5 out of 5 stars
I loved this book. So so much. First of all, it's a contemporary romance told from the point of view of the guy. How often does that happen? No really, I'd like to know...do you have a favorite male main character book? Tell me about it below! Second of all, it's got an epic roadtrip and that is just about my most favorite thing ever! And finally, it's a music-driven story and those are a close second after roadtrips. Mostly because it gives me a chance to make a playlist and you know I love a good playlist. :) So be sure to check out my 8Tracks mix at the bottom and let me know how I did with the "mood".
Okay, on to the actual story. Colby and Bev are BFF's and about to graduate high school. But instead of heading off to college, they are going on an epic trip across Europe for a year. And to start the trip off, they are going on a month long tour with Bev's punk rock girl band (+2 other girls from school). This band, The Disenchantments, is not great but what they lack in talent, they make up for in determination and spirit. Colby goes along as manager, roadie, and van driver. Surprisingly, their parents are all okay with this. Especially Colby's. His dad and uncle had a band when they were younger so they think he is just following in their footsteps. His mom is off on her own spiritual journey in France and has lovely dreams that she tells Colby all about.
"I was walking along the Seine, like I do every day, and I looked up and all of my favorite French words were drifting across the sky on kites."
Colby and the girls are barely a single day into their roadtrip when Bev drops a bomb (spoiler, highlight to read): she's decided not to go backpacking around Europe and is instead going off to college in the fall. (/spoiler) Colby is shocked and bewildered and doesn't know what to do...with the tour, with Bev, with anything. And the story goes on from there, unwinding the how and why of Bev's secret and what it means for the two friends.
Honestly, I kind of hated Bev for most of the book. I think you were supposed to though. She was selfish and emo and just generally, an 18 year old. Colby has built her up in his mind as the perfect (almost manic pixie dream) girl and when that dream comes crashing down, it's a disaster. Because, of course he's in love with her. How could he not be? The other two girls in the band, sisters Meg & Alexa, are great secondary characters. Part punk, part hippy, they each have their own problems and idiosyncrasies and blended together nicely with Bev & Colby. And there is a virtual bevy of wonderful background characters. My (and most peoples') favorite is Jasper, the young tattoo artist who just wants to
As the tour goes on, we get more and more of Bev & Colby's back story and a sense of who they really are. There is plenty of angst and self-pity, but it's all balanced out with beautiful sections about art and music and growing up and self-discovery.
We felt so small with the city lights stretching forever below us, and we yelled at the top of our lungs because we were just these small humans but we felt more longing than could ever fit inside us.