Tuesday, June 14, 2016

[Review: Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith]

"Red Velvet Crush"
Author: Christina Meredith
Series: None
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Music
Date Published: June 14th, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


Rock music, a broken family, challenging sisters, and the crush of first love—Red Velvet Crush has everything you need in a summer read. For fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Eleanor & Park, and This Song Will Save Your Life.

Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

My Thoughts:

Finally, a book about music that I actually enjoyed. It's true that I'm really picky when it comes to books that have to do with bands and going on the road. In fact they usually fall really flat for me, but Red Velvet Crush surprised me, and I found that I really liked it. It's much better than the band name the book is named after, but that's beside the point. 

I think that what works so well for this novel is that it's about so much more than just the music. It reminded me of Almost Famous in that way. That the story is actually more about a group of people coming together and learning some really tough lessons, while also rocking out, and having a grand adventure at the same time. It's refreshing, and it's bold.

I also have to say that I really enjoyed Meredith's writing style. It's whimsical, but it's also brash, and I think it's one of the reasons that this book works so well. Her flowery prose makes reading some of the harsher details much more interesting. And she makes sure to make you feel as unsure as the characters in her story as you read along.

The relationships in Red Velvet Crush felt really authentic. They felt real, and that is part of this books charm. Sure Teddy Lee and her family aren't perfect (at all) but there is a love there that can't be denied. Winston, though he plays a part in the novel, takes a backseat to the relationship between Teddy Lee and Billie. Theirs is a sister bond that isn't full of rainbows and butterflies, and that's one of the biggest plot pushes of the book. It's uncomfortable sometimes, but it means that we get to see Teddy Lee grow a lot in the short amount of time that we have with her.

The romance element was fun, but it wasn't the best part of the book for me. In fact my only complaint with the book has to do with the romance and how it all ended. Now, I'm sure that teen readers are going to eat the end up, but as someone who's older, I found that it didn't work for me. 

That being said, Red Velvet Crush is a delightful summer read for anyone who's a music junkie like I am. Meredith fills the pages with old school band references, beautiful words to describe the music that's happening on the page, and some good old "on the road" shenanigans.  

4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!

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