Like a Love Song
by Gabriela Martins
Published by Get Underlined (Delacorte)
Released on August 3rd, 2021
YOUNG ADULT FICTION—Contemporary, Romance
This debut paperback original romance follows a Latina teen pop star whose image takes a dive after a messy public breakup, until she’s set up with a swoon-worthy fake boyfriend.
Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?
Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.
Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?
Like a Love Song is an adorable, quick-paced and heart-fluttering read that easily kept my eyes glued to its pages. I picked this book on a whim, and having since read it during a lengthy flight, I’m so glad I did!
Gabriela Martins’ character development was phenomenal. Each character, even the side character, underwent changes that made them either better or worse (in a good way), and made it very easy to picture and imagine them for who they were. Nati’s character especially was easy to connect with. I loved seeing her grow as a person, figuring out what was truly important versus what she thought she had to do and be. We see this trope quite often in YA Fiction, but not often do we see it actually well-done and fleshed out, which is exactly what Martins did in this work.
When it came to the side characters, I couldn’t help but squeal (internally, because again, I was on an airplane with very sleepy people). Martins really prioritized building them to be multi-dimensional and not flat. With each character, there was always something more, always something new we found out about them. I especially loved seeing the bisexual rep, and I also really loved the relationship between Nati’s two best friends.
As for the plot of this book, I had my likes and dislikes. For one, despite this book being on the shorter end of the new page count “norm” in publishing, I felt like there were bits that could’ve been cut out. There were scenes that I felt like didn’t really do anything for the story, and only really contributed to the “shipping” of the main pairing–which if you’re a fan of fluffy scenes, you’ll definitely be a big fan of this book. Along with that, I just wasn’t into the third-act break-up that this book depicted. This is more a nitpick on my end (and I’d like to make note that that did not hold any bearing on my rating), due to my dislike for the later break-up trope.
However, something I did like was the author’s depiction of the celebrity trope. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that there’s definitely a sort of curiosity toward celebrities, and a type of obsessive culture has been created from that. Whether it be in the celebrity’s appearance, role in the industry they’ve chosen, or something else, there will always be people who seek to know every little detail, every little shading on someone’s person and life. Martins delved into this, and in my reading experience, it gave readers a new aspect on how the person on the other end might feel or react to certain things that come with being in the limelight.
Lastly, I want to rave about the author’s writing style. Gabriela Martins has an addicting writing type that just made me crave more and more with each turn of her book’s pages. I didn’t want to look away, and I found myself binging the majority of this book because of that.
Overall, I really did love this book. The more the days go on, the more I think about its characters, the more I think about the ‘what ifs’ if the story had so much as shifted in a different plot direction. That’s something I really hope to have out of a reading experience, and something I appreciate being left with after finishing. For that, I rate this book four stars.
Gabriela Martins is a Brazilian kidlit author and linguist. Her stories feature Brazilian characters finding themselves and love. She was a high school teacher and has also worked as a TED Ed-Club facilitator, where she helped teens develop their own talks in TED format. She edited and self-published a pro-bono LGBTQ+ anthology (Keep Faith) with all funds going to queer people in need. When she’s not writing, she can be found cuddling with her two cats or singing loudly and off-key. Like a Love Song is her debut novel. Find her on Twitter at @gabhimartins and on Instagram at @gabhi, and visit her website at gabrielawrites.com.