Just a Girl begins with singing sensation Presley Mason being kicked out of her band because her fellow bandmates feel that she’s stealing the spotlight and holding the rest of them back. Presley is emotionally shattered – she started the band, she got them all their exposure, and the people she used to call her friends (one of them even her boyfriend) cast her away without a second thought. She ends up back at her parents’ music store in Wisconsin, not quite sure what to do with her life, but certain that she doesn’t want to sing again.
I’m going to be honest here and tell you that the main reason I read this book was the setting. I am a sucker for anything set in my home state! I can’t blame Presley at all for heading back when her world was falling apart. I would do the same.
In the music store, Presley meets Paul, a young, good-looking guitar teacher with whom she feels an immediate spark. It’s not long before the two of them are hanging out and hooking up, but that comes with its own problems – Paul’s band needs a singer, but Presley isn’t looking to offer up her skills any time soon and she’s unwilling to mix business and pleasure again, so it’s Paul or the band – not both. And Paul is dealing with some serious stage fright that seems to get worse, not better, every time he performs.
Let’s start with the good. I’ve already said that I loved the setting. I loved that Presley had open-minded, supportive parents, and I thought it was hilarious that they wanted to be so involved in her love life. Presley clearly has a great relationship with her parents, and she also has other friendships that she keeps up throughout the book. She even makes some new friends in Paul’s roommates. New adult books so often focus solely on the couple, so it’s nice when familial connections and friendships are maintained throughout the book.
If you have read more than a handful of my new adult reviews, I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised when I say that it was the angst that made me lower my rating. The conflict in this book was solely caused by the characters (mostly Presley) being stubborn. Instead of trying to find a way to have her new band and her new relationship, she issues an ultimatum, and then pouts when she’s unhappy. Why? This is angst for angst’s sake, and that’s not something that I enjoy in my books.
But overall, this is a really fun book. I read it all in one sitting and am definitely adding Ellie Cahill to my list of authors to watch. I might even take a look at her young adult titles (under the pen name Liz Czukas) because I did really like her writing style.
If you’re at all into new adult books or books revolving around musicians, check this one out!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!
Final rating: ★★★☆☆