“Charlotte Huang is an author to watch! This fast-paced and funny debut had me hooked from page one. Like your new favorite song, this is a story that stays with you!”—Morgan Matson, New York Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Everything
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
“Going on tour with Chelsea and the Melbourne guys made me feel like I was on the best summer break of my life. Once you start reading For the Record, you won’t want to stop!” —Leila Sales, author of This Song Will Save Your Life
“A fresh look at teenage stardom and the music industry that avoids gimmicks and clichéd plotlines in favor of realistic characters and a heartfelt love of the subject. I adored hanging out with Chelsea and the boys of Melbourne—when they felt the music, I felt it, and when they were off their game, so was I. Fun, fast, and colorful, this book isn’t just for music lovers, it’s for anyone who ever looked at a band onstage and thought, ‘I wonder what that would be like.’” —Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up
“A pitch-perfect and utterly addictive debut. Pure escapist fun!”—Michelle Krys, author of Hexed
About the Author
Visit Charlotte online at charlottehuangbooks.com and follow Charlotte on Instagram & @charlottexhuang on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
As far as stupid mistakes go, failing to get to the stage when your band is making a major announcement probably ranks pretty high. But I was lost in the fog of an unlikely makeout session in the bathroom of the Roxy when I heard Pem take the mike. “We want to say a big thank-you to everyone for coming out tonight. Come on up here, guys. Thanks to everyone at Pacific for supporting Melbourne and believing in our record. And thanks to the folks at AEA, we have some exciting news.”
Oh crap. I tore my lips away from Lucas Rivers in a total panic. “I have to go.” I slammed out of the stall, fixing my shirt as I went.
“Um, anyone seen Chelsea? Okay, she’ll get up here in a minute. Anyway--” Pem stalled, waiting for me to get my butt onstage.
“I’ll call you,” Lucas drawled to my back.
I checked the mirror to make sure I didn’t have lipstick smeared all over my face, then turned to look at him. He shot me his trademark smile, eyes bright with mischief. God, that face. No wonder it was plastered on every billboard and bus shelter in the country. “You don’t have my number,” I said, and banged out of the bathroom.
In my rush, I plowed right into a wall. Only it wasn’t a wall. It was a mountain wearing a black double-breasted blazer over a T-shirt, with sunglasses perched on his head even though it was nighttime. “Excuse me.” I checked my irritation. It wasn’t his fault I’d missed my cue.
He didn’t acknowledge me but reached behind me and used one of his treelike arms to prop open the door. “Yo!” he said into the bathroom.
“Yeah, coming,” Lucas called back as I ran off.
Sneaking onstage at the Roxy in front of five hundred people was idiotic, but I had no choice. I dodged spotlights, acting like my late entrance was planned. When I reached Pem’s side, he covered his mike with his hand. “Nice of you to join us,” he muttered, eyes flashing so hard they could have lit my head on fire.
Malcolm and Beckett avoided looking at me, not wanting any part of the trouble I was in.
Pem turned back to the crowd. “We’re completely stoked for our tour this summer. Come out and see us!”
Malcolm grabbed the mike, interrupting the applause. “We’re hitting thirty cities! Coming soon to a club near you!” He pointed dramatically at the audience, then dropped the mike and walked offstage. Pem suppressed a laugh. For reasons I hadn’t figured out yet, Malcolm could get away with things Beckett and I couldn’t.
We followed Malcolm up to the dressing room, where we collapsed on sunken couches. The place was shabby, with stains on the carpet, fluorescent lighting, and walls covered in band stickers. Half-eaten pizzas sat congealing on the foldout table. This was rock and roll, all right.
Sam, Melbourne’s manager, came into the room. He looked harried but was trying to pull it together. An evening of hanging around music industry execs will rattle even the heartiest of men. “Good job, guys. And Chelsea. That was a killer set. If you can bring it like that on tour, we’re gonna be all good.” I clung to Sam’s praise like it was a life raft, relieved that I hadn’t disappointed.
Pem reached up and high-fived Sam before fixing his glare on me. “Where the hell were you?” I should have known he wasn’t going to let it slide.
“Yeah, Chelsea. You gotta make it to the stage on time,” Sam said.
I guessed the praise portion of the evening was over. That was short-lived. “Sorry. I thought we were supposed to socialize.”
“Is that what you kids are calling it these days? She disappeared with that douche bag.” Malcolm grinned and winked at me. “Guess I won’t be the only ‘Ho’ on tour.”
