Cover Image: The Ballad of Stevie Pearl

The Ballad of Stevie Pearl

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Member Reviews

Two people from different worlds -- Stevie, a famous pop star and Alex, an illustrator -- meet and fall in love. The story traces Stevie's journey to have more control of her career and public persona, while in the throes of new love with Alex. 
The story had potential but did not build up to engage the reader enough. The twist in the last ten per cent of the book and eventual conclusion was very left-field.
Thank you netgalley for the ARC.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Surf Star Media for providing me with an advance reader copy of The Ballad of Stevie Pearl in exchange for an honest review. 

The Ballad of Stevie Pearl follows the life of global, mega pop-star Stevie Pearl, and Native American illustrator Alex Nopah who’s making a name for himself in Hollywood. 

Right from the beginning, you’re drawn into the glitz and glamour of the celebrity world, and all the ugliness it contains. Stevie, who seems heavily inspired by Taylor Swift, is the biggest pop star on the planet who started quite young. Stevie comes across as being too good of a person - and I do not mean in a good way, just that she is far too ideal. She does not seem to have a single flaw. Since the entire story is being narrated by Stevie herself, I doubt how valid that is. Like her only flaw is, perhaps, trusting people too much. Even the best of the celebrities in reality have their vices and flaws, and many of them are performative activists at best but not her. Found that a bit unbelievable but I digress; it’s a story so it’s perfectly possible for such a celebrity to exist. In fact, many celebrities could do with being more like her - putting their money where their mouth is.

Alex is someone who left the comfort of his home to achieve his dream of being an illustrator - his works are now being made for the silver screen. He works hard, puts up with his older brother’s tantrums, and helps his mother and grandmother out quite frequently. He is different from everyone Stevie has ever dated, and they connect with each other quite well in their very first interaction. 

What I think works in favour of the book: It is the kind of read that gets you out of a slump - it is quick, and mostly to the point. It reads a lot like a script, so it’s pretty easy to imagine everything as it is happening. The characters have their quirks and will get a good laugh out of you at times. 

Now, for what I did not like: the main relationship. I never really connected with Stevie and Alex’s relationship. Everything felt extremely rushed, and relied too much on the “when it’s the right person, everything just works out” trope. A good romance book, in my opinion, really gets you invested in the characters’ relationship but I never found myself actively rooting for them because their relationship simply never developed well enough. The other characters that appeared frequently also failed to leave any lasting impression. 

The story itself was okay but it left me wanting more. The ending was traumatic and abrupt. The author, at the end of the book, has mentioned that the very last sequence of the story came to them first, and the rest of the story was built from that last scene. This is very evident because I did find the last few scenes to be far more impactful than the rest of the book.

The story has phonetic dialogues, which I am not very fond of, so that also definitely impacted my reading experience. The fact that it read like a script for the majority of the book did not help either (I know I mentioned it works in favour of the book but only if you don't mind it, personally, I do not enjoy it so much). I also found myself getting bored at points. I think developing individual characters - all of them, because while Alex and Stevie are the main characters, many of them appear very frequently - could have elevated this story to another level.

Overall, it is a good read for when you are in a slump or just want an easy read. It is heavy at times because of the various things it deals with - racism, the ending where both the protagonists are subject to extreme violence - so do not feel compelled to go on at the cost of your mental health.

Happy reading!
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This story was beautifully written. It highlighted some very important social issues, the characters were easy to love, and I really felt for them throughout the entire book. It's so important to have stories that discuss uncomfortable topics, so I do appreciate that this one dove into a few. 

That being said, I did have a really hard time with the ending of this book. It had all wrapped up so nicely and then took a really horrific turn. I'm definitely a reader that prefers a happy ending, and I feel like the characters with robbed of that. It was a great story, I just wish it ended a couple of chapters earlier so Stevie and Alex could have stayed happy.
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This one didn't really work for me. I got sucked in as I've read a lot of good musician fiction of late, but this one didn't grab me the way others have. A nice idea, and some good writing but it felt a bit flat.
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Cute love story for the most part. I was rooting for them from the start. The characters were relatable, all in their own ways. Overall, I think it’s a fast read, entertaining, and heartbreaking when you least expect it. That ending… I’m going to need a few days to process it. 

3.5 stars
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"The Ballad of Stevie Pearl" by SW Hammond promises readers a captivating and multifaceted story that transcends the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. This novel appears to be a clever blend of romance, pop culture, and social commentary, offering an engaging and thought-provoking reading experience.

