Thursday, April 24, 2014

[Review: Exile by Kevin Emerson]

Author: Kevin Emerson
Series: Exile #1
Pages: 320
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Music
Date Published: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Exile,

Oh hey there book.  Just one question, have you been hiding in my closet and watching my life for the past couple of years?  I mean, sure, you're not an exact copy of my life, because that would mean that I would be like Summer (no thanks) but they're were some parallels.  It made you a really fun read.  I knew some of  the venues and areas that were mentioned, I loved the legitimacy of the band and how it worked and that vinyl library made me want to weep.  Talk about heaven for hipster Belle's everywhere.  You weren't perfect but you were one heck of a ride.

-The White Unicorn

It's no secret that I've been running my own Indie music blog for the last 5 years or that I've grown up around and with musicians my whole life, so Exile was one of those books that felt like home to me.  Emerson paints a fairly legit picture of what it's like to be in a band and what it's like to be on the outside looking in.  My favorite parts of the book were all the bits that had to do with the band.  Coming up with a terrible name, hammering out the dynamics (both in the music and with the players), the craziness of gigs and tours and the insider look into musicians totally worked for me.  

I loved the use of a teenage, female band manager.  Summer was really likable to begin with and I really connected with her early on.  Sadly as the book progressed I became less of a fan.  Maybe it's just because I'm over the whole "girl gets jealous of guy and thinks that he wants to be with all the other girls all the time" trope?  And all the truth withholding got a little old too.  So many of the issues I had with the story would have gone away if Summer would have actually acted like the 18 year old she was supposed to be.  I think I just found her to be juvenile and I didn't want that.  I'm hoping that since this is a series she will get over her issues and be able to kick some butt in the next book.  But I guess I'll have to wait and see if that happens.

The romance (mainly due to my issues with Summer) wasn't one of my favorites.  Caleb is definitely a winner, but he became a little tainted.  It was cool to see all the mess his dad had created piling up on top of him.  It created a lot of tension and a lot of questions for the band to deal with as a whole.

The other part of the novel that I found highly entertaining was the mystery that Emerson manages to weave into the book.  It adds this extra layer that keeps things fresh and also gives us a music driven subplot that doesn't focus on the band and the band alone.  But it still has it's hooks in rock n roll and the crazy world of fame.

In the end, Exile was a really fun ride.  If you're a music junky or if you are a part of the music world in any capasity I say check this one out.  It's got a lot going for it and who knows maybe other readers will connect with Summer more than I did?

   3 Unicorns = I liked it a lot but it had it's issues!


Danielle said...

Hey Christianna! I just want to tell you that you’re nominated on my Sunshine Blog Award! Feel free to check it out if you choose to accept:

Nicole said...

I am not going to prioritize this one because I think I will also get frustrated with Summer and the information withholding, but I am drawn to the music premise so I will definitely keep it on my radar! Great review.