My face burned, but the others smirked at Malcolm’s clever pun. Ho was his last name, and from what I gathered, he certainly lived up to it. With his sparkling brown eyes, warm tawny skin, and easy smile, it wasn’t hard to see why girls went for him. Plus, speaking from my years of experience on the other side of the stage, rock groupies seemed to have it bad for drummers. But then I watched Malcolm reach for pizza that had been sitting out for hours and thought maybe the girls should think twice.
“What was Lucas Rivers doing at our record release?” Beckett’s tone was curious, not judgmental.
Sam shrugged. “He’s a Melbourne fan. AEA put him on their list.” Artists and Entertainers Agency, which represented us, also represented Lucas Rivers.
Pem grimaced, shaking his head. “That guy. His movies are unwatchable.” As a bona fide Lucas Rivers fan, I couldn’t have disagreed more, but I wasn’t dumb enough to say so.
“I read he makes twenty million a movie,” Malcolm said.
I was dying for them to stop talking about this. I hadn’t begun to process that less than half an hour ago, I’d been mashing lips with the hottest teen star in Hollywood. It just figured that the first time I kissed a guy in almost two years, I got in trouble for it.
After our set I’d lingered by the bar, chatting up our publicist and radio promo staff as instructed, when Lucas slid onto the stool next to me and bought me a drink. Not that I’d asked for one, and not that either of us was legal. But that didn’t seem to faze anyone involved in the transaction.
Here’s the first thing I noticed: when Lucas Rivers wanted your attention, he got it. Beyond his well-documented physical attributes, he had a way of locking in so that I felt like I was the only person in the club. As soon as our eyes met, everyone else slowly blurred out of my vision.
“I wasn’t sure how I’d like Melbourne with a new singer, but you’re perfect,” Lucas said as an introduction.
I tried not to look overly grateful. “Thank you.”
A lot of people thought Hollis Carter was Melbourne, so I knew there was a good chance that in taking her job, I was setting myself up for a blog-verse of hate. Whatever. I loved the band; plus it fulfilled my contract with Pacific Records and got me out of another mind-numbing summer in Lydon, Michigan. It was the job of a lifetime.
My life had taken such a surreal detour in the past several months that initially I didn’t even question why Lucas Rivers would suddenly materialize in front of me. Or why he’d down his drink, then hold out his hand and lead me to the front of the club. I thought maybe he wanted to go outside so we wouldn’t have to shout over the music, but he guided me into the dingy vestibule in front of the bathrooms.
“So did you get your complimentary copy of Barn Burning?” I sounded like the tongue-tied dork that I was.
“I already had it. My agent sent it over,” Lucas said.
“And you like it?”
“Very much. I like how you bring more power to the vocals. I’m a sucker for girls with beautiful voices.”
I’m pretty sure I kissed him then. It could have been the drink (though I didn’t remember actually drinking any of it). Or maybe I was finally cracking from the absurd amount of stress I’d been under. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to kiss Lucas Rivers?
The next thing I knew, we were in a bathroom stall, all over each other. It was probably good that Pem summoned me back to earth before I did anything really stupid. Just because I’d watched Lucas’s movies a million times didn’t mean I actually knew the guy.
Now Sam finished running down the logistics for the start of our tour. I snapped to attention when I realized that all eyes were on me. “What?” I asked. “I’ll be fine.” I mean, they acted like I hadn’t delivered on everything they’d asked of me.
Sam looked down at the ground, tense. “I know you’ll be busy finishing up school, but you have to keep your voice in shape. Five shows a week is no joke. And living on a bus, eating crap food every night, takes a toll. Drink a lot of water, get good sleep. And it wouldn’t hurt to get some exercise.”
Great. Yet another not-so-subtle comment about my weight. I was hardly plus-sized; I was curvy in all the right places and, fine, a couple of the wrong ones. But Lucas Rivers hadn’t seemed to mind. Next to the manorexic members of Melbourne, though, I’m sure I seemed out of place. Not like perfectly waify Hollis Carter. “I’ll make sure to fit some in,” I lied. I didn’t play sports and hated any kind of mindless physical exertion. My exercise routine could easily have been mistaken for dancing around my room in front of a pretend audience.
“Your parents want to know if they can come up,” Sam said.
I took a quick scan of my bandmates’ faces. They didn’t seem to be in the mood for company, let alone my parents. “I’ll go out,” I said, standing.
“One more thing,” Pem said. “I’m actually glad the douche bag incident happened, because it reminded me to raise this point: there will be absolutely no hooking up between members of the band and crew.” We all stared at Pem. “Am I speaking Arabic or something?”
