After the death of her brother, Scarlett finds solace and romance by joining a band.
The white teen is spending the summer at Grandpa’s house in Georgia before starting college. Her beloved brother has recently died of a prescription drug overdose after a long struggle with addiction. Within short order she mingles with and joins the small town’s main musical interest, a band called the Beastings. It takes merely moments before Scarlett is smitten by the gorgeous and careless lead singer, Declan. As she gains a deeper understanding of the other members, especially guitarist Zach, it becomes clear that tensions are mounting within the band. Scarlett’s relationship with her best friend, Varun, gay and of Indian descent, is also suddenly mysteriously strained. Told through Scarlett’s intimate and sometimes-droll perspective, the story touches on the timely topic of opioid addiction while maintaining a swift and light narrative flow. However, the song lyrics and musical descriptions leave something to be desired: “Zach lurches into a searing solo that sounds like a car engine revving” is not atypical. When all is said and done, the key characters in this mostly pleasant drama stumble then pick themselves back up having learned something about grief and loyalty. Grandpa’s small Georgia town seems to be a pretty white one.
A topical musical romance that mostly hits the right notes. (Fiction. 14-18)