If you like music or romance, or genuine and believable characters, I think you will enjoy this read. It isn’t your average YA music book – it takes place at an opera camp – but don’t let that deter you. There is plenty of catty girl stare downs, some awkward shirtless guy encounters, and a little bit of geek-girl-letting-go in the depths of this coming of age tale.
Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.
She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.
Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.
But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.
I particularly enjoyed the narrator, Kiki. She is smart, medium quirky, and a character who feels things deeply. I related to her anxious attempts to become more social, and her obsessive drive to prove herself. She won’t be everyone’s cup of tea initially because she comes across as pretty meek and insecure, but readers who stick it out will realize exactly how strong she can be. This journey is one that a lot of YA readers will find engaging, especially since the message is about being true to yourself. Kiki struggles with that quest, as many of us do, and that feels genuine. The cast of secondary characters are varied and I love the fact that they surprised me, often as much as Kiki did. Overall, this read is one I’m happy to put in my high school classroom library. It has a clean and compelling romance – these characters aren’t squeaky clean, but they aren’t going to horrify your mother with their antics — a nice coming of age story, and Kiki is a character I would be proud to point to as a role model. It is definitely going on my wish list. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 14+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.