“It’s just, if you were going for subtlety, I think you missed the mark,” Beckett said. He flicked a guitar pick he’d been holding across the room and it hit the wall with a satisfying thwack!
I cleared my throat. “Was that for my benefit?” I mean, they were gorgeous and everything, but still, wasn’t he being a little presumptuous?
“Does cuddling count?” Malcolm asked. “’Cause I like to cuddle. Ask Beckett.” Beckett searched for another guitar pick to flick.
Pem ignored them both. “I’m mostly talking to you, but I want to make the boundaries clear for everyone.” His gaze was disconcerting.
Maybe he was worried that he might lose control and jump my bones, because the other two had shown me about as much welcome as they would a Hot Pocket. Maybe not quite that much welcome. Besides, I wasn’t here to be anyone’s girlfriend.
“Well, I’m obviously sad we won’t be sharing any special moments, but I understand,” I said. “Can I go now?”
“Yeah,” Sam said. “See you in Pittsburgh on the twenty-first.”
The house lights were on, exposing the club’s grubbiness. It was empty except for a few stragglers, including Brian and Linda Ford, my parents. My stout, gray-haired, dress-shirt-wearing father couldn’t have looked more out of place, but that didn’t stop him from searching to see if there was anyone left to talk to. I was emotionally fried but tried to muster some enthusiasm when I saw their shining faces.
“Honey, you were sensational!” my mother squealed, giving me a hug. When I pulled back, she reached over to brush hair out of my eyes. Her heavy gold bangle clanked against my forehead. My mom’s efforts to be maternal were always fraught with peril.
“Thanks. Can we go order room service?” We had an obnoxiously early flight back home. “The guys are exhausted but send hugs and kisses and said they can’t wait to see you in Detroit.”
My mother looked concerned. “Are you sure? We should at least say goodbye.”
My parents often flat-out refused to take the hint. I started toward the exit but couldn’t help glancing around on the off chance Lucas Rivers had decided to wait. He hadn’t, of course. As I passed the bathroom, I said a silent goodbye to that special stall. I avoided annoying my bandmates as a general rule, but I have to say, five minutes in bathroom heaven with Lucas Rivers might have been worth it.
Monday morning back at my house in Lydon, I came downstairs to see my best friend, Mandy, suffering through one of my mother’s stream-of-consciousness monologues. “You won’t believe it when you see her with the band. And the guys, oh my goodness. You’ll just die when you meet them.”
“I can’t wait,” Mandy said. Most people seemed to like my parents; Mandy was just good at pretending she did. She looked so reassuringly the same: sandy blond hair tied up in a knot, Joy Division T-shirt and cutoffs. I’d put on jeans, red Chuck Taylors, and a black T-shirt, hoping that I’d seem the same too.
My mother hurried to answer our phone. It’d been ringing nonstop since we got home, but none of the calls were for me. “Hello, Amy . . . Just fabulous . . . Yes, they finally announced the tour. . . . Well, at any rate, she’s going to have the summer of her life. . . .”
I gritted my teeth. “My parents are awesome at keeping secrets.”
“Don’t look at me. I kept my mouth shut,” Mandy said.
I smiled, but really, who was she going to tell? She had the same number of friends that I had: one.
We left and got into Mandy’s charmingly rust-eaten Honda Civic. “So. Spill it.” She alternated glancing in the rearview with looking at me expectantly as she pulled onto the street.
“Let me get past this final. Then I’d be happy to bore you to death at lunch.” Despite having the plane ride home, including a two-hour layover and last night to review, I couldn’t seem to switch gears. For the next week I had to forget everything but school. One thing at a time. Determined, I pulled out my precalculus notes.
“That is so lame! You barely emailed me while you were there,” Mandy said.
“All right. Here’s one thing: I kissed Lucas Rivers.”
“What? You’re kidding me! Are you kidding me?” Mandy screeched to a stop in the Starbucks parking lot.
“I can definitely see why you’d go there, but no.”
“Oh my God. How? Is he friends with the band? Caryn Sullivan will lose her shit. No wait, she’d never believe it--”
I got out to make our coffee run. Mrs. Carlson’s final was going to be ugly enough. Only a fool would attempt it without caffeine.
I wasn’t sure how my joining Melbourne had stayed a secret for the past six months with my parents bragging to anyone who’d listen. The best I could figure was that their friends didn’t care about bands or music and so didn’t bother to repeat any of it. Also, nobody at Lydon High had been the least bit curious when I disappeared for winter break. I’d spent it in Los Angeles recording my parts for Barn Burning. Turns out keeping personal information under wraps is super easy when no one cares.
