Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jaye Robin Brown
Sixteen-year-old Amber Vaughn is a singer, and a good one at that. She dreams of the day when she can leave behind her small town and complicated family When an opportunity to audition for a performing arts high school comes up, Amber spends all her time singing and preparing to hopefully wow the judges. She makes beautiful music with Will, her best friend's older brother, and enjoys fun with friends. However, things soon get complicated: two new boys at the school cause problems; the state threatens to take away Amber's nephew when her sister and brother-in-law are arrested; and Will, with whom Amber finds herself falling in love, has a girlfriend. When everything in Amber's life becomes too twisted and tangled up, she has to grow up a little and figure out her own problems, with the help of some loving friends and family.
This book alternates between sweet, dramatic fun and deep, emotional truth. Amber deals with a lot of difficult challenges. The best parts of the book were those detailing Amber's family and the cycle of imperfect relationships the plot centered around. There were a lot of beautiful moments between Amber and her mother, as well as some between her and her older sister. Her family was not perfect, but the book proclaimed the importance of fighting for family and those you love. The more problematic sections dealt with Amber and her romance with Will—the two flirt and kiss while he is in a relationship with another girl. He later blames his infidelity on being a jerk and a guy, which didn't seem like good enough reasons. Potential readers should know that this book includes sensitive topics and underage substance abuse. Despite the questionable romance, the book was a fun, entertaining read that young appreciators of drama and small-town situations will love.
Contains severe language and moderate sexual content.