From the Blurb:
James Morgan, lead guitarist for the rock band Eden, seems to have it all. That is, until Theo, Eden’s lead singer and James’s secret lover, violently betrays him, sending James into a deep depression and cutting their current tour and the band’s life short.
Kieran Jackson, the lead vocalist for the less successful band Lost and Found, is at his wits’ end. At thirty-three, he never dreamed he’d still be opening for bands comprised of twentysomethings. When Eden pulls out of the last few shows of their summer tour, Kieran returns home burned out and heartbroken.
Over a year later, James, Phil, and David of Eden decide to reform under a different name with Kieran as their new vocalist. James, never having forgotten his single interaction with Kieran, nor the only time he ever listened to him perform, knows Kieran’s the best choice.
James is still closeted—and skittish after his last relationship—and one fumbling, drunken kiss threatens to undo everything he’s worked so hard to rebuild, as well as the cover he’s fought to maintain.
Can James overcome his past, confront his demons, and reclaim his former fame? Or will he and the newly formed True North remain in Eden’s shadow forever? Can he finally find comfort in who he is, accept his past, and reopen his heart? Or will the memories of Theo’s betrayal and the subsequent fallout dash any hope of finding—and trusting—love again?
Trigger warning: this book contains explicit rape, as well as one failed suicide attempt by a main character.
Reading the blurb you think that you're in for a very angsty and emotional read, and I was prepared for some hard scenes. Here I want to warn any potential readers that there's a detailed sexual assault scene on page. The book doesn't really deal much with the direct aftermath of that event but rather takes place a year and a half after it. The only info we get about the time immediately after it happened is really short and ends once James takes the first steps in moving forward and trying to deal with what happened by getting help outside of a bottle. I would have liked to see the process of him moving forward and finding himself again.
Anyway, one year after James starts putting his life back together, the remaining members of Eden decide to form a new band and they are looking for a singer. Kieran was the singer of a smaller band that opened for Eden at their last tour. He was very good so they offer him the position and they start recording a new album. I have no idea about the workings of a professional band but the whole thing seemed very effortless. There was a new member but they didn't really spend any time together. Everyone was recording their parts alone, they didn't practice (or if they did it wasn't mentioned), the members of the band didn't connect with each other, not even the old ones and they barely spent any time together. I was always under the impression that band members kind of lived in each other's pockets. These guys interacted even less than if they were working an office job for different departments.
The relationship between James and Kieran had a weird vibe. Let's put aside the fact that it moved at the speed of light - and that they actually moved in together at the same speed - and focus at the lack of any real connection between them. I couldn't see why they were together or why it was such a big romance. They didn't really know each other, they lived miles and miles away and they didn't talk. I understand why James didn't want to immediately open up about his past but Kieran was the same way. Even when they started sharing things they always kept something back.
Kieran's medical condition was a thread that just went nowhere. It created a bit of drama in one scene and then it was never mentioned again. I never even fully understood what it was. There was an explanation of sorts at some point but it wasn't very clear about his future and the only thing I'm sure about is that it had something to do with his hearing. With him being a singer I expected to learn more about it and for it to be a bigger part in the story.
My biggest issue with the story and with James in particular was the drunk driving. He was constantly doing it! What was up with that? He was drinking and driving and not only it wasn't a big deal for him, it wasn't a big deal for those around him either. Phil talked to him about it some but he was pretty mellow about it. This seriously affected my rating and my enjoyment of the story.
The way the story was told was perfectly fine if I put aside the missing letters when the characters talked, especially James. There was " 'M" instead of "I'm" at the majority of his sentenses. " 'S" instead "It's" and even instead of "There's" on a couple of occasions. It grated on my nerves.
It sounds like I didn't enjoy the book but in reality it was good. I didn't skip any parts and I wanted to keep reading in order to find out what happened in the end. I liked that there was a band and I liked James's relationship with his best friend and bandmate, Phil. I didn't like what happened with Theo in the end, though.
I'd read this author again in the future though I sincerely hope she'll stop cutting off letters in favor of using apostrophes.
*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. *
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