Even now that Melbourne had announced me as lead singer at the Roxy when we did the record release, I doubted I was on anyone’s radar. Part of the reason was that Lydon was severely lacking in the indie hipster department. The other major reason was that I’d cemented my loser status last year when I went on the reality show American Pop Star. Every week, the judges had picked apart my look, calling it “overdone emo” or “angry goth.” Forget that those two scenes weren’t even remotely friendly, or that producers had dictated everyone’s wardrobe and makeup from the start. I learned a ton (some things I wish I could unlearn) and I definitely got a thicker skin, but when I was voted off, I wasn’t overly broken up about it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I want to thank Delacorte Press for providing me with a copy of this book to review and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review. I really enjoyed the movie Almost Famous. So give me a book that totes the same thing but in YA form and I'm hooked. Plus, I have been reading some rock star YA books lately that I have really enjoyed. So when I got this I was ready to jump right in. I love the idea that we get to follow around a young band and see all the ins and outs of their workings. It was also interesting to watch the dynamics between the different band members. As you would expect, there is also a pecking order within the band. So, for Chelsea as the newest member, you can imagine she had to earn the respect of the members as well as her plus. Throw in the fact that she's replacing a girl the band members knew for long before and she's got some tough shoes to fill. My favorite aspect of Chelsea was her ability to stand up for herself. She really didn't take any nonsense from the band members. That's not to say she wasn't worried about gaining their trust and respect, but she really wanted to do it on her own terms, and not as someone filling the shoes of the previous lead singer. She didn't have an easy go at it. She was constantly being judged and placed under the microscope. When she altered how the band normally chose to do things, that put a bit of a rift between her and the other members. I liked how she was able to form relationships with each band member and they were distinct. But when her sudden rise to stardom threatens what the band members consider sacred, she has to prove to them she's more than the selfish girl they are making her out to be. I will say that parts of this book dragged just a bit for me while other parts I flew through. I liked that Chelsea had a confidant in Beckett, one of the band members. It was nice to watch that relationship blossom into something and not have it based in some romantic fairy tale thoughts in Chelsea's head. You could see them growing closer and watch their dynamic change but I could also tell Becket often held things back from Chelsea as if those things would some how hurt her. It's hard for me to imagine living on a bus for two months with all the people from the band. I am sure your privacy is null and sometimes you just feel the need to break free. I suppose you would get cabin fever. Plus every day running from one town to the next, without being able to put your feet down and relax would be taxing. I was surprised by some of the things Chelsea had to do, like her laundry. I can't imagine on a tour with buses and crews there wouldn't be someone around to do that for you. So some parts of this story stood out as unrealistic to me. Overall I enjoyed the story. I would say things really didn't get going for me until about 3/4 of the way through the book, with all the world building and relationship building kind of a necessary evil to get you from point A to point B. I think those who have always wanted to know what's it like to tour with a band will enjoy this coming of age story.
**Thanks so much to Penguin RandomHouse for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I'm a huge fan of music. Honestly, in this day in age, I don't know who isn't. It's uplifting and lets you forget about life for a little while, or even enjoy life more. It's a way to connect to others and know that you're not the only one going through something tough in your life. It's a way to bring the world together. That's why I knew that For The Record was going to be a book that I loved. The story follows a girl named Chelsea who has recently become the new lead singer for a band called Melbourne. The past lead singer, Hollis, decided to give singing a break because she wanted a normal life so she went off to college. Now, Chelsea has to try to find a way to fit in and please the fans as well as her new band members. For all she knows, everyone will just want Chelsea back. Chelsea was such an awesome character and I loved how dorky she was. She actually made it onto a singing show a while back though nobody in her town appreciated it! Chelsea even said that it actually made her even more of an outcast, which made me feel bad for her. I'd be totally proud if someone from my town made it onto TV. One year, someone from my town actually made it on to Big Brother and there were literally parties at the local pizza joint where everyone would go and watch it together. Okay, back to the review! I think that my favorite character would have to be Beckett. He was extremely sweet to Chelsea and I loved how he always made her feel welcome, even though everything regarding going on tour was completely new to her. I also liked Mandy, Chelsea's friend. I found it hilarious that the band decided to call her Merch Mandy since she sold the band's merchandise for the tour. After reading this book, I know that I'd probably read it again. I definitely suggest giving it a read if you're a music fan!