Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron
"Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.
When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?"- summary from Amazon
This was a fantastically written debut novel. Skovron's voice and style are perfect for this novel, which is filled with humor, introspection, first love, and figuring out what it takes to believe in yourself and going after your dreams.
Sammy is a relatable character who has flaws and is multi-dimensional, as are the secondary characters, who are also fully fleshed out and seem real. One of my favorite characters to read about was Rick (you can find out why in the excerpt vlog posted a few days ago) because he was funny and sarcastic, but also had issues keeping him back from making himself happy in the romance department. My problem with him though is that I felt like there was much more to him and I didn't really get to know about it. I know the story is about Sammy, but at the same time, if you introduce a subplot involving another character, I want to be fully satisfied by the end of it and I feel like that wasn't the case; it was a very small, simple arc when there was clearly much more to it. Alright, I'll stop harping on this complaint and move on, lol.
I loved the romance between Sammy and Jen5. The realization of it, their conversations about it, and how they interacted during the beginning stages of their relationship all felt very real to me and it's great to see this honest portrayal of best friends becoming romantically involved and all the obstacles and questions that come along with it.
The music aspect was very interesting and I loved the inclusion of Sammy's lyrics throughout the book while he was working on them. It gave this new perspective to him that I think readers will enjoy. Also, a tiny little aside, every time Joe (the lead singer) was in a scene, I kept picturing Nathan Explosion from the band Dethklok on the show Metalocalypse on Cartoon Network. Did anyone else have that connection or am I just weird?
Anyway, this is a highly recommended book, so go get a copy as soon as you can!
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