Four friends. Twelve years. One Eurovision…
Katy Birchall ~ Somewhere in the Crowd
Eurovision is always the highlight of Millie’s year. So when she and her best friend James get the chance to see the final live in Oslo, it’s a dream come true – until they get swept up the excitement and try to break backstage, along with carefree German singer Ingrid and charismatic Australian backpacker, Noah.
Getting thrown out of the stadium wasn’t exactly the plan, but it might just spark the friendship – and the pact – of a lifetime. The four of them are going to reunite for every final, every year, every Eurovision.
Over the years, the unlikely four celebrate iconic Eurovision moments all across Europe – and, most importantly, are there for each other during all their highs and lows, heartaches and triumphs. But real life takes them down increasingly different paths, their promise becomes harder and harder to keep. Can the magic of Eurovision bring them together one last time…?
Eurovision is one of those events that is undoubtedly better live. I’ve always wanted to go, but every year we realise it’s crept up on us yet again and we settle for half watching, half skipping through the televised version. This year my money’s on Norway, although Sweden’s Loreen may scoop it (again), because Tattoo is an absolute belter!
Somewhere in the Crowd follows four friends over the years, as they fulfil a pact to meet each year at the final. It’s a great concept and there were moments of brilliance, but it’s quite a slow read and falls short of expectations. It lacks pizzazz, glitter and glamour, which is a shame, given the location. Although there are discreet references to past winners and the events, it never feels like we are really there, as there’s not enough information about that year’s Eurovision. Granted, they’re not always at the live event, but a little more atmosphere – and perhaps references to the commentators or presenters – would have significantly elevated the book.
Characters too feel a little underdeveloped. Perhaps because we get just one chapter for each year, but we never really get to know them. As the years go by, we gain a little more insight, particularly Millie and James, but Ingrid and Noah feel lacking, which is a shame as they’re arguably more interesting! It would also have been nice to have a flashback or two to Tom and Julie’s life as they met at the famous Eurovision where ABBA stormed the stage!
However, it is a nice story and there are some quite poignant moments. After a slow start, as we cover a few years with little occurrences, gripping drama emerges and the book picks up somewhat. Zachary and James are just couple goals and readers will root and weep for them, but Millie and Noah are never believable and it’s hard to reconcile their relationship.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable read, but isn’t anywhere near as showstopping and exciting as Eurovision itself.
Thanks to Hodder Books for my copy. Opinions my own.