Stevie Pearl, the enigmatic pop star, and Alex Nopah, the grounded illustrator, seem to be compelling protagonists with intriguing backstories. The novel's premise, which touches on themes of fame, identity, and societal issues, adds depth and substance to what might otherwise appear to be a conventional celebrity romance.

Hammond's approach to storytelling, filled with humor and a quirky ensemble of characters, promises to keep readers entertained and emotionally invested in the narrative. The combination of humor, romance, and social commentary suggests that this book offers a well-rounded exploration of modern themes and challenges.

The comparison to "Romeo and Juliet" adds an interesting layer of complexity to the story, hinting at themes of societal division and the power of love to bridge gaps.

Overall, "The Ballad of Stevie Pearl" appears to be a thought-provoking and entertaining read that delves beneath the surface of fame and fortune to explore deeper, more meaningful aspects of life and relationships. If you're looking for a novel that combines romance with social insight and a touch of humor, this book seems like an excellent choice.
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A great book I love it. I like how the author did it like a soundtrack? And every song related to what's happening in that chapter.. This girl named s t e v I pearl was a music person but her life was so controlled by these media corporation. She just wanted a normal life to go out and have fun. It made up stories every time she went out with boys. Her friend Franklin was Her bodyguard and he tried to give her someone of a normal life is to sneak out and get tacos. She had a very lonely Wife and don't think she really like that. Alex came into her life through a party and he was Comic con artist who did graphic novels. One of his novels was turned into a movie, and he was working really hard in that. He was also native american, and he was still kind of tied to the reservation as well. He was really a great guy because he didn't really understand what all this nonsense was about. He fell for this. Ste Vi E. I think it was like a love story as well. They, too, hit it off. Really well. Because he wasn't trying to give a fancy dinner or fancy jewelry.. He showed her what a normal life could be. They went to the beach and had tacos. An alex Found somebody he could be comfortable with and enjoyed every minute with her. You even bought her to the reservations but that didn't turn out too well. When you finish the book, you don't understand what really happened. And how tragedy struck everybody.
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The Ballad of Stevie Pearl by SW Hammond begins in Los Angeles, where everything that glitters is not gold. Even the life of pop star Stevie Pearl is not without complications. Since she cannot really go anywhere without chaos quickly following, her life has become similar to living as a caged bird.

Her best friend, Celeste, introduces her to Alex Nopah, a Native American illustrator. His star is on the rise in the comic book world. His graphic novel is being made into a movie. Alex is definitely not ready for a spotlight on his life that is quite so bright and terrible.

A video of Alex dancing at Stevie’s party goes viral which turns his world upside down. People commented all kinds of crazy and racist things about Alex.

However, he really likes Stevie for all of the right reasons. So they take a chance on getting to know each other under the almost constant supervision of her bodyguard, Franklin. Stevie and her bodyguards also dress up in cosplay to attend a comic book convention. It was a really sweet and funny moment.

Stevie’s team of entertainment lawyers and other associates go too far to protect their client after the viral video. The team doesn’t think Alex is right for Stevie’s image – meaning that they don’t approve of his ethnicity.

They try to intimidate Alex into not seeing Stevie by sabotaging his movie deal for the comic book. They also attempt to blackmail Stevie so she will do what they want. Stevie doesn’t sit around waiting for them to ruin the career of Alex or her own career. In the end, she puts a stop to the mistreatment in the most magnificent way.

At the beginning of the book, the reader knows that Stevie has been on hiatus and is now preparing for a televised interview. I wouldn’t say that the ending was satisfying because it was unbelievably heartbreaking. I was not prepared for all of the emotions.

If you like stories about love, music, and comic books, then you might enjoy The Ballad of Stevie Pearl. Racists will not like this book but we don’t care about them, do we? So go get a copy and enjoy it in spite of those other people.

