Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Paradise by Jill Alexander

Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Overall: 4/5 stars

Summary from Amazon: Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.
Jill Alexander completely blew me out of the water with Paradise. Was expecting your typical quick, fun summer read. Something I could read in a day, be satisfied with, and not dwell over for long. However, that is not something that happened. Yes, Paradise started out as a cute summer romance with the mysterious and insanely attractive newcomer and the girl with a secret dream, but then it changed into something more. Paradise centers around Paisley, a girl who secretly wants to be a musician. However, she has to play in a secret band with some of the people her Mom disapproves most of, because her mother has very specific plans for her future. That is where she meets Paradise, the insanely sexy accordion player and singer who has Paisley and the rest of the band questioning the way they do things.

I thought Paradise was only going to be important to Paisley, but instead he serves as sort of a driving force and a trigger to everyone else making changes for the better. Not only does he bring sexy vocals and a new twist to the band with his accordion, but he slowly pushes everyone else to be more confident and go for what they believe in. Over the course of the novel Jill Alexander uses Paradise to push Paisley and her sister to stand up to her parents, Waylon, the band leader, to grow more confident in his music, and several other big changes throughout the novel.

Alexander does a great job of using all of the characters different problems to weave a storyline about dreams, perseverance, and independence. She also adds several different little spins on the story to make it even better than it was already. She adds spunky characters like Paisley's uncle who provides an interesting adult POV, and incorporates lyrics from one of the band members, Cal, into the story giving you a view from the outside.

Overall, I really liked this book. It told a great story about going for your dreams and keeping your goals in mind. However, there is a reason I only gave it 4 stars. Jill Alexander completely throws you through a loop at the end of the novel. I still can't decide whether or not the plot twist at the end added to the story or just didn't make sense. I don't want to spoil anything, but at the end of the story Alexander pulls the story in a U turn, changes the plot entirely, and leaves you wondering why the heck she just did that.

So... the story was fantastic. Heartwarming, enlightening, and extremely romantic, but I will give you fair warning that you might not like the ending. However, if you're feeling brave and also sort of romantic, give Paradise by Jill Alexander a try.

Writing: 5/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
Plot: 4/5 Stars
Ending: 3/5 stars
Cover: 4/5 stars

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