Bailey Mayfield has always been a good girl. She has been touring the music circuit playing her fiddle while her younger sister sings and plays guitar since she was old enough to play. But when her sister is offered a music career sans Bailey, she finds her family has not only deserted her, but demands that she stop playing music to keep from interfering in her sisters career. Hurt and pissed off, Bailey spirals out of control, becoming the wild child every parent fears. But she never can break the cardinal rule of no longer playing in public, until she meets Sam who begs her to join his band. Once burned, twice shy, she timidly agrees to play a single gig with them and discovers that giving up music for good will be much harder than she ever imagined.
For the most part, I thoroughly adored this novel. Bailey is easy to sympathize with. How could her family just push her off to the side like that? Though she is beyond furious with her parents, she never stops supporting her sister, which I found so endearing. Her love for her fiddle was also fascinating. She proclaims to know all the songs, or at least be able to fake her way through the ones she doesn’t and her talent alone left me in awe. Watching her seamlessly blend into the different groups made me wish my parents had shoved an instrument at me at a young age, demanding I master it. Alas, that isn’t the case, and beyond a brief few middle school years learning to play the flute, I’ve never been able to master an instrument and truly love it. This novel gave me a peak at a life when I couldn’t get enough of it.
I’m on the fence about the leading man in this novel, Sam. He’s talented, adorable, and oozes charm, but sometimes the interactions between him and Bailey had me so angry that I can’t believe she went back to him. His on again off again mentality had me wishing she would find someone else, someone better even if that someone didn’t have a band she meshed so well with. There were a few moments where he was so unbelievable cute that I wasn’t surprised at how she fell for him and in the end, he does apologize and try to make things right, but I’m not sure that would have been enough for me.
I only had one (well, MAYBE two) issue with this, besides being undecided about Sam, and it is really just a small blip that happens in a lot of novels. Bailey plays a lot of gigs, but they almost never say what songs they play, just vaguely mention artists like Alan Jackson, Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake, and so on. This just makes it harder for me to really get into the novel. I realize that authors do this in order to avoid upsetting people by choosing songs they hate and also to avoid dating the novel to a specific time period, but it really irritates me. It is much easier for me to get into a novel if I know what they are playing, you know? Take Alan Jacksons songs for instance. The tone of Drive is exceedingly different from Who’s Cheatin’ Who. It just irritates me. Just pick the song they are going to sing because really even if someone hates that song, that shouldn’t make them dislike the book. I’m not a huge country fan, and I really dislike the older country like Hank Williams or Willie Nelson, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this! The second issue was also on the insignificant level. Throughout the novel, Sam and Bailey makeout/kiss/fondle/whatever and that’s fine. But when they finally have sex, all the details are left out. I realize this isn’t erotica or even really romance as a new adult novel, but I just felt cheated. Besides the lack of tasteful description, Bailey also didn’t show much emotion about it. I know, it’s just me, but I feel like it could have been handled a little better.
Besides my very small issues, this novel really blew me away. I think it’s a must read new adult novel and I think anyone who likes that genre will love this. I plan on reading everything by Jennifer Echols that I can get my hands on.
****Thank you to MTV Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****