Monday, July 14, 2014

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker

Title: Wildflower
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family’s bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennessee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She’s even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird’s star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

This summer has been great for contemporary stories, and I have been reading as many as I can get my hands on. When I first heard about Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower, I was really excited to read it. And though the story didn’t end up being what I thought it was going to be, it was still a story I really enjoyed.

Bird has always loved playing fiddle in the Barrett Family Band. For half her life, Bird has been living on the road, playing shows every night with her family’s bluegrass band. But when she sings lead one night when her father is sick, Bird’s life changes. Now that she’s officially been “discovered,” Bird finds herself going from meetings, to photo shoots and spending endless hours writing and recording new songs. But it’s what she wants. Or so Bird tells herself. As much as Bird loves being able to share her music with the world, she can’t help but feel like everything around her is changing. The Barrett Family Band is done, her brothers are thinking of going to college, and just when she thought she was going to be able to be with Adam, that changes too. While everything is changing, can Bird find a way to stay herself in a completely new world?

After having read Open Road Summer earlier this summer, I was really looking forward to reading Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower. How could I not be? It sounded like it was going to be another story with country music and the potential for romance and that’s just what I wanted. If I’m being honest, there were certain things I expected from this story but not all those expectations were met. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Wildflower. I loved reading about Bird navigating the world of country music and finding herself and her voice. I loved seeing all the family dynamics in the Barrett family. I loved seeing the role music played in this story, seeing how the music was tied into all aspects of the story. Where I was a little disappointed was in the romance department. From the synopsis, I’d been led to believe that romance would definitely be a part of this story, and as I started reading all signs seemed to be pointing to budding romance. But the more I kept reading, the more apparent it was becoming that the romance was falling a little bit flat. In the context of this story, the romance was not needed in the least, but it just felt like it should have been there, especially when all signs seemed to be pointing to a romance. Even though I was a little disappointed that the romance fell flat, I still really enjoyed the overall story.

I really enjoyed reading Bird’s story from her perspective. Everything that was happening to her was pretty crazy when you stop and think about it. I could tell that she was struggling with how to balance her newfound fame with the life she had before everything all became so crazy. Bird was just a very likeable character. I loved her seeing her amazement over everything that was happening to her, like even she couldn’t believe it. Most of all, though, I loved her relationships with all the other characters. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship she had with her father, how he was by her side through it all, helping her navigate everything that was happening. I also really enjoyed seeing her friendship with Stella develop in the midst of everything else that was going on. The one character I wish I could have seen more of, and this ties in to my slight disappointment with the romance, is Adam. Every time Adam made an appearance, I really enjoyed seeing him and I could tell that he was someone Bird really cared about. So if he could have been more present, I would have been a very happy reader. As it was though, I was still quite happy reading about all these characters.

Though it didn’t quite meet all my expectations, I still really enjoyed reading Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower. It was a fun summer contemporary read and if you like those and country music, than this is the story for you.

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