Title: Just Sing
Author: Rene Gilley
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
From the Publisher: Sixteen-year-old Lily has always dreamt of singing professionally and being the first person in her family to attend college. Two years into her four-year plan, she’s on track for acceptance into her dream college’s prestigious music program. Until the school board holds an emergency budget meeting and cuts her high school’s award-winning vocal program. Lily now has the summer before her junior year to formulate a new strategy, or she can kiss her hopes of getting into Berkeley goodbye.
Back taxes and no money not only forces her family to sell some of their land but means having to learn to accept an intrusion on their peaceful ranch life. When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. In a confusing relationship that hovers between barely speaking acquaintances and something more, Lily finds the strength to question her tried-and-true plan and find a new path to follow her dream.
However, when Lily discovers her family is on the verge of losing their generations-old ranch, Seven Oaks, suddenly her plan, Berkeley, and dreams of being a singer all seem irrelevant and selfish. All that matters is saving her family’s home. Lily realizes that stepping out of her comfort zone and taking a risk in the last place she ever expected may just be the key to save Seven Oaks.
I love music. It’s a very large part of my life. So it’s no surprise that I jumped at the chance to read Just Sing when I saw it on NetGalley.
I wanted to love it.
But honestly, it got a little tiresome.
Lily is an amazing singer and has a lot of people in her corner, even if she can’t quite see it.
Her family ended up selling most everything they had in order to pay some back taxes, and Lily often uses this as an excuse to whine and lament her lot in life. She chooses to “self-sacrifice” – all the while complaining about it – so that her family isn’t burdened further financially by her dreams.
But I felt like Lily should have spent all of the time and effort she put into feeling sorry for herself doing something more productive – like finding a way to live her dream.
In the end, things were tied up a little too neatly for my liking. And Lily’s character didn’t experience a whole lot of growth. And if there’s one thing you really want to get out of Contemporary YA – it’s character growth that leads away from teenage angst.