Olivia is living a double life -- high-school student by day, drummer by night. Olivia doesn't know when hanging out in clubs and drinking to appear older and enjoy the music scene became a habit, but she finds herself hungover at school and sneaking alcohol at home. Her bandmates Eddie and Lucas think she is older, and Olivia keeps up the pretence even as her real life starts to fall apart.
When Lucas catches Olivia talking to her friend Raymond in the women's washroom, he beats up Raymond in a jealous rage. With Raymond unconscious and seriously hurt, Lucas tells Olivia that Raymond's criminal brother is looking for them for payback. They go on the run, sleeping in a borrowed van and stealing to get by. Lucas keeps Olivia drunk and off-balance, telling her he loves her and pressuring her to have sex with him -- even when she reveals she's only sixteen. Still, through an alcoholic haze, Olivia sees that Lucas is delusional and dangerous. When she finally discovers that the story about Raymond�s brother is a lie, she realizes she has to get out of Lucas's obsessional trap.
Sixteen-year-old Olivia, of mixed Cuban and Jamaican heritage, pretends to be a college student to get a gig as a band's drummer in a story about escalating bad decisions, part of the SideStreets series, written at a third-grade reading level. Before long, playing (and drinking) with the band is taking a toll on Olivia's everyday life as her grades suffer and she starts showing up hungover to school. Meanwhile, one of Olivia's bandmates, Lucas, is aggressively pursuing her romantically, not knowing that she's underage. Barwin (Hardball) maintains a fast-paced story, blending multiple hot-button issues including controlling relationships and substance abuse. The plot gets over-the-top toward the end, but readers should be sufficiently invested in Olivia's story to find out whether she can escape her downward spiral. Simultaneously available: Cutter Boy, Killer Drop, and One Night. Ages 13 up.