“It was pretend.
It was supposed to be this act professionals do for laughs. For profit. For whatever it was until it no longer was any of those things for the two people that mattered: me and him.”
This is the definition of a cute story. Perfect for readers shying away from angsty reads and looking for a good time.
The characters are easy to love, easy to connect with.
Their inner conflicts are easy to relate with.
The pace is just right for the story, not too slow not rushed either.
Not many faults to find here. The book has been polished and everything runs smoothly.
On one hand you have Annie, gifted daughter of two mega country stars who left her too soon. She is courted by music labels for months now but is afraid to follow in her parents steps. She knows what glory can do to someone. How all consuming a passion can be.
On the other hand you have the current music golden bad boy Clay. He is barely nineteen and already big in the music industry.
“What comes to mind when you think of Clay Coolidge?”
“Sex appeal, boozehound, makes love to the mic, rock star, stadium filler.”
If he was born to sing he lost his way somewhere since his brother’s death. He is now trying to grieve and burrows in his pain in alcohol. The record label grows tired of his antics and sends Clay to settle a contract with Annie. She is their bargaining ship and his last chance.
Annie fought for years against her natural inclination but music is in her blood and can’t be denied any longer.
With her friends she’ll do Clay’s first part touring the whole summer with him and his best friend Fitz. Country music fans soon flock to these incredible concerts. They are magic together.
Of course you will have a romance but …it’s complicated as Annies is extremely guarded given her past and Clay thinks he does not deserve her.
“So, she sings like an angel, plays like the devil, pitches championships, and slays amusement park games. Is there anything you can’t do?”
They both will have to face the demons of their past and overcome their trauma if they want to become who they were meant to be and live their lives to the fullest.
I had a great time following this tribe, witnessing Annie’s rise and doubts while rooting for Clay who was obviously in need of help.
You have all the expected clichés about country music and it worked extremely well in this bitter sweet coming of age romance.
For a country music fan like me this was like walking in a candy store: all sweetness and hard to leave.
Thank you to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for trusting me with this copy of the book. It had no influence whatsoever on my willing and always honest opinion.
Have you read it?
Thanks for reading!