GENRE: YA Contemporary
When her all-girl band the Wretched Gretchens goes on tour, seventeen-year-old Charlie sings goodbye to the crush all her songs are about and hello to the rock star lifestyle. Between eardrum-splitting shows and heart-thumping parties, Charlie struggles with the increasing distance between her bandmates — and what happens when she’s the only one who wants to go home.
There were at least eleven ways she could screw this up, and as she death-marched from the greenroom to the stage, Charlie counted them all.
One: drop the mic.
Two: trip on a cord.
Three through ten: accidentally-on-purpose forget the lyrics to her songs.
And finally: faint and do a major face-plant into the first row, try to pass it off as an attempt at crowd-surfing and desperately hope someone would catch her.
She could probably get away with two through ten. Her band might not even fully blame her. But sabotage was the wrong way to tell them she didn’t want to win, and Charlie wasn’t exactly the crafty type. Besides, number eleven sounded absolutely mortifying, and no one except middle-aged men who refused to believe punk was over really crowd-surfed anymore.
Deep breaths, six/eight time. Charlie glanced at her half-bitten nails before pushing back the stage curtain. She inched to the front, lifting a hand to her eyes as the lights changed from dim to destroy-your-corneas blinding.
Next to her, Roxanne plugged in a guitar. “Stop looking like you’re going to puke,” she said, swishing her long hair over her shoulder. “We’re going to kill it.”
It only took four cracks of the drumsticks and a crunch of gritty power chords for Charlie to believe her. Then came the bass, shaking her feet and pounding up her spine, forcing her heart to thump with it. The microphone waited, and Charlie flexed her fingers around it, enjoying its coldness against her skin.