Title: The Real Score (Gezellig #1)
Author: Kesh Tanglao
Date of Publication: August 28, 2013
Caitlin's friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world's biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone--their friends and families, the media, and his fans--ever since they "went public" a couple of years back. Who wouldn't be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a "perfect little thing." But then something comes along and threatens it.In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sab has hounded me to read this book ever since she loved it and gave it 5 stars back in December. I don't even know what took me so long but I finally bought it last June when Kesh approached me to tour it and the second book in the series. I felt so embarrassed that I haven't read the book so I started it during a very boring meeting at work. #modelemployee
But then I didn't even get past the first chapter because I got scared: WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE IT? I don't read the books I tour before the tour because I know for a fact that if I didn't like the book, I won't be able to promote it AT ALL. It would feel so fake for me so I'd rather not know anything of the book I'm touring than hate it.
And I hate that I even feared about not liking The Real Score because oh boy do I love it. I couldn't sleep and no for-review books on my Kindle were calling out to me. While I was browsing the ebooks I bought, I saw TRS and dived in and I finished the book while rolling and squealing in my bed until five in the morning. KESH TANGLAO, YOU OWE ME SLEEP. Just jeez, THIS. BOOK.
Now, anything with a celebrity in fiction is a guilty pleasure of mine. I just love that trope so so much. A celebrity, whether an actor, a musician or an athlete, and a commoner falling in love. So it's pretty much a given that I'll like this book but it exceeded all my expectations and here's how Kesh Tanglao just made a fan out of me.
1. Caitlin is a Filipina and it's mostly set in the Philippines. REPRESENT! I guess it makes it even easier to imagine myself in Cait's shoes because she's a Filipina and that we share the same values. Close family ties, filial responsibilities and a whole lot more.
But fear not because even if you're not a Filipina, you'll still relate to Caitlin. She's four years older than Marcus and is already a very mature person. She knows that she's very lucky and she's not taking everything for granted. She's been hurt before and so she's afraid to start something more than friendship with Marcus. But through it all, you will root for her and be on her side. She's perfect for Marcus and we really see it because Kesh Tanglao spent a lot of time chronicling how they work to make their long-distance friendship work.
2. Marcus!!! Now, Marcus is all sorts of swoony and I now get why Sab has him for a book boyfriend but what I love about him is that he isn't perfect. There were multiple times when I wanted to kick him in the nuts while I was reading the book because he hurt Caitlin and just ugh, he frustrated me.
3. Well-paced. Even though The Real Score is just a novella clocking in 150+ pages, we get to know the characters fully and we get to see them undergo lots of plot arcs, which made me a very satisfied reader. Some bits were sad and bittersweet, which made the pay-off even more glorious. I thought they'd be together at a certain point then they didn't and I ended up wallowing with the characters. They're just so damn human and relatable!
4. THE ENDING. Just perfect. P E R F E C T GAAAAAAAAHHHH. When everything came around and you realize why the title is the title, goosebumps!!! I LOVE IT I NEED MORE MARCUS AND CAITLIN!!!
For fans of contemporary romance and just about anyone who wants to swoon and sigh and squeal with that effervescent feeling feel-good romance stories give you, you have to read The Real Score. It's such a breezy and super satisfying read, which will put Kesh Tanglao in your auto-buy list and in your radar when you're in need of some lovin'. Go get it, go read it, go love it. Just like I did.
Of course I just had to make a playlist because I love the book and I felt like I had the perfect songs for it. I was supposed to put songs sung by guys for Marcus and songs sung by girls for Caitlin but I just had to make one exception for Butch Walker. Anyway, you'll understand whatever I'm babbling about in a bit. I've included some of the lyrics so you can see just how apt these songs are! I'm so excited to share these songs and I hope you'll like them. Just go under the cut to continue!
I need a little more, more
I could never get enough of you, you
No one else can love me like you do
I got almost everything, all I really need
Is a little more you
So obviously, this song is about how Marcus needs a little more than the friendship they have because he loves her. Plus, Before You Exit is a boyband with tweens as their target market too so I think it fits even in a meta level.
We'll get out on that road
With you I'm always home
Love you with all my heart
I especially love that bit near the end, during the bridge, when the vocalist sounds drunk as he sings and kind of yells "love you with all my heart". I felt like it could be Marcus singing it, especially when he's drunk.
But distance just gets old
Hey maybe we can stay
Maybe we can lay like this forever
Don't you know she is my favorite girl
I want to run away for days with her
Aaaaaww, this song is so cheesy but I love it so who cares. Marcus and Caitlin, even before the romance bit, have been separated by miles and miles of distance so I immediately thought of this song. And of course, Cait is Marcus' favorite girl.
It's gonna be a bumpy ride
But it sure beats standing still.
I know we can work it out,
And I've no doubt that we will.
When it hurts more than it shows,
It's not the easiest of roads.
Their relationship is never gonna be smooth but a bumpy ride is better than standing still so just take that leap. <3
Never put my love out on the line
Never said "Yes" to the right guy
Puttin’ my defenses up
'Cause I don’t wanna fall in love
It's just not fair
Pain's more trouble than love is worth
When Caitlin's fear of loving came up, I immediately thought of this song. And I love Demi so she should be here. Haha!
You know how to pull me back
When I go runnin, runnin
Tryin' to get away from loving ya
You know how to love me hard
I won't lie, I'm falling hard
Yep, I'm falling for ya but there's nothin wrong with that
Marcus said that Cait was always running when they fight so I figured this song is perfect. And there's a chapter in the book named after one of Rihanna's songs so this song was pretty much a shoo-in.
These eyes haven't seen that much
Tamed a tiger now I'm strange
I picked up right where we left off
It wasn't always this way
Cause my types your type
My feathers yours too
I know I'm gonna be yours
I know I'm gonna be yours
Yes gonna be better than before
Because of course, Cait's gonna be with Marcus. I particularly like the first line and the bit that they're of the same feathers.
For once, once in your life
Won't you do what feels right
Instead of waiting for the next big compromise
Stop running your mouth
Get out of the house
Get yourself downtown
And shake it all out tonight
All throughout the novella, Cait was constantly reminding herself to be spontaneous and just let go. This is that song for me. The one that makes me dance and just live life. And I finally got to use it in a playlist for a book I love. This is happiness.
About Kesh Tanglao
Kesh Tanglao is a full-time market researcher. When she’s not crunching numbers, she spends most of her free time watching TV shows, listening to music, and reading. Also a self-proclaimed fangirl, she likes cheering for her favorite sports teams and supporting her favorite artists.