Jake Brenner is the bassist of an up and coming Rockband. He is a declared bachelor. Why should the young man settle, if there are so many handsome guys out there, just waiting for him to take him up on their offer to become this nights groupie? He never has any problems finding a warm and willing body, esp. since he is out and proud and his bandmates are accepting of his sexuality.
But then the band need as new guitar player. Enter Parker McAvoy. Cute, shy and in need of friendship and affection. As nervous as Parker gets, playing in front of many people, as talented is the former Juilliard Student, who is very secretive about his past. So Jake does everything to help him overcome his stage fright and be a shoulder to lean on. Also, he wants to know more about Parker. Soon they become friends, then best friends and suddenly they are making out in the tour bus. From this day on, Jake can’t deny his growing attraction to Parker, but Parker runs hot and cold. And Jake? Jake is confused.
And to add another note to the confusing melody, Parkers past enters the stage and makes the news.
“American Love Songs” by Ashlyn Kane tells the story of the rise of fictional the Kansas native Rockband “Wayward Sons” to the top of the charts. Storyteller is Jake Brenner the Bands bassist and declared mediator. The story is told like a long diary entry, with fun footnotes, peeks into the “Wayward Sons” online blog and text messages. The reader joins the band during rehearsals, song writing, their tour, video shooting, backstage, interviews but also at home and with their families. So one gets to know the four guys pretty well, esp. of course Jake and his roommate, band colleague and best friend Parker. Even if Parker is pretty enigmatig during the story, he is also very intriguing, but you learn more and more about him trough Jakes Eyes and get to love his demeanour and shy character. I loved Jakes Voice the whole time. There is a lot of humor, wordplay and openness in his narration, always true to his character. He often is confused about Parkers ways and behaviour, but also his own, so sometimes you just want to reach into the book and throttle him or sit him down and explain everything in easy words and very slowly. This does not mean Jake is stupid, just dense esp. about his own feelings, like a lot of people. But this just makes him more believable. Of course, American Love Songs is a modern, romantic fairy tale, and sometimes things just seem too easy. But on the other hand, it is so very well told and written, in this modern, colloquial language and this is exactly what makes it such a wonderful read. Even if the construction sometimes seemed like the fast way, i.e. the part when Parker joins the band and becomes Jakes room mate, here were to much coincedences in one go, but on the other hand, it added to their Love Story as kind of sign. A add to the charme of this book is, that it really feels like Jake is telling you the story not some author. Because the characters are tangible, like they really could exist. Even the side characters are alive and have their own facettes. As an example: I never liked Chris, the bandleader and frontman, even if Jake had a major crush on him, in the beginning of the book. All characters have flaws, that are never hidden, even Parker or Jake, all characters have their own voice, even told by Jake and sometimes it was, as if you could really turn on the radio and wait for the new “Wayward Sons” Single to be played. I wanted to listen to their music, see them on the stage and watch their video while reading this book.
The book made me laugh, made my smile, made me growl at Jake and Parker and made me want for music. I think this is exactly like it wanted to be.
If you want a fun weekend read, with lovable characters, rock ‘n’ roll, laughter and a sweet, sweet love story, American Love Songs is the book for you.
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Cover Artist: Anne Cain