Book Reviews


*I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review. All opinions are my own. Obviously.
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Writing this review with tears still in my eyes, wow. Thanks netgallery and  SW Hammond for the ARC of T he Ballad of Stevie Pearl. I could not put this book down. Page after page I turned all the way to an ending that had me speechless. This book was very well written switching between the 2 main characters perspectives. 2 completely different worlds colliding and it was wonderful. This book will stay with me for a long time.
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I am a sucker for celebrity main characters/storylines and getting a glimpse into their Hollywood lifestyles, even if it is fictionalized. When I read the description for this book it looked like another powerful celebrity story that I could get lost in. I found all the characters likable and I enjoyed the banter between everyone and their relationships with each other. They were all well-written. However, I felt like the timing in the book skipped around a bit especially nearing the end. It skipped right through Stevie and Alex's relationship as soon as it fully started to form and I would have wanted to see much more between the two of them. I knew going in from the description and the prologue that some tragedy was going to take place but it just felt so out of place with the rest of the story. I didn't like how graphic the ending was, which I normally don't have an issue with but I didn't even have time to feel sad like I think you should feel for an ending like this. I was just too disturbed I almost couldn't get past it. This would have been a solid 5-star read for me if it didn't skip forward so much towards the end and if the ending hadn't been so graphic and out of nowhere. I love a good plot twist but this felt so forced and wrong for these characters and what they had been fighting for the whole book. Definitely check trigger warnings before reading this one. Thank you to Net Galley and Surf Star Media for this ARC.
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Alex Nopah is still getting accustomed to his new level of 'stardom': as the illustrator for a graphic novel that gets picked up by Hollywood and turned into a movie, Alex goes from being recognized by a few friends and family on the Rez, to seeing fans line up to meet him at Comicon. When his co-worker and friend introduces him to her best friend, superstar Stevie Pearl, and sparks fly- Alex is suddenly in a whole new world. As the internet trolls come out and start attacking Alex for his Native American heritage, Stevie takes matters into her own hands.

There are aspects of this story I really enjoyed- first and foremost, the heartbreaking insights into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Stevie Pearl has all the money in the world, but can't even enjoy take-out tacos without an approved plan through security and her legal team. The amount of control and the intimidation tactics used are a side of the industry fans rarely see. I loved seeing Stevie's growth and the way she refused to be manipulated. I was rooting for her the whole time.

I just couldn't get behind the love story aspect. I think this really took a backseat to the other issues presented in the novel, and that's fine- but for me, I wanted more of a relationship between the two characters. The flow of the novel was great- it takes off, the writing was excellent and I enjoyed reading it, but then suddenly I was 75% through and there were was no romance. It seems like the author forgot to build up their relationship and suddenly threw them together and added some "I love you's" and the reader just has to accept the fact that this relationship happened unbeknownst to us. 

The final 15% of the book is insane- it truly comes out of nowhere, and I was completely caught off guard. It was heartbreaking, and triggering, and there is no warning. I think readers should be aware, because it truly does not fit with the flow of the novel. 

I did enjoy reading this one, but I was left wishing it was more flushed-out. It seemed too quick, and not enough build up. I really felt like I was missing a solid chunk of the story. Despite that, I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in celebrity lives or the music industry.
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Although this was a little slow it get into but when it picked up the pace during the middle, I was hooked. It was a very unforgettable story. Loved it
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3.50 ⭐️

As I delve deeper into the captivating world of The Ballad of Stevie Pearl, I'm intrigued by the enigmatic allure of its cover and the tantalizing promise of the title. Being an ardent Taylor Swift fan, the notion of a narrative steeped in pop culture and glamour instantly draws me in.

The contrasting journeys of Stevie Pearl and Alex Nopah add layers of complexity to the story. Stevie Pearl, the cherished pop sensation, embodies a mesmerizing fusion of Texan authenticity and California dreams, making her a global sensation. Despite her overwhelming fame, her longing for true freedom within the chaos of stardom creates an intriguing and relatable conflict.

On the other hand, Alex Nopah's rise from an illustrator to a Hollywood insider, with his roots on a reservation, promises a compelling exploration of identity and the clash between two vastly different worlds—the opulence of LA and the grounded upbringing that shaped him.

Beyond the glitzy facade of fame and celebrity lies a profound narrative that delves into Stevie Pearl's true essence. I'm eager to witness her evolution from a pop sensation to a powerful and savvy businesswoman, navigating through the murky waters of corruption and greed within her organization, while also tackling the pressing issues of racism, sexism, and classism in society.

In my opinion, this book is an expertly woven tale that combines the allure of fame with thought-provoking themes, providing readers with an immersive experience that resonates on a deeper level. I can't wait to immerse myself in this world of glittering fame, complex characters, and societal reflections, making it a must-read for all those seeking an enthralling and meaningful story.
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Interesting premise but it just didn't end up being my kind of book and I was unable to get into it and finish.
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I adored this book. The characters while flawed were loveable, I connected  to them so deeply. Warxing, you'll need tissues, for both happy and sad reasons. i'm a visually impaired reviewer, and the link won't copy to my review. But you can find me  on gdreads at Danielle: Braillerose
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The Ballad of Stevie Pearl by SW Hammond has left me conflicted. Stevie and Alex are star-crossed lovers from very different backgrounds who are determined to stay together regardless of the craziness of their lives. Stevie Pearl is one of the world's biggest pop stars yet she's essentially a prisoner to the industry. Alex Nopah is struggling to balance his own life as a successful illustrator with his Native American heritage and family expectations. 

