Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Macmillan (ARC)
When privileged seventeen-year-old Jasmine decides she doesn't want to go to college, her father kicks her out.
Left to fend for herself, Jasmine takes her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side.
Too bad she has major stage fright, and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from Woodside can hack it.
Jasmine is an interesting narrator because she's got aspirations, is terrified of trying to reach them, but is determined to try anyway. I admire that about her, and can relate to many of her fears and anxieties. I like that she is stubborn enough to go forward with it even though she's afraid and unsure. The other members of C-Side are great characters as well. Veta is fun and fearless, and she is instrumental in helping Jasmine get into a situation where she can potentially be successful. Sean is more difficult to win over but still offers Jasmine encouragement when she needs it. Felix is a pacifist and is funny and endearing. And Bryn is overbearing, but is also hard-working and underappreciated.
Santa Cruz is the perfect backdrop for these characters and their band. It provides the serenity of the ocean while still maintaining an edge. The pacing is steady, without being rushed or containing lulls, so it is easy to breeze through this story. Jasmine pushes herself and battles her fears, on stage and off. Her growth as a person and a musician are noticeable. Her relationship development with the members of her band is well-done. I particularly like the relationship between Jasmine and Sean. There are some romantic feelings there, but it is not the focus of the story and in the end I really like where they end up.
I also love Kelly's descriptions of the music. (This is one of my favorite things about books in which music plays an important role - the way authors translate sounds to words.) I enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend it to lovers of ya contemporary novels, music-themed reads, and stories in which the protag must overcome fears in order to achieve personal goals.