Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: Paradise, by Jill Alexander

Paradise is a sweet teen romance, realistically portrayed, that will capture the attention of many teen girls.

All Paisley wants to do is play the drums in her band. She’ll do anything she can to keep this secret from her mother who has other ideas about what Paisley should be doing with her life. Paisley’s mom wants Paisley and her sister, Lacey, to be able to leave their small Texas town and make something more of themselves. 

Paisley’s uncle lets her band practice in his airplane hangar on his farm. The problem is that the band doesn’t have a singer, so when the leader of the band, Waylon, advertises for a singer, Paradise enters the picture. Not only does Paradise sing, but he plays the accordion, which none of the band members are too thrilled with. Their goal is to play at the Texapaloosa music festival in Austin. As Paradise begins to practice with them, he begins to find his place and it seems their dream may come true. But Paisley is beginning to think she has more of a dream than just playing the drums....there’s a definite attraction to Paradise.

The romance builds slowly and naturally, although there’s much more to the story than romance. Paisley’s mother may seem like she’s out of her mind trying to control her daughters’ destinies, but we’re getting this story from Paisley’s perspective, and it turns out maybe her mother isn’t as crazy as Paisley always thought. 

Alexander writes great, lovable characters that come to life. The other band members all have their own problems and hang-ups. Waylon is trying to live up to his father’s expectations. Levi is a baseball player who happens to be in the band (and happens to be crazy about Lacey). And Cal has a secret crush on Paisley. Lacey wants to go to beauty school, but her mom is convinced that she will have a singing career. Even Paisley’s uncle has a back story that adds to the motivations of these characters.

Paisley is a good kid. She doesn’t like deceiving her parents, but she doesn’t have a choice. She’s crazy about Paradise, but she also has strong feelings about abstinence, which is sometimes lacking in teen romances these days. These characters are just struggling to grow up, as all teens do. The story is realistic and heartwarming. They make mistakes. They cover them up. They get in trouble. It’s all very natural and believable.

The ending was unexpected and somewhat abrupt. You may just want to skip the last couple of chapters...but if that’s the way Alexander intended it, then I’m OK with it.

This book will be thoroughly enjoyed by teen girls who are fans of romance, especially if they are interested in music. I’d probably categorize this book as a coming-of-age novel, but the romance makes it even more special.

Published by Feiwel and Friends, July 5, 2011
248 pages

Rating: 3/5 

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  1. You always write the most thoughtful reviews! Thanks so much for reading.


  2. Awesome review! I agree with a lot of what you said here! Seriously! I nodded a lot! :) And that ending! Argh.


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