There are so many fantastic qualities about this book which I absolutely loved!
	• Characterization: Several characters took on real-life personalities in my mind because of the style of writing and the descriptions of each… Stevie = Taylor Swift. Franklin = Michael Clarke Duncan (think of him in Green Mile but as a bodyguard in this book). Celeste = Zendaya. 
	• Phonetic dialog: The majority of the dialog between characters are always written phonetically, which truly makes the reader feel as though they are either part of the conversation (or eavesdropping!)
	• Story break icons: Scene changes within chapters are separated by cute icons referencing the previous scene (I'm a sucker for thoughtful nuggets like this tucked in the pages!).
	• Insight into the music industry: the detailed nuances described throughout the story of a person who is run as a business is simply fascinating and really gave the storyline substance.
	• Soundtrack: The chapter titles correspond to a specific soundtrack (which can be found on YouTube) and complement each chapter perfectly!
	• The story: I love the rich-girl-dates-poor-guy trope, along with a bit of a well-done girl-power thrown in and we have a really interesting read!
	• Feminism/racism, etc: I am so appreciative of the way this book intertwines the dual storylines of Stevie's career and her choice to take control with the racism against Alex. 

As I mentioned, I'm conflicted and here's why. All of the qualities I mentioned are why I LOVED this book. Unfortunately the main reasons I did NOT (yes it deserves all caps) love this book is a big one. I did not receive the love story I wanted. Sure, there is a "romantic storyline" but it is not a romance novel. In fact, we only skim the surface of the relationship between Stevie and Alex. I want depth and passion in order to invest in these two, and I never did. It's a zero on the spicy scale where even a one would have been ok! I am still not satisfied. 

All that said, READ THIS BOOK! It's so good and I'm predicting it will be hugely successful when it's published next year! Thank you to NetGalley and Surf Start Media for the opportunity to preview this book and share my review.
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The Ballad of Stevie Pearl takes a look at the lives and whirlwind romance between superstar Stevie Pearl and artist Alex Nopah. It takes a look at the hardships and corruption that can come with fame, with Stevie being at a high in her career but feeling overwhelmingly lonely and imprisoned. When she meets Alex, she begins to start loving life again, but it comes with even more obstacles. Between her management thinking he’s bad for her brand and people who were once her fans turning their backs on her because of racism, Stevie has some tough choices to make in both her career and private life. Their new relationship isn’t easy for Alex either, who keeps getting threatening calls warning him to stop seeing Stevie and others going after him because of his race. However, Stevie and Alex are determined to live the life that makes them happy. 

I liked a lot about this book. I love a good Hollywood romance and this definitely scratched that itch. It’s always fun to put yourself into the glamour of Hollywood and peek behind the curtain of what’s actually going on inside. I also enjoyed the relationship behind Alex, Stevie, and their group of friends. There interactions were definitely the most fun part of the book. I also think it’s important to shine a light on the negative aspects of Hollywood, and this book definitely did that as well. 

However, I definitely found myself getting bored in the middle of the book. Also, I loved the friendship dynamics but never really connected with Stevie and Alex’s romantic relationship. When there’s so much at stake, I needed to believe in their relationship a little more. I also found the end to be a little abrupt. 

However, if you’re a fan of Hollywood romances, I think this book is worth a read. 

Thank you NetGalley and Surf Star Media for sending this book for review.
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A love story about a Taylor Swift type pop star and a native American graphic artist, underpinned by corruption and racism. Well written and great characters throughout. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC
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Stevie and Alex…ugh! This story, this romance, this STORY! Totally captivating, lovely, all consuming - I loved it! I totally recommend this one.
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What is behind the curtain of fame and wealth?  Do the trappings of being an international super star actually become a prison?  Is any of it worth being insulated from the joys and dangers of life  in the “normal” world?

Stevie Pearl is the international super star falling in love with a renowned artist who happens to be from the wrong background and ethnicity for her “image”.  Behind her glamorous facade there is the heart and mind of a warrior who, with help from her most trusted associates, is able to break the chains of corporate Hollywood.  However, there is an unforeseen cost.
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