Publication: June 5th 2014 by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Source: eARC, received from NetGalley
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a topnotch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.
When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.
But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.
Just Sing was a complete and pleasant surprise. There’s not many YA novels out there that can capture my heart and soul wholly. And this book is definitely one of them.
Lily O’Brien is passionate about her art which is singing. She has so much determination stored in her wheelhouse that it’ll probably last for a whole series. I love that she’s constantly finding ways to salvage her dream of getting into a prestigious vocal program in college. She’s staring straight ahead; she doesn’t let anything, and I mean anything, get in her way. Even hot and charming boys — one of her traits that I absolutely admired.
I love that she has a very close-knit relationship with her family even though her parents are divorced. She’s the perfect role model for every son/daughter out there. I thought her relationship with her Gram was endearing and full of raw emotion. And then there’s her relationship with Philip — her only best friend. They make a great team and I can see they really compliment each other.
Along Lily’s path to reaching her dreams, she meets broken and beautiful (and new neighbour) Aiden Cohen. At first, I was distraught with his character. He goes from helping Lily clean up after spilling her smoothie to ignoring and acting all cocky during her birthday. I was so close to labelling him as bipolar. But then, he shows this vulnerable side that I absolutely fell for. I know some people who’ve read this might disagree with me on this one, but the many shades of Aiden is the product of a tragic childhood. I’m not going to say what it is though.
Moreover, I thought Aiden was charming. He wasn’t pushy and he kept things cool between him and Lily. But there was one scene though where he acted stupidly. I hope it gets resolved in the next book.
Just Sing surprisingly explored more themes than I anticipated. From family matters to friendship to young love to future decisions. It was the complete package for me. But there’s this .0001% that was lacking in this novel for me. I was looking for more music elements in the story. I was actually expecting lyrics from Lily’s original composition, but sadly there weren’t any. Needless to say, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me.
After reading the last chapter, I was momentarily frustrated with the way things ended. But then I remembered this was going to be a series which means there’s a continuation of Lily’s story. *does a little happy dance*
I always love a good surprise, and Just Sing was an indulgent surprise. Look out YA universe, René Gilley is one author to watch.
*An ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.