Exile by Kevin Emerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
EXILE makes me want to read his Lost Code now because Somewhere and Some when you all are probably hearing the long echoing of a
“Nooooooooo….” in the background. That’d be me. There is a next one, yeah? Because I enjoyed most everything in this even when things got unlikely, even when things are allowed to go easily by un-explained, or even when things veered into an area I’d best not revisit (more on that later.)
They all talk Music. In. Caps. I love that. There’s a heartfelt truth to how they’d go on about it… in particular there’s her lack of talent but her appreciation for it all just the same, which is something I related to. Because hello, me! But it’s all the others’ heartfelt love for their Music that did it for me. It’s a passion I could get behind.
There’s also that remarkable feat of having their music feel true; Caleb’s lyrics had me feeling it plausible. His words are not something from someone ‘trying too hard.’ Come on! I can’t be the only one who’s been let down by too sweet-saccharine/angsty-dramatic lyrics of past singer-songwriter type characters! Yes, lyrics in books people, you know what I refer to! Anyway I’m not a Music girl. I appreciate a good ballad; I get misty eyed if the tune is right, get excited and am moved, but I’m no Music girl. I couldn’t tell you who did what and where and why, but that the people in this might/could have? They all had me enjoying this more and then some more again.
Plus, I love the whip smart way she could be even when she wasn’t doing the smart thing. There’s an edgy-ness to the two leads here, akin to how cool-smart John Green MCs tend to be. Here, it’s the Music that drives them. (Again) there’s a passion in her that drives and eventually clouds things up, so that things become not just about the music. In fact, there’s a bit where things get twisty and mystery filled… surprisingly so. But it’s also this aspect that’s balanced out by that predictable romance that was unfolding for her. (And though I say ‘predictable’ the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s predictable because… well, name one YA right now without a romantic angle.) It’s this where my 'more on that later' springs; it's the complications here that have got me squinty-eyed, trying to recall if what I think happened did (or didn’t) but going into it might turn spoilery, so I’d best not.
So there’s a Romance, which was sweet and expected. And there’s the Music, which I loved. But it’s not all roses, this. There’s an almost-too-easy way things and people line up. We’re brought in on this one with her past out. She’s the one left out, but her working her way back in was a smidge too quick, the finding of the right person, the connecting of the right people all happen a bit too neatly in this. Even identifying the good guy as well as the-not good guy is all done in quick order. So in this respect, things felt too pat; but there’s everything else to consider: how she’s not the only one with a past and how the rest of them have something to offer that made things less linear and 1, 2, 3. His past in particular is what allows for the mystery to come into focus…. And yes, it’s fine a Music+Romance+Mystery combination, except for the fact that things felt like they ended to soon.
Thank you, Edelweiss!
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