Teen music stars get romantically involved.
Clay Coolidge is the flashy heartthrob of the Nashville country music scene, content to make songs people drink and hook up to but never saying anything meaningful with his music. Annie Mathers is country music royalty about to embark on her own career five years after her legendary parents tragically died. The teens tour together in an effort to boost Clay’s sales and launch Annie’s career. Managers and record producers push them together as a fake couple, but it doesn’t take long for the artists to spark and spread fire. Annie and Clay bring out the best in each other, building each other up as musicians and people. Their romance is well-plotted and sweetly drawn: Readers (particularly those listening to the recent A Star Is Born soundtrack on repeat) will delight in the story’s rhythm and musical backdrop. The author makes sly observations here and there about the recording industry, but there’s affection here for the uniquely American style of music and the stories that come out of country music culture. The palpable endearment for its setting and characters makes for a warm read. While not thuddingly original, this is still a good ol’ fashioned love story, and there’s something to be said for a song we all know being sung with tenderness and care. All main characters are white and there is some diversity in background characters.
A solid romance buoyed by engaging protagonists and a charming backdrop. (Romance. 14-17)