Lovestruck Summer by Melissa C. Walker
HarperTeen, 272 Pages
US Release Date: May 5, 2009
Source: Borrowed from Heather @ The Flyleaf Review - thank you SO much, Heather!
(Read her review here!)
A fun, flirty teen romance that makes for the perfect beach read, this sweet summer love story is set in the live-music capital of the world, Austin, Texas.
Who cares about Penny's ringtone? If she likes the music, she likes the music. You don't own it. You can't tell people what to like - you can't control who likes the bands you like.
I think this is the PERFECT summer novel, you guys. Music, boys, a main character filled with a quirky fun personality, awesome secondary characters, and a cross-dressing dog. If that's not the best beach read recipe, I don't know what is! It's also part of this newly-established New Adult genre of YA lit: that awkward time between high school and whatever comes next. I know I would have appreciated New Adult lit when I was going through that time!
If you'd like more of a summary, allow me: Quinn (née Priscilla) just graduated high school and is looking to spend her summer more than just working at the mall with her best friend. So when she calls the record label of her favourite band on a whim to inquire about a summer internship, it turns into a wild summer spent living in Austin with her cousin, Party Penny, and interning at the label. An indie music extremist, Quinn spends the summer dodging her cousin's sorority girl lifestyle, hanging out with the annoying ever-present cowboy and ok-i'll-grudgingly-admit-kinda-sorta-super-hot next door neighbor Russ, and listening to the tunes Sebastian the DJ spins at Dirty's every Friday night -- and maybe hooking up with him every now and again, too. He's the boy she always wanted and always thought she'd be with...if only Russ would stop knocking on her door.
If I were forced at gunpoint (dramatic, I know) to say something negative about this book, I'd probably grasp about and finally say it's predictable - because it is. You pretty much know from 20 pages in how things will work out. But really, it didn't even bother me! Sometimes that makes a great book, you know? It goes exactly as planned, and I loved it. And I liked the end; it was quick, but definitely one of those situations where the two are SO close to being together, and for a few tense pages everything gets ripped away.
Quinn is the quirky, unique main character who thinks she's got herself figured out - but of course, things are always much more difficult than they appear. She's a barrel of sarcasm and laughs, and I loved being with her through her summer. Russ is the perfect friend and boy next door - I kind of felt like I was in the story, because he is definitely not my type and I found myself falling hard! I'd get a few pages in, realize how in love I was with him, and then be like "Nah, can't be - I don't do this cowboy thing." But then five pages later, I'd be swooning hard. It's a tough life! And even though I never liked Sebastian the DJ (ugh), he's a great little character too. Not someone you immediately dislike (I thought he was kind of sweet in the beginning!), but a good balance to friendly boyish Russ.
I know I'm gushing about this being a fluffy romance book, but don't be fooled: there are some great lessons buried in the pages, too. As much as this is a book about finding love, it's also about finding yourself and figuring out who are you - as a person and how you are seen. There's a great focus on people being much more than they appear and second chances, on looking deeper and farther than what we've considered. Not just in characters and people, but also within our choices and judgments.
And there's no way I could review this book and not mention the music! It's not like a lot of other YA books that give you real playlists of popular current songs - there are a few songs specifically named, but a lot of it is kept ambiguous too. I absolutely LOVED how Lovestruck Summer handled music. Never once did I feel stupid or judged for what I do listen to, and I was properly chastised right along with Quinn for being closed off to certain genres. It's a fun focal point to the novel and allows a fabulous amount of versatility with the plot and content.
The problem is, I want a boy to make me a mix CD now. Someone point him my way!
4.5 Stars / 5