Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: April 28
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.
Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.
The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.
Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?
Maddie plans to spend her spring semester pulling together a good portfolio for summer architecture programs, amping up her photography spreads for the school yearbook, and practicing yoga with her mother. But when her mom springs some surprising news on her, Maddie can’t help but feel a little shaken. Jesse, meanwhile, is attempting to crawl out from a pit of despair and get back in the game with his band, and desperately needs a drummer if Yellow #5 is going to play a gig. Brought together by music and a conveniently-located cafe near the yoga studio, Maddie and Jesse stumble through a new kind of romance, one of opening up and putting the other first.
Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, I can’t help but feel like I enjoyed this story more! It almost makes me want to re-rate TPoA as 3.5 and this 4 stars, for a comparison. While I felt the conflict (Maddie’s mother’s news) didn’t seem too outrageously conflicting (though I can see why it might be something of a rocky surprise…just not as rocky as this was made out to be), I really liked how authentic Maddie’s struggle to open up to Jesse and Jesse’s struggle to put another person first came across.
Maddie is easy to love. She’s flirtatious and gregarious, has such a beautiful friendship with Jazz and Wren, thinks inappropriate(ly hilarious!) things about her yoga instructor, works hard on her portfolio, and seems to do fairly well in school. She’s good fun with a little extra rebellion on the side. But her biggest issue is opening up her vulnerable side to others. She and her mother are a team, a la Gilmore Girls, and she and her friends are a tight-knit bunch. Why open up to more people? The book starts of in a fun, casual, physical relationship with another guy from school, very light and swoony with no substance. She knows it, she likes it, and she thinks they’re on the same page. But when Jesse crashes in, she’s frightened of another path she could take, one that entails trust and communication and honesty. Witnessing her reactions to each baby step was a joy — such great character growth.
Jesse grew on me. At first I found him to be a bit whiny about his breakup — but then I remember what it was like when I was a teen. When you thought you would be together forever, you genuinely believed it. And when it comes crashing down, it is truly the end of the world. Thankfully he’s not in that pit too long, and other aspects of his life begin to take over: his passion for music, his ability to take notice of the people in his life and care for them, his passion in everything he throws himself in. He’s the kind of guy who makes an effort and gives his all. Think stereotype musician without the broodiness, the drama and passion and commitment. A light, happy Adam from If I Stay, if you will.
If you love architecture, music, beating-around-the-bush relationships, something light and fun and makes you want to dance, you ought to read this book. I’m looking forward to seeing what Constantine has in store for Jazz now!
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Balzer + Bray for review!