I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill
Published by Loveswept on June 21st, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
In this pitch-perfect novel from the author of When Joss Met Matt (“One of those books that make you forget everything around you.”—Sophie Jordan), a rock ’n’ roll diva must choose between her career and her heart.
After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.
Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.
As a huge fan of When Joss Met Matt and Ellie Cahill’s YA books (under the name Liz Czukas), I honestly couldn’t resist Just a Girl. But if there’s anything this book has proven, it’s that not all new adult books – even by the same author – are created equal.
Sure, there are things that I like about Just A Girl. In fact, the whole music / celebrity aspect of the story would have had me picking this up even if I didn’t know the author’s previous works. There’s something about those kinds of stories that always catches my attention. I just like characters with such a creative edge and ambition. It immediately brings their voice to life. They have a passion – that makes them that much more interesting.
And as Presley and Paul share that passion, the chemistry between them was on point right from the start. From their first meeting, I felt the flames between them and almost immediately wanted to push them together. It kind of made me think of one of my favorite TV series, Nashville, because people playing music together kind of gets them to bare their souls and then they can’t help but be drawn to each other. So that part of it was really really nice and well-written, and it definitely kept me reading. The performances, the practice times, the conversations about music and what drives them, even Paul’s stage fright… it was familiar territory that I basically always enjoy.
However, then there’s the drama. I know I can’t really expect a NA romance to play out without drama, because otherwise what’s the whole point of the book? There has to be a kind of rollercoaster – a true story arc. But it was so typical. And so cliché. And so predictable. The premise already gives it all away: Presley gets kicked out of her band and simultaneously dumped by her boyfriend, the lead guitarist, so she returns home. She gets involved with Paul, who’s in a band, and when they need a singer, they want Presley. Presley doesn’t want to combine romance and a band, for fear of losing everything once again. So… fill in the blank. What do you think happens next? There’s probably only one possible answer in your mind, and yes, that’s exactly how it goes.
Sometimes that kind of predictable plot has me thinking why the hell do I keep reading new adult romances? This kind of thing happens more often than not in this genre. But there’s still something inherently enjoyable about these kinds of books. Yes, the quality and story line will be painfully average, but the writing style is easily accessible, the story reads really quickly, the romance has flares of hotness, and it’s definitely good enough to lose yourself in for a couple of hours. It’s just that, after another couple of hours, I’ll have completely forgotten about it again.