Eurovision Book Club: Somewhere in the Crowd

Last month, right before Eurovision, Hachette Books released a Eurovision tie-in romcom titled Somewhere In The Crowd by author Katrina Logan.

I’ve got some spoilers in the review, so I’ve put the top notes up here – and you can stop reading after these two paragraphs.

Brits Millie and James have gone to Oslo for the 2010 contest, where they meet Australian Noah and German Ingrid as they all try to sneak backstage. When the four of them get kicked out of the contest, they make a pact to meet up every year at the Eurovision final. The book then chronicles the ups and downs of the next twelve years as they go through career turmoil, family issues, and, most importantly, romantic mishaps, before meeting for a final time at Eurovision 2023.

So – some spoilers below!

I read a lot of romance novels, and I consume a lot of comedy. I would not categorise this book as either of those genres, but rather as New Adult – like YA with a little more edge. The drama is easy to see coming, and the romantic pairings are fairly predictable. Somewhere in the Crowd is very much a comfort read.

That being said, I did enjoy the way the book telegraphed who all the bad people were – they were all the characters who disliked Eurovision. If someone calls it tacky, they’re a goner. If they suggest doing something in the host city that’s not Eurovision related, they’re a goner. Even the nice character who has the temerity to suggest that they not sit through the entire Eurovision final gets unceremoniously ditched. One character’s redemption arc is linked to her eventual embrace of the contest.

Of course, a love of Eurovision does not mean that the book is in any way realistic about Eurovision. There are some details thrown in here and there – one of the characters having a crush on Alexander Rybak, another character complaining about Levina – but on the whole, the Eurovision in this universe does not resemble the Eurovision in real life. Tickets are bought on a whim. James starts his own Eurovision blog where he seemingly covers the entire contest himself – with video, liveblogging, and articles – while holding down a day job – and the EBU pretty much give him a ticket to the entire show.

The most unbelievable thing is when the foursome are in Lisbon. The author writes a paragraph describing how the crowd is singing along to SuRie, and there’s absolutely no mention of her performance getting interrupted by the character who is supposed to be live-blogging the whole thing live from the show. That was a big moment! I don’t care if you’ve chosen it to reintroduce another character from the past! No one in the arena would be “oh hey haven’t seen you for a while” but rather be “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED WHAT’S GOING ON?”

Ultimately, I’m just happy that some book publisher thought that a Eurovision tie-in novel would be marketable. It is marketable! I’m the market! And I will continue to buy any and all of these books which are not written by Martin Osterdahl.

If this were a Eurovision entry, it’d be a sugary pop confection with a dance break, performed by a woman in a bodysuit and ponytail. You know what it’s going to sound like. It’s not breaking any new ground. But its predictability is part of its charm. I’d give it a solid cinq points.

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