There are books that you turn the last page on and you never think about them twice. Then there are books that you finish and you turn back to the first page and just start reading again, reliving the best moments of the story. I honestly didn't think How To Kill a Rock Star would fit into that category for me. In fact, my last status update from it declared I never wanted to read it again because it had wrecked me and I was a little angry about it. This is actually the book that made me begin searching out friends on Goodreads because I felt so alone while reading it and just wanted someone to understand.It took me a long time to let my feelings marinate and figure out what my true reaction to this story was. Initially I rated it four stars because I was still flummoxed over the crazy turn the story took in the middle. I withheld a star just out of spite. But any book that can take me through a gamut of emotions like this one did--using plot devices that are normally huge deal-breakers for me-- and still have me walk away singing its praises and feeling thankful to have read it, deserves its five freaking stars. Well played, book, well played. The characters in this book are unforgettable and real and I love them. I wanted to slap Eliza some of them because they made me absolutely effin crazy, but I still love them. Paul Hudson is not sex-on-a-stick. He isn't ripped and handsome and rich. He's kind of pale and skinny, with imperfect features and a great sense of humor, and he begrudgingly works at the GAP. He lives and breathes his music, struggling to find the balance between pursuing his dream and selling out to attain it. He true-blue loves Eliza, and he is the shit. ...trying to describe how I felt watching her dance around and sing would be like trying to build a skyscraper with my bare hands. It made me want to marry her. Made me want to buy her a magic airplane and fly her away to a place where nothing bad could ever happen. Made me want to pour rubber cement all over my chest and then lay down on top of her so that we'd be stuck together, and so it would hurt like hell if we ever tried to tear ourselves apart. ~ PaulI kind of hated Eliza at one point in this story. She pulled some major drama in order to "save" Paul, which is really the most selfish kind of martyrdom. But even at her lowest point, I still empathized and rooted for her. I was never pulled out of the story by any of her behavior; if anything I was drawn in more fully because I had to know what freaking happened next. And after it was all said and done, Eliza has become one of the more-beloved female characters from any book I've read. After licking his neck, I wanted to dive into his throat and slide down his esophagus and swim around inside his hands while he strummed. Or maybe I just wanted to rest my head on his shoulder, close my eyes, and listen to him sing.This book has ruined me for other rock star/music industry books. They all seem chintzy in comparison, like following a tour guide who glanced at Google Maps versus one who grew up down the street and knows all the locals. Tiffanie DeBartolo is able to offer what feels like an authentic-- if a tad outrageous-- look at the journey of a struggling musician getting his big break because she knows of what she speaks. She has actually worked in the music industry. I only know that because I tracked her down on Twitter after I read this book like some sort of weird stalker fangirl, which I guess says a lot about how much this book affected me. That is how she could write this book, and especially Paul, with such realism: his vision for his music and the struggle between writing truth and writing what sells, and Eliza, who is so very passionate about music but has no musical talent herself. Tiffanie De Bartolo can write it because she understands this world, and that, my friends, is what you need from the author of a book about a rock star. You need a tour guide who knows more about the world than you do.Tiffanie writes beautifully fleshed-out yet flawed characters with A+ dialogue and she doesn't immediately rescue them from the consequences of their own mistakes, even when I desperately wanted her to. She is brave.She is also kind of an enigma, who just swooped in out of nowhere and wrote this book that rocked my world, and then she disappeared again. She isn't frantically writing more books. She didn't leave the story unfinished in order to sell a bazillion sequels. She just told her story and then moved on, leaving me feeling forlorn and yet incredibly grateful that she shared it. I tend to think she is a lot like Paul. Baring her soul and putting it out there regardless of whether it ever goes mainstream, even if only a small portion of the populace ever appreciates what she has created. You didn't even have to hear the whole song, just a few lines, and you got the chills and that swirly, happy-sad feeling in your gut, didn't you?" ... "That's the difference between the real stuff and the crap. I know which one you are and you know which one I am."