cover image Keeping the Beat

Keeping the Beat

Marie Powell and Jeff Norton. KCP Loft, $17.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-77138-730-9

Lucy Gosling and Harper McKenzie, both 17, were once best friends, but Harper has a wild streak that Lucy’s protective parents fear. Even though Lucy’s parents want her to focus on her schooling, Lucy and Harper wind up entering a reality TV band competition, Project Next. Their band, Crush, includes three other school friends, and things heat up after the group wins the British competition and heads to Los Angeles to prepare for the final competition. Unsupervised, the girls deal with a series of soap operatic issues including addiction, eating disorders, sexual assault, a hit-and-run, and Harper’s murder, which is revealed in the opening pages. Debut novelist Powell (a pseudonym) and Norton (the MetaWars series) have created a page-turning thriller, originally published in the U.K. as Drummer Girl, that doesn’t skimp on the drama. Rotating among the perspectives of a handful of characters, the authors keep up a swift narrative pace, though they don’t delve too deeply into character development. Readers learn just enough to stay curious about what will happen next to Lucy and her bandmates. Ages 13–up. [em](Apr.) [/em]