Fifteen year-old Taylor Beauforte is having a typical summer. Her fast-living mom is throwing embarrassing parties, and Taylor is working part-time making smoothies, and hanging out with her best friend Allison.
A month later, her entire life has been turned upside down. Taylor's mom dies suddenly during one of her wild parties. Just as Taylor begins to wonder what will become of her, she finds out her dad is coming to pick her up. Her dad--whom she's seen twice in her life--is Chase Atwood, lead singer of Pound, one of the biggest rock bands in America.
So Taylor is quickly swept from her little house in L.A. onto a private jet, and whisked away to Jacksonville, the first stop on Pound's summer tour.
It's a world Taylor has never known. They stay in luxury hotels, with staffers available to take care of every need. When Taylor needs a swimsuit, a production assistant runs out and gets one for her.
The other big adjustments are Jill and Kelsey, Chase's wife and young daughter.
Once she gets used to her new surroundings, Taylor starts to get used to life on the road, before finally recognizing it for the drudgery it can be. Moreover, she finds an unusual byproduct of the paparazzi constantly shooting her father: Taylor finds herself showing up in various teen fashion magazines. Very definitely terra incognita for a fashion-challenged kid who'd never thought about clothes before.
On the road, Taylor makes friends with Jake, a teen whose mom travels with the band. They grow close, but is it love?
There are a number of things that could go wrong with "The Rock Star's Daughter," several cliche traps to bog it down. Author Caitlyn Duffy does a good job of navigating around these pitfalls. For example, it would have been too easy to adopt a Cinderella leitmotif, where the stepmother is evil, and everyone's love is reserved for little Kelsey. The opposite could also have wrecked the story, if Taylor ended up being the new center of attention and repository of universal love and affection. Or, Taylor--a classical violin student at her New England boarding school--could have ended up playing in her father's band. Tons of possible cliches, gracefully avoided. Thanks, Caitlyn Duffy for that.
Mostly, I liked the way the family dynamics worked in this book. It was a new and awkward situation for everyone. Taylor's dad probably had the easiest time, since he was so insulated from responsibility. The adaption was hard for Jill, who suddenly had a 15 year-old stepdaughter, but Taylor had it roughest. She not only had to deal with an entirely different world, but she'd just lost her mother, who--many faults and all--was still the only family she'd known. I also liked the way the author shows the business side of a major rock band's tour. She even mentions riders, those contract addenda that dictate what sort of food and beverage will be provided for the band and their entourage.
"The Rock Star's Daughter" is part of the "Treadwell Academy" series, and is disclaimed as being for kids 12 and up. There are some elements that might be a little much for some sheltered younger teens: some kissing, underage drinking, bratty rich teens getting trashed and taking their bikini tops off, even (gasp) references to sex. Honestly, I think it depends on the kid whether this book would be appropriate, content-wise.
Despite the occasional peek of decadence, there are some good examples set forth. Taylor has to learn not to judge people based on uninformed first-impressions--the rich girl might not be so bad, and the poor hard-working boy might be a scumbag. Also, it's possible for love to take root where you never imagined it could, and for love to beget forgiveness for ones transgressions.
If I had a complaint about "The Rock Star's Daughter," it would be that the ending seemed a little pat for my jaded sensibilities, but for the book's target audience, I think it will satisfy.
This is one of those serendipitous books I sometimes find in my Kindle, with no memory of having bought it. In this case, I'm really glad I did. At the risk of sounding like a complete perv, I'll say this: I had a really good time spending the evening with "The Rock Star's Daughter."