Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wildflower ~ Alecia Whitaker (earc) review [@lbkids @aleciawhitaker]

July 1, 2014
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.
Bird Barrett has not had a traditional life that past seven years. From the age of nine, Bird, her parents, and two older brothers have traveled the country, performing as The Barrett Band. Their bluegrass band has played tiny clubs, bars and events all over, but it's when Bird fills in on lead vocals that everything changes.

When recognition and opportunity come her way, it's all very different for Bird who's used to being a part of her family's band, not the star, by herself.

Wildflower is a really fun, super readable book. We get an introduction to Bird and her family, seeing what life on the road, performing is like for them. It also gives a great glimpse into the relationship between the siblings. We see how the three of them - and their parents - do living together on an RV.

It is great to have that foundation established so that once circumstances change, we can see how it affects their relationships in addition to affecting the structure of their lives. They have strong relationships (and not just because they've lived in 200 something square feet for years) and while those relationships are tried by the change in their lives, but not broken or forgotten. I really liked that we see how Bird's career does have an impact on her whole family. Their reactions and feelings seemed true and honest.

We see all that Bird has to do now being a real part of the music business. From photoshoots, music videos, recording, writing we see all of what is going into (hopefully) making Bird a star. At the same time, Bird's desire to please everyone is very evident. She wants to do the right thing for those who've shown such faith in her; she wants to do the right thing by her family and friends, too.

The question is whether she can do what they will want, without doing what she doesn't want. Can she still be her, be Bid Barrett, and become a music star?

When I read the ending of Wildflower I didn't lie it. It was too unresolved and seemed too much like it was going for a 'coming-of-age ending' without that story having been there. After seeing on the author's website (it wasn't on Goodreads or in the earc, itself) that Wildflower is the first in a trilogy, I feel better about the ending. It is still unresolved and had a lot happen before stopping somewhat abruptly, but there will be more in the second book.

Wildflower is a perfect read for summer andI am really looking forward to continuing with Bird on her journey to stardom and seeing what changes that journey brings to her family, her friends and their relationships.

[On a side note, I have mentioned before when religion, mentions of God do not fit in a book. In Wildflower they fit. It isn't a religious book, by any means, yet the characters pray before shows, we know they went to church, etc. It's a part of who Bird is and fits with her history and her present. Just as you don't have to like bluegrass to like Bird and Wildflower you don't have to like or be religious.]

Rating: 7/10

digital copy received from publisher, through NetGalley for review

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