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This is a really impressive debut novel from E.A. Andrews. A beautifully written, heartfelt coming of age story about a young girl following her heart, finding her passion, creating a new life for herself and falling in love along the way.
Harper Deacon is 18 years old and has always been a rule follower, rarely deviating from the strict expectations of her controlling mother. And when she makes the brave decision to not go to college, but instead to follow her dreams and pursue her music career, she is pretty much disowned. Moving into the home she has inherited from her recently deceased Grandfather, Harper is left to fend for herself and make her own way.
This was my life to live … I might never make it in the music business. But I’d rather try and fail than live with the regret of never having taken the chance.
Harper’s father was a successful musician until he took his own life, and as proud as Harper is of his legacy, she is determined to find her own way and create her own success. A talented singer/songwriter/guitar player, she is performing at open mike night when she meets Smith Dawson. Gorgeous and dangerous-looking with a bad boy rocker vibe, Smith is usually the type of guy she avoids. But in addition to their clearly mutual love of all things music, there is a spark of attraction between them, and as Harper gets to know Smith and meets his bandmates, she discovers that he’s a fun, charming, dynamic and charismatic guy.
“Hi. I’m Nikki. Best friend and personal stylist for Harper Deacon.”
Smith grinned at her, those stupid dimples making a reappearance. “Nice to meet you, Nikki I’m Smith. I aspire to be second-best friend and guitar player for Harper Deacon.”
“You must enjoy a challenge,” Nikki said, batting her ridiculously long eyelashes.
“Oh, I do,” Smith said, and aimed his grin at me.
Despite their attraction, Harper is dedicated first and foremost to her music, so she shuns the idea of anything romantic happening between, but when she is invited to join the band as their singer, they become a fixture in each other’s lives. Harper hasn’t really spent that much time around guys, but she suddenly finds herself thrust into a family-of-sorts with three of them. And though she develops close friendships with each of them, it’s with Smith that she has the strongest bond, and the influence that he has on her, her confidence, and her music is beautifully explored.
He turned every experience into an adventure. His laughter and his capacity for joy was infectious. And I liked who I was with Smith. Braver with my words and actions. More open to expressing my emotions.
Initially Harper and Smith are drawn together by their love of music, but it’s so much more than that. Of course they’re wildly attracted to each other, but their growing connection runs deep and as they spend more time together a beautiful friendship develops And that friendship slowly and naturally becomes something more as they fall for each other and experience the intensity and wonder of first love.
I fell for him the minute I laid eyes on him. I guess that’s why they call it falling. You think you’re in control. But you’re not.
But Smith has his own demons to battle, and they are big. Harper will need to use every ounce of her new-found strength to deal with Smith, the band, her relationship with her mother, her love for Smith, her music and her future.
I really enjoyed this book. Harper is a great heroine – strong, smart and driven, with a realistic vulnerability that made her likably relatable.
Who was the real Harper Deacon? Someone please enlighten me. Not so long ago, my life was safe and predictable. The old me followed the rules and never missed a curfew. Now, left to my own devices, I had no idea what I was doing with my life.
And Smith… wow. He’s just gorgeous. Sweet, fun and romantic with a bit of a bad boy edge, he’s impossible not to love. His past and the things he deals with are heartbreaking, but really well written, and I thought it added a really great twist to the story.
And together, Harper and Smith are fantastic! I loved their friendship – full of sweet, fun and profound moments, I felt it all, and loved their sweet and slow fall towards the inevitable, and the beautiful love story that followed.
There’s a great collection of side characters – the boys in the band, and Harper’s friends are all really well developed and bring a lot to the story, and to Harper’s journey. And I loved watching the dynamics of those relationships develop.
The book ends unexpectedly, and I really wasn’t sure what to make of that ending. It’s not a cliffy, exactly, just a surprise twist that leaves things in a bit of a weird place. But there will be a sequel, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where it all goes from here.
This is a great read. The writing is emotive and draws you in without becoming overly-sentimental, the characters are great fun, the love story is sweet, and the drama and emotion of Harper’s journey are really well written.
I loved it – 4 stars.