My Rating: ★★★☆☆
It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.
Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy on NetGalley as part of the official street team in exchange for an honest review.
What first piqued my interest about this book was the battle of the bands competition aspect of it – I’m a sucker for cute contemporaries that has some sort of musical element to it (but I have yet to find one that I love more than Erin Watt’s When It’s Real). I also have a soft-spot for any sort of road trip and second-chance romances, so I immediately knew that I had to get my hands on this book ASAP. Luckily, I got chosen to be part of the street team and got the chance to read it early!
Things I Liked:
The lyrics within the story was a very nice touch and made the band feel more genuine. I like it when we’re given a glimpse of the kind of music the band plays in these types of stories because it gives me a better idea of what their music sounds like. There were some songs that I really wish I could hear in real life because the lyrics sounded so cute, especially the duet.
Both Vee and Cam’s grandmothers were so endearing and I loved the close relationship they had with them, especially Vee whose grandmother encouraged her right from the beginning to live life to the fullest and take risks. It’s always heartwarming to see a close and positive relationship between the younger characters and their elders, even more so if the latter are sassy and have some fun bantering with and teasing the former.
I appreciated how the ‘reality’ of reality TV is portrayed in this book, and how most of the drama is created intentionally for entertainment purposes. The moment Vee and her friends meet the film and production crew, I already knew what was going on in their minds and, yeah, it was predictable and cliche and something I’ve read in so many fanfiction stories, but it’s one of those troupes that I can’t get enough of. Haha Maybe it’s because it reminds me of some of the fanfiction I used to read that I liked those parts.
Things I Disliked:
This wasn’t my first time reading dual POV’s, or even alternating timelines, but for some reason on the last third of the book I started getting confused, particularly about Vee’s fluctuating feelings towards Cam. In the POV’s set in the past, it shows how Vee and Cam first meet and fall in love, which then eventually leads to their breakup. Then in the POV’s set in present time, they accidentally find each other again, Cam persistently attempts to reconcile with Vee while she struggles to hold on to her grudge against him. Somewhere between their relationship going downhill back “then” and it being in limbo in the “now”, I kept switching Vee’s feelings around and ended up confusing myself. It may have just been a personal issue, nothing really to do with the writing, but there you have it.
Right off that bat, we’re introduced to the mystery that is Cam’s backstory and are given little bits and pieces of it throughout until we can finally put the whole picture together. In doing so, we also find out the extent of its effects on Cam and how it affected his relationship with Vee in the past. I was surprised and really empathized with Cam, and understood why he was such a mess, but I couldn’t understand why Vee didn’t. Even after everything, it seemed really awful of her to still hold a grudge against Cam especially when she already knew what happened.
I also felt that Vee’s “secret” appeared out of nowhere at the last part of the story. It was just briefly mentioned after her breakup with Cam, so I thought that was that, but then later resurfaced on a larger and more serious level than I expected. It would have flowed better if there were more hints of it during the present timeline, at least then the scale of it would have made more sense in the end instead of feeling like a “Oh! How convenient!” quick fix.
This book was fairly enjoyable and I really liked the whole battle of the bands aspect, but I was hoping for more and felt that it fell short. I didn’t fall in love with the story or its characters and most of the present drama was predictable, but I did find it entertaining enough, despite some issues I had. If you enjoy stories with a musical element to it, reality TV drama, and messy, second chance romances, you could give this one a try.
Trigger Warnings: death/dying
About the Author:
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her books, where she’s currently finishing her second novel, WHEN SUMMER ENDS, out April 2019.
I’m trying a different format for my reviews, what do you think? I hope my review was helpful. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today! Until next time!