I finally got to read this! Onwards with the sequel we go!
Title: Wildflower (Wildflower #1)
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Date of Publication: July 1, 2014
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, Tennesee 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.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Hazel for lending me this book! Now I'm excited to read the sequel The Road to You as I got it for review. Thank you, book gods!
I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, to be honest. Quite a few people told me that it's not at par with Open Road Summer by Emery Lord if that's what I'm expecting. So I guess I totally downplayed my expectations and I ended up enjoying Wildflower!
Bird, sixteen, plays the fiddle for her family band, the Barrett Family Band. Together with her dad who plays the banjo, her mom who plays the mandolin, and his two older brothers Dylan and Jacob, who play the guitar and the bass, respectively, they tour the continental US in their RV. To say the Barrett family is close is an understatement. Like what Bird said, you have to be close and to love each other so much that you'll tolerate them when you live in an RV. While performing in Kansas City, a talent scout discovers Bird. The catch: he only wants to sign Bird and not the whole Barrett Family Band. C-O-N-F-L-I-C-T.
That's just the first of the many mini-conflicts Wildflower has in its arsenal. And I deeply appreciated how each conflict was not dragged to death. Each conflict was resolved in a timely manner, which just showcased how enviable Bird's family is. Sure, Dylan got jealous of her success, but in the end, family supports family and it's always refreshing to read a non-dysfunctional one in YA.
As Bird signs with a label, we get to see her in promotional shoots, in her dressing room, making a music video, recording the songs she wrote herself for her first album, being put in a date for a publicity stunt, and all that fiasco behind the scenes of making the next country star. We get to read about how songs and lyrics are perfected with a seasoned songwriter, how many times you'd be required to sing your song for a recording, everything! We even get to read about a launch party. You know how much I love my behind-the-scenes look into anything with a celebrity so those parts of Wildflower were a blast.
Being home-schooled and on the road, Bird doesn't have friends but she finds one in Stella, the daughter of the songwriter helping her to polish her songs. Stella's vivaciousness is a nice contrast to Bird's quite-timid nature and reading about their bonding moments was nice. It actually reminded me of my own best friend, with her endless support and teasing. Stella cracked me up a lot of times and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her (and probably the brewing romance, at least on Dylan's side) in the next book.
Lastly, the romance. I've been putting off discussing this because I wanted to have at least something coherent in my review. If I started with this, all you'd read is ADAM ADAM ADAM HAVE MY BABIES ADAM. Haha! Anyway, so Adam is this country solo singer who's friends with Bird's brother, Jacob. He's also in the touring circuit and so they see each other quite often in gigs. He's nineteen years old (YESYESYES HE'S OLDER THAN BIRD AND I AM A PUDDLE) and they have this thing where they drink fountain Coke every time they see each other and they rate which ones are the best and the worst. THEY HAVE A THING. As Bird gets a label, she starts to text Adam and the “flirtexting” was cute. Do note that Wildflower doesn't really focus on the romance aspect as it takes more time to build Bird's career. Still, the romance side was such a nice side-arc and I am completely excited to where it will lead in the next book. Bird's too busy being the next big thing and Adam's trying to build his own career. It doesn't help that Adam's playing the guitar for Bird's competition. Still, SHIP SHIP SHIP.
For fans of Open Road Summer, Not in the Script, and other celebrity romances, Wildflower has Bird, a down-to-earth girl as its lead, making her way to the top of the country music charts. We get to see her growth both as a musician and as a teen and I'm looking forward to reading about her next endeavors.
About Alecia Whitaker
Alecia Whitaker grew up with a big imagination on a small farm in Kentucky, which was worlds away from where she currently resides in fast-paced New York City. She knows more about cows, tobacco, frog gigging, and carpentry than the average girl, and she applies the work ethic and common sense she learned from her southern upbringing to the way she now navigates her career and family life in the big city.
Now living in New York City with her husband and sons, she is amused at how often her big imagination takes her back to a simpler life in Kentucky.