Friday Fiction: Chartbreaker


(First published in GB as Chartbreak, 1986)

Submitter: Apparently, I need to call in the Ghostbusters. I just weeded fiction, but some gremlin keeps sneaking 80’s titles back on the shelf! A quick Google search shows attempts at updating the cover art. It’s already a challenge to keep teens interested in reading. Stuff like this really makes the school library look out of touch.

Holly: All that’s missing from the cover is a keytar!



  1. I wonder if it is pure coincidence that “Finch” looks like Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics? Especially given the publication date. But yeah, bad art, dated equipment, plot sounds as if it has potential but none of the teens I know would be seen checking it out (without a brown paper wrapper).

  2. This book was actually well reviewed, but I agree. No teen I know would pick up this book.. though I might. ; )

  3. The plot summary at Amazon makes it sound better (and less dated) than the one from the cover flap shown here does. It would be an interesting read paired with Robin Benway’s “Audrey, Wait!”

  4. Will Kelp be going on American Idol?

    TXRed’s quote “plot sounds as if it has potential but none of the teens I know would be seen checking it out (without a brown paper wrapper).” made me think of books I would check out in high school with really embarrassing covers. No, never carried a brown bag over them but I sure would try to hide the cover if I was reading it by making sure it faced the desk during the school day and never had a chance to see the light of day outside my bookbag.

  5. Hmm… please don’t weed everything by Gillian Cross? I remember the Demon Headmaster series as being good thrillers in my youth, despite the technology, especially computers, being dated even then. The TV series is likewise well written but the effects dated so.

  6. I remember reading this book!!!! Its one of those stories that every now and then I think about. It must of had some impact on me 😉

  7. I LOVED this book when I was a teen! And it was actually ten years old back then, but had a not so unfortunate cover, which helped. I actually wrote my first fanfic because I hated the ending of this book so much.

    Which… is the sort of thing you shouldn’t admit to. Getting into fanfic because of Gillian Cross. But I have no shame. Obviously.

  8. I weeded this book from several of our branches last year! One copy ended up being a cutting board for my Xacto knife.

  9. I see a drummer, a guitarist (who’s so new at the instrument he still needs to stare down at his fret board), an unoccupied keyboard, and two singers that look like they hate each other. Even for the 80s, it’s a horrible combination.

    (And what’s up with all the smoke at knee level? Are they opening for Phish?)

  10. according to google, this british author has written 40 books, her picture looks fairly recent so she must be popular with some teens/pre-teens

  11. > (And what’s up with all the smoke at knee level? Are they opening for Phish?)

    Maybe like Rob Liefeld this artist hates drawing feet.

  12. My guess is that “Himmler” was the girl’s name for her mother’s boyfriend, not his actual name. At least, I certainly hope so.

    My other guess would be that a music book from the ’80s would refer to “cutting a record,” with the formats being vinyl and cassette tapes (and maybe some crazy newfangled CDs!) That’s probably the main reason to weed.

  13. Anyone else think of Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager when they saw the woman with the nunchucks?

  14. It’s actually a great book (basically Pygmalion with an ugly Eliza and sociopathic Higgins) but it is set very firmly in the UK in the mid-eighties. As terrible as the cover is, I think I would prefer it to a contemporary one that ignored the issue of when the action takes place and left the reader bewildered when everyone starts listening to cassettes and calling each other from payphones.

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