A talented young musician falls for her band’s new lead singer, who may be just using her to achieve success—and sex.
Paisley literally thinks in drumbeats—her life centers on percussion—so being the drummer for a band that’s practicing for a major music festival, Texapalooza, seems like the answer to her dreams. When deliciously handsome Gabe auditions for the role of lead singer, life gets a lot more complicated. Sparks fly instantly, but he seems interested in both taking over the band and scoring with her sexually. Since she respects the band’s real leader and wears a purity ring, strife inevitably arises. Other conflicts: Paisley’s older sister is actively rebelling against their mother’s domineering supervision, and Paisley herself is keeping her membership in the band hidden, because she knows her mother wouldn’t approve. Also, another member of the band secretly lusts for her, pouring out his desire in often trite songs interspersed through her authentically voiced narration. The writing is uneven, occasionally refined and beguiling—“Little clouds of gold, iridescent pollen danced around the windows in the Sunday morning light”—and at other times descending to disappointing banality, including a climax that’s muted by its predictability.A tame romance, alternately captivating and clichéd, yet effective in portraying a determined teen driven by the music in her soul. (Romance. 12 & up)