young adult book reviews & more

Paradise by Jill S. Alexander

ParadisePaisley is the drummer in a country rock band with one dream: escaping from her tiny Texas hometown. If her band could just get it together and find a decent lead singer, then they could have a shot at the stage at Texapalooza. If they can make it there, then Paisley has a better chance of getting noticed. And Paisley is sure that getting noticed for her skill on the drums will be her ticket to freedom. But all that gets jeopardized when the guy from Paradise, Texas shows up. He’s got enough talent and decent enough voice to front the band, but he still might end up tearing the band—and Paisley’s dreams—apart. And as infuriating as he is sometimes, there’s just something about Paradise that Paisley can’t ignore. There’s something about him that’s going to make her realize that maybe escaping from Prosper County isn’t the only thing she wants out of life.

As someone who has only experienced living in urban and suburban areas, it’s always a little difficult reading a book that is so heavily saturated with the flavor of a small rural center. Paradise is one of those books; Paisley is suffocating in a small town that frowns upon her drumming and the band. And while I can sympathize with Paisley’s frustration that no one really gets or supports her dreams, it always takes a little getting used to the small town setting where conservatism rules and everybody knows almost everybody else’s business. Unfortunately, the plot and characters did little to otherwise capture my attention. The plot was often predictable and just not all that interesting, and the ending was rather abrupt and unsatisfying. It seems to me that Alexander was trying to write a book about how special people and love can deeply change a person, but because I found this novel so hard to get into, its effect fell a little short for me. Unfortunately, more than anything else, I think it was ultimately the fact that I don’t quite understand rural settings that made it hard for me to like this book.

Paradise may still be enjoyed by readers who also liked How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford and Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab.

Rating: 3.25

Review copy from publisher Macmillan

1 munch(es) :

Lisa Schensted said...

not gonna lie - the cover has thrown me off of this one for awhile...but your review drew me back in.

something about her being a drummer totally intrigues me!

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