RELEASED: July 21, 2020
PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books
FORMAT: eBook [ARC, thank you so much!]
GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.26 [at the time of writing this review]
TRIGGERS: Alcoholic father
Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.
Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?
I honestly picked this one up because certain followers pointed out how they enjoyed their ARC of More Than Maybe and.. I was in the mood for some contemporary cuteness so I figured “why not?!” and dove right in! Here’s.. an attempt at a decent review..
Okay. First things first: some introductions. Our female main character is Vada, someone who’s obsessed with music and wants to make a career out out of it too. She works at a club owned by her stepfather, where her alcoholic father sometimes shows up.
Our male main character is Luke. He has a twin, Cullen, who’s in a relationship with Luke’s best friend, Zack. So, queer rep: check!
Let’s start with the obvious. The way this story starts out is the best. Our main characters are intrigued by one another without even knowing so. That makes this entire book even more of a treat, if you ask me. I started inhaling More Than Maybe [aka flying through it] because of that at first.
Second? All the other things that were connected to the ‘main’ story! The dynamics between Luke and his brother, between Luke and the rest of his family. The way Vada struggles to prove herself without her birth father backing her up. The way music is so very, very present in this book.
All of those things combined had me invested in a way I hadn’t been in a long, long while when it comes to contemporary books.
It sounds lonelier than it is. But I’d rather lose myself in a sea of strangers than find myself one-on-one with an acquaintance.
Throughout the book, Luke and Vada exchange songs that fit their mood, or feelings, or thoughts as a way to convey them to the other. I have, never in my life, been looking up that many songs because of a book and it was freaking awesome. Although the characters were fleshed out enough as it is, the music added even more depth to them and their relationship. I didn’t even think it was possible to do that but Erin Hahn has done it, obviously. Insert applauding.
I mentioned it before, but I want to expand on it a bit. Vada has issues with her father, but so does Luke. I appreciated seeing those struggles because I have a non-existing relationship with my own father for about.. three to four years right now. Seeing our main characters fight for what they want, despite their fathers’ influence, pressure or non-caring was one of the highlights in this story.
He doesn’t get feelings. If he did, maybe we wouldn’t be in this place. His knowing I’m his kid and my not ever getting to feel like it.
Which brings me to more family dynamics! I won’t go into any detail but.. Vada’s family? Totally worth getting to know them. The changing relationship between Luke and his twin, Cullen? Also worth it. Not to mention having Zack thrown in their as the best friend of one and boyfriend of the other. Like. It makes for interesting stuff, people.
Last, but definitely not least, I want to put a huge spotlight on the difference in conversation when Luke and Vada were actually talking compared to when they were texting. I don’t know about you, but I often feel like authors forget we are, usually, more straightforward in text than in real life. For example, I know damn well I’m the worst flirt in real life, but I never had any issue flirting over text or chat. That, that exactly, is used in this book and how I love it. Lovelovelove.
I can plan and fix and plot and schedule and dream all the fuck I want, and it will still come unraveled no matter what I do.
I think this review is loud and clear on how I loved this book, right? If you want an amazing contemporary read drenched in real things with a lot of music to discover – not to mention the changing family dynamics – you should totally, totally grab a copy of this book and read it. You won’t regret it. [Sidenote: I preorded this back in April when I hadn’t even finished reading.]
Have you ever discovered music by reading a book?
What’s your all-time favorite contemporary read?
Does this book sound amazing to you or not? Like, truly, I need to know.