be in Daisy Chain, it started to go downhill for me. I didn’t like how much the other members ganged on Dana. She was the only one with no professional training and they bullied her about it constantly. Plus Olivia completely turned her back on Dana the first chance she got and it was sad. I was really rooting for them to stick together.
I especially didn’t like the character of Kristin. She was a complete brat and basically lived to make Dana’s life miserable. Ashley was alright, but another meh character for me. I did really love Dana’s friends from home though especially SJ. She was the voice of reason when Dana didn’t want to listen.
The other characters I loved were the members of Hurricane State. They seemed like the typical group of boy banders. Basically, guys who were brought together to as a project and ended up being successful, in the same vein as NSYNC and One Direction. My favorite was Alex, obviously as the others were mentioned briefly but not explored fully.
What really put me off was how much the girls were pitted against each other. I know it was trying to be authentic, but that’s not cool. It made me sad to watch their friendship deteriorate and even more, the ending. Olivia and Dana made that deal and Olivia backed out on her. It was such a heartbreaking end to the book and one I wasn’t expecting frankly. It only fueled my disliked for Olivia and made her into a more pretentious brat.
The relationship I liked in the story was Alex and Dana. While it was a little weird at first, the two really complimented each other. He was a little persistent but still a likable character. Alex and Dana had their fair share of ups and downs but they made it work and I admired Cotugno for ending the story that way. They easily redeemed the book for me as I found their relationship to be pretty realistic albeit a little fast-moving.
The book actually took me by surprise in a lot of ways. I was surprised at how much swearing there was. Usually, YA is pretty swear-free but I liked the swearing. It was more authentic to how teenagers actually talk. There was more sexual stuff than I thought there would be but nothing too graphic or explicit.
Another thing that surprised me was the side-plot of Olivia’s eating disorder. It was such a weird element to add to the story, a confusing one. It didn’t really add another to her character, either. I thought it was strange.
Overall, I had way different ideas about the book and thought I was getting into something else. I thought it was going to be a book following female friendship but it quickly became something else. I did love Cotugno’s writing style and I’m not saying I won’t pick up one of her books again. Maybe I shouldn’t have started with this one.
I give Fireworks 3.5 out of 5 stars.