ARC Book Review: Exile by Kevin Emerson

Posted April 23, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: Exile by Kevin EmersonExile by Kevin Emerson
Series: Exile #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on April 29th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

2 Stars

I absolutely adore music and books involving music (i.e. This Song Will Save Your Life) – so when I heard of Exile, all about music, band management, and a promising romance, it went on my must read list. Sadly, this book is just a blend of meh for me.

Summer is an aspiring band manager who just got dumped from her previous band after they got picked up by a record label. Even worse, she was involved with the band’s front man, and he ended up cheating on her. Her life revolves around music, and with a new school year, she now has to pick up the pieces and find a new project. She quickly finds one in the talented musician Caleb – who also just got dumped from his band. She inspires him to start a new band.

And here right away is my biggest problem with this book. Summer constantly narrates how it was a bad idea to get involved with someone from her last band, and how she hates the judgement she gets from it. She feels peoples stares and practically hears them thinking, “Oh, there’s that groupie lovesick girl.” And what does she do with Caleb? Immediately starts dating him. The first time they meet, he asks her on a date, and she goes under the pretense of inspiring him to make this new band so that she can manage it – but they are immediately dating, already.


Girl, are you serious? I will say that it’s not instalove. They don’t go around proclaiming that they can’t live without the other, but they’re just immediately a couple, before the band even starts up. In fact, the rushed formation of the relationship gives me exactly ZERO feels for them. But I just hate how Summer knows and frequently tells the reader that this is a bad idea, and then does it anyway. There isn’t a sense of burning chemistry between them or attraction or whatever either. Just, she likes his music, he likes her personality, they both feel exiled. Whoooo, so much in common.

And her hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. No, they soon find out about Caleb’s secret – about his father, and go on this treasure hunt for these lost songs. Meanwhile, the band quickly gets noticed and a label becomes interested, and Summer keeps all that a secret from the band. She again tells the readers that coming clean is probably the best option but then doesn’t until it’s too late and drama rears its ugly head. Just ugh. Just ugh.

So clearly I don’t care much for the characters. Summer’s hypocrisy annoyed me and Caleb didn’t make me feel much of anything. But the plot was also super weak. This is a series which is absolutely depressing, because the story in this book is so unresolved it makes me want to rage. It was just drama drama drama, with mean girls and jealousy and family drama (Summer resents and writes off her parents in such a way that seriously makes me give her some side eye; although, major props to her relationship with her gay aunt), and then tiny little reveals (most of which were totally predictable) and then THE END BUY THE NEXT BOOK SUCKER. I.. no. Just no.

Summing Up:

I liked the idea of this. A performance arts high school is an awesome setting, and I loved seeing a different side of the world (band management), so for what it’s worth, there were still parts of this that entertained me. But mostly I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters or the story. It was unresolved in a way that just makes me raise my shoulders and wipe the book from my memory. NEXT.

GIF it to me straight!

Me to Summer

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6 responses to “ARC Book Review: Exile by Kevin Emerson

  1. Oh man, I hate it when the romance is rushed. That’s so disappointing!
    “But I just hate how Summer knows and frequently tells the reader that this is a bad idea, and then does it anyway” – I feel like this would annoy me immensely. If you know it’s a bad thing, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?! Or you know, just stop saying that it’s a bad thing and fair enough for doing it.
    And it’s a series?! Ugh, when you see a contemporary romance series, you know there’s going to be a crapload of drama, and yeah, it seems there’s just that from your review.
    Probably going to avoid this one…

    • Right? I hate characters who can’t take their own advice. Though I recognize also that there are people like this in RL too, you’d think at least at a certain point she stops saying what a bad idea it is. -.- It’s just extremely hard to swallow.

      Yeah, when I got it from Edelweiss, I didn’t know it was a series. I kind of regret that now. Contemporary series tend to go badly for me.

  2. Hmm, this book seems like it was a total letdown. I actually am not drawn to books about music, but I certainly don’t dislike them. It’s so frustrating reading about a character who constantly thinks one thing, and then does the opposite. And boo to no resolution!

  3. I must admit that I wasn’t that excited about the book in the first place, but how disappointing! I hate rushed romance, especially if there is no chemistry. And I hate it even more when a girl keeps thinking ‘I should not be doing this’, but still ignores that feeling. Just listen to yourself. I also wasn’t aware that this was going to be a series, it looked like a stand-alone to me. The fact that it ends so inconclusive makes me add this to my ‘not interested’ list.

    • Right? I like there to be a clear and palpable romance BEFORE they’re “officially” a couple. This book was unique, but in an odd and kind of annoying way. I just didn’t get it. *sigh*

      Yeah I don’t think they announced it was a series until way after I already got it from Edelweiss. Ugh. Contemporary series. Not good, for me, most of the time.