Joe Shine’s previous book, I Become Shadow, was a favorite of several of us in our reading group. Fun, snarky, and full of action, it was a book you couldn’t help but love. Sure, there were some suspension of disbelief moments – but who cares when the reading experience was so good! With Bobby Sky: Boy Band or Die Shine returns to the same world with a story taking place concurrently to Ren’s in Shadow. The difference is that Boy Band’s main character actually likes and appreciates what FATE is doing – perhaps a bit too much.
Story: Hutch is the eternal disappointment of both his mother and the local police – he isn’t above theft or beating senseless a father hitting his young son with a baseball bat. But it appears he’s gone too far and ended up in an extended stay in Juvie. When a woman visits him and tells him he will die the next day, he’s given a choice – ignore the lady and take his chances tomorrow or be recruited into a program to save those who will influence the future. Hutch goes through the program swimmingly though he hates certain aspects. When he gets his first assignment, he’s told it will involve following a member of a boy band and ensuring the lead singer survives to fulfill his destiny. But there is much more to the picture than Hutch could have envisioned.
First and foremost, this isn’t a romance – boy/boy or boy/girl. Hutch is definitely hetero and spends most of the book falling in and out of lust with various girls. He’s a very interesting character in that regard – he knows what he wants but lacks the emotional depth to really see it through. Those who read the first book will recognize how it works with the important person – our main characters aren’t out to romance them at all.
Second, this story is set in the same timeline as the first book – concurrently, to be specific. So there is one moment when Hutch comes in contact with Ren as she is going through the program as well. Otherwise, this is a stand alone and can be read without needing to read the first book. By the end, though, you’ll want to have read both books since the timelines converge.
The boy band aspect takes up a surprisingly small amount of the plot. The first half is about FATE, the middle about preparing to join a boy band, and the last is full on action. We never really get to know the rest of the boy band much, including the lead singer. But I found it amusing that in both books, the important person was a bit of an innocent and sheltered person. It made a nice contrast to our reality grounded and more aggressive operatives.
All the snarky fun of the first book is here. Hutch is just as complicated yet simplistic a character as Ren and all the witty bon mots are intact. Hutch might be a bit harder to get into since he operates on a fairly shallower level than Wren. The book flows so well and really is a pleasure to read. There is a surprise at the end – I can’t wait for book three!