The Ballad of Stevie Pearl
by SW Hammond
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Pub Date 13 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2023
The world’s most successful and celebrated pop star. A Native American making a name for himself in LA. The two collide in a tattered love story, set in the glittery backdrop of Hollywood.
Stevie Pearl is the biggest pop star on the planet. Her earnest Texan roots blend with California idealism to construct a force never before seen in the entertainment industry. The attention surrounding America’s sweetheart is absolute pandemonium, and after a decade of the limelight, her stardom is beginning to feel like a prison.
Alex Nopah is an illustrator. The graphic novel he draws for is budding into a super-franchise. Hired as a consultant for the new motion picture, Alex is introduced to Hollywood and the woman that will forever change his life. Born on a reservation, Alex’s unshakable upbringing polarizes the wealth and attitude of LA and the new life he’s constructed for himself.
THE BALLAD OF STEVIE PEARL presents itself as a sugary-sweet tale of a young woman crossed between the bubblegum pop of Taylor Swift and glamor of the Kardashian’s. Breakups, drama, and paparazzi act as a smokescreen, shadowing the true genius behind an empire and a powerful businesswoman taking command of her career. Faced with corruption, collusion, and greed within her own organization—juxtaposed against racism, sexism, and classism within society—much like Stevie Pearl, the story’s teeth sink deeper into the mind than its glossy exterior.
The novel is supported by a humorous and entertaining ensemble of characters, breathing life and stirring a powerful connection between you, Alex, and Stevie. This unexpected tragedy reads as a quirky romantic comedy up until its final pages, combining pop culture references, witty dialog, and a poignant soundtrack for each chapter. The diverse character selection and provocative undertones makes THE BALLAD OF STEVIE PEARL a modern fish-out-of-water tangled with Romeo and Juliet.
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"It was such a heart-breaking story that can be linked to both celebrities and so many people around the world. I loved how you can connect to these characters. Although they are celebrities and have the hardships that come with fame, there's also simple sweet moments of friendship and falling in love which are nice to read. The Ballad of Stevie Pearl hits you with the rawness of life." –Laura P, Netgalley Reviewer
Available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and reflowable EPUB at all major retailers Valentines Day 2024.
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Average rating from 34 members
Wow, this book was quite a ride. The way the book started gave me the idea that it would go a certain way. When the book ended I was glad it didn't but also heartbroken by it all.
Stevie and Alex were an unlikely couple that completely captured my heart. Stevie might've been a world famous singer/musician but she was an honest, loving woman who just wanted freedom. Alex might've been an artist from the wrong side of the tracks but man, he's the type of guy you want your daughter to meet and marry.
The side characters, particularly Franklin and Celeste were such wonderful people to learn about. Stevie was often lonely but with her chosen family she had the best of it all.
I'd definitely recommend this book!!
This is my very first ARC review and I could not be more happy! The chapter names are all song titles and the singer and it is awesome. I found myself looking forward to what the next chapter name would be. We start with a Taylor Swift song and range anywhere between The Ramones, No Doubt, Bob Seger and more. This was a really fun part of the book!
Even though the characters are in Hollywood I could easily relate to them and was rooting for them the whole time and I really like the writing style being conversation based. The story shows the sacrifices to achieve fame and it was interesting to see the different facets of making art through music and film.
I did notice the tone was different when painting the picture for Stevie's life versus Alex's life. Stevie's life felt almost made up and a fairy tale and she was treated like a doll by all the people around her. Alex's life came off as tougher and he was responsible for so much more than just being pretty and seen.
I also very much love the attention and information given on Native Americans in the US. My good friend grew up close to a reservation in Arizona and the poverty, drug use and fatalities were unbearable. They didn't have proper resources for food, education, safety, etc and lost so many young adults before they even had a chance to fight for a better life.
* Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review the ARC!!
Stevie and Alex…ugh! This story, this romance, this STORY! Totally captivating, lovely, all consuming - I loved it! I totally recommend this one.
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.
Even though this was a fictional tale, the scenes that occur are all too real. This book is an emulation of life itself. It reminded me a lot of the tv show Bojack Horseman: silly and fun at times in the life of celebrities, with darkness lurking just beneath.
My favorite part of this book was getting to know all these characters. None of them felt out of place of forgettable. I loved how the author was able to ascribe very distinct personalities to all of them. I laughed with them, I cried with them; I really felt like I was a member of their friend group.
Even though these characters are completely at odds with my personal life, I was still able to connect with them. From dealing with everyday problems such as the awkwardness of going on a blind date and finding time to see your parents, to dealing with global issues like sexism and racism, I was rooting for them from the start.
I especially loved the scene where Alex met a fan in the bookstore and learned how much he impacted her life. As a fan of many things, I understood how emotional it was for her to meet someone she looked up to and be able to tell him what he meant to her. Alex's genuine response made me feel validated in that, and celebrities can care for their fans on a personal level.
Every time Franklin called Troy a muppet I was cackling.
While reading, I knew something bad was waiting for me at the end, but I never expected the turn it would take. I know this book, and the ending scene in particular, will stick with me for some time.
This book contains instances of
-Animal Cruelty/ Death
-Self-harm and Suicide
-Racism and Racial Slurs
-Sexism and Misogyny