Review: Catch My Breath - MJ O'Shea

Looking to create the next Big Thing, Sasha Pulaski, a producer, holds a voice search, discovering not one, but four great voices who complement each other better than on their own. Danny Bright is a bit jaded, but knows the industry well enough that when the offer to join a boy-band comes along, you don’t give it a chance to slip away. They still need their fifth member, however, and Sasha finds him, unexpectedly, at an open voice call, comprised mostly of high school students who are throwing caution to the wind - like Elliott Price.

Danny and Elliott are like two peas in a pod, soon much more, from the beginning, but they suspect management won’t like it, and keep it a secret of the band. When management finds out though, they begin to wonder if pursuing their dream careers was worth it at all. 

Increasingly in need of a sweet-fix, this didn't just satisfy my sweet tooth, it also showed a rose glasses look at the not-so-nice side of being in the public eye and presenting yourself on some else's terms. 

The book is often recommended to, a bit obviously, One Direction fans who ship Harry Styles and Larry Tomlinson (that ship being HS/LT or Larry Stylinson). It can also work as an agent to convince someone that all is not platonic there (as MJ O’Shea demonstrated as she was researching boy bands for this book). It can also give you a bit of a craving for produced pop tracks, as proven by me. I’ve been listening to One Direction’s discography on a constant shuffle for over a week now. There’s enough difference between the real life heartthrobs and the book’s characters that it’s clearly not a fanfiction with names changed, and quite a few references to N’Sync, 98°, Boys II Men and Backstreet Boys histories, if you know them. 

It was really enjoyable as a romance for a non-directioner. For me, the cover is clearly Danny, who, of the two boys, is the more comfortable with the spotlight, having sought this break his entire light and growing up not far from the center of celebrity in California. 

For Elliot, he’s a lot like Harry Styles in appearance, but with his big eyes, wavy hair and bubbly personality, I was reminded of another gay teen popular on the internet, Milo Dunstan from Tripping Over You. (But you know, with brown eyes and pale skin.) Just look at those eyes, they’re huge!

This book also had some nice points for it - no gay bashers, no hospital scene, no angst about coming out to parents. It was slow-burn, a little angst about does-he, doesn’t-he, and just really adorable, but not pure fluff. I mean, I like conflict, and angst can be nice, but sometimes this is okay, too. Like, really okay! Heather made a point that the band gets along a little too well, that the lack of trouble among the five boys was a little unbelievable but I think the story would not have benefited from any discord among them — there was enough strife between Danny and Elliott as well as against management. Some who want more heat in their romance will definitely be disappointed, it’s not chaste, but there may have been only two explicit sex scenes in here, I hear that’s also not typical for MJ. 

This was my first romance by MJ O’Shea and I took advantage of a sale to pick some more books of hers up, to-be-read-soon. (I know, I made a resolution, but—sale!) I enjoyed this very much, all grievances of mine, as few as there were, have faded away in the honeymoon glow. I wished this book would go on and on in it’s adorable affection for it’s characters, but that is clearly unrealistic. 

350pp. Dreamspinner Press. 21 June 2013.