ARC review: I’m Not in the Band by Amber Garza

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Kassidy Milton is just trying to move on with her life after a tragedy rocked her world last year. To start her senior year off right, her older sister takes her to a Playlisters concert.  They’re only the biggest band in the world right now, but Kassidy knows nothing about them. She doesn’t know their songs or even what they look like, but being a huge music fan, she doesn’t turn down the opportunity for a concert.

While searching for some snacks that haven’t been deep-fried, Kassidy runs into a very cute, very friendly boy who offers to show her around at her new school. Little does Kassidy know, he’s the twin brother of the Playlisters’ lead singer, and he just can’t believe that this girl has no idea who his famous brother is.

Archer and Kassidy click instantly, but will insecurities get the best of them as Kassidy can’t believe that this cute boy wants her and Archer can’t believe that this perfect girl isn’t just using him for his twin?

This was my first book by Amber Garza, and it was very cute. It’s exactly the kind of book I would have loved as a teenager, and I’m sure that the actual demographic it’s targeting will rave about it.

Like in many romances, we have alternating POV’s here.  Unlike many other books I’ve read, the POV’s are in different formats. While Kassidy’s chapters are more inside her head, Archer’s side of the story is told through social media posts and text messages. When reading books with alternating POV’s, it often becomes difficult to tell who’s talking if both characters have the exact same voice. This was such an interesting and unique way to tackle that problem and really clarify what was going on. I loved this aspect of the book.

I also thought that Archer and Kassidy were super cute together, and I really appreciated that Archer didn’t listen to the stupid advice he got from his friends about making Kassidy wait or not texting her first. I liked that Kassidy became friends with Archer’s famous twin, Ross, through their shared interests and never once swooned over him or thought about what it would be like to date the famous one. Especially since Archer experienced this in the past with (seemingly) every girl he’s ever dated, it was nice that Kassidy didn’t have any ulterior motives.

However, there’s a reason that this book didn’t give five stars from me.

The biggest reason that I didn’t love this book is the sheer amount of teenage drama.  I hated it when I was a teenager and I cannot stand it as an adult. There’s jealousy that doesn’t really make a ton of sense (who gets that upset over a Facebook friend request?!) and both characters react like children (not teenagers) when things don’t go their way.

I also thought that Kassidy’s “tragedy” or “trauma” or whatever you want to call it was handled poorly. There are constant hints that something awful happened to her, but the actual event isn’t revealed until nearly the end of the book. By that point, I thought it had been built up a lot more than necessary and was almost disappointed about what had happened. I was also concerned for Kassidy’s health because she seemed to have some serious issues with anxiety and food/exercise that were never really addressed.

Overall, this was a cute, quick read, but not one that I’d go back to. I’m sure that the target demographic will enjoy it more than I did.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!