I originally only gave this book 3 stars, but after some reflection I’m changing it to 4. This author took some risks that I think paid off. I have never read a book written quite like this and I enjoyed the change of pace.
I have a friend named Haily who is a really good story teller. When she’s telling a story she’s yelling, waving her hands around, and so invested in telling the story that you can see exactly what she was feeling when whatever she’s recalling happened to her. Emmylou’s voice was just like that. For the entire book I felt like Emmylou was screaming-telling the story to me as fast as she possible could. The book read fast! For example, there’s a scene in the book where Emmy gets drunk and goes upstairs with a soccer player and Travis intervenes. Spoiler tags in case you don’t want to read the except because this takes place about 65% into the book.
“There you are,” Sonia says. “We were looking all over for you.”
“Sorry,” I say. “I was with Eli making the sexy times.”
“You were not,” Travis says, glaring at Eli.
Then he looks at me and wow, does he look unhappy, obviously not catching on to the face that I’m joking, “Were you?”
“Sure she was,” Eli says, stepping right up to him. “Why? You got a problem with that?”
I guess he does, because before I can intervene and explain that I’m just being an ass and nothing really happened, Travis has Taekwondo’d Eli’s ass, flipped him onto his back right there in the hallway. Now, Eli is a full head taller than Travis and we’re in the soccer house with all the other Rutgers soccer players and I’ve never seen Travis do something this dumb in two years. Never. I mean, he’s not even a little bit drunk. There;s no excuse. (hide spoiler)]
I hope that’s a good enough example, but I think you can kind of see that the narrator rambles really quickly like she’s telling the story as it happened. This got kind of abrasive at times, but I did think it helped build a really strong character. Emmy was SUPER fleshed out and real to me. I felt like I knew her. I love how her voice was so consistent and really helped drive home what she was all about.
I do wish that the author had continued with the story for a bit. It takes up until the very last couple of pages for the main conflict to be resolved so we never really get a taste of how Emmy and Travis would be as a real couple.
I think a lot of readers may really hate Emmy. She’s abrasive and obsessed with her band and indecisive and impulsive and kind of psychotic when it comes to Travis, but I liked her. She acted exactly how I would have at 18-22. If I was worried the guy I liked was with another girl, I wouldn’t have been able to just let it go either. I definitely would have concocted some stupid plan to “casually” find out what was going on.
I also liked all of the shop talk. I used to tour with a band in high school as their merch girl so I knew what most of the terms were, but the book uses a lot of industry terms that would likely leave someone uninitiated doing a lot of googling. They talk about headstocks and different kind of amps and heads and pedals like you’re supposed to know what those are. The author is either a musician or did a lot of really thorough research. I liked this about the book. I’ve read a lot of books about musicians and rockstars, but they all just touched the surface of what the industry is like. This went into a lot of detail and I appreciated it.
Overall, I really liked this story. It’s a new adult novel that takes itself and its characters pretty seriously. It wasn’t cheesy- I didn’t roll my eyes once. It was pretty realistic. So if you can stomach an abrasive main character who tells the story just like that- abrasively- you should check this out. It’s a unique take on an old troupe.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>