I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
You can also find me on my main blog.
Yes, I read this book in June. Because I'm a lucky bitch and got an early copy.
And yes, it got five stars. Because it's everything I expected it to be, and then some.
On page 67, I had my first giggle, when Giles hears a story about the choir having to hike half a mile up a mountain through the snow while dressed in concert attire.
The smiles didn't stop, not even through the sniffles from the tears that Heidi made me cry.
And the theme song for this novel, the one that runs through the entire book, is one of my favorites. Titanium. Strength. Survival. Freedom.
At its very core, that's what this book is about. Finding your place in the world. Freedom from family expectations, freedom from family obligations, freedom to choose that what makes you happy. Freedom to choose your friends, freedom to find a family that supports you just the way you are.
Of course, we're talking teenagers here. College kids, some of them freshmen. Some of them just now learning to stand on their own two feet. Some of them dealing with things much heavier than they should have to deal with.
But they learn. Through trial and error, through mistakes, through heartache, they learn. They learn about trusting others and trusting themselves.
And through all of it, Heidi weaves music and joy. Hence my smiles. I adored this book, adored the characters, and was super happy to see Walter and Kelly again.
The cast of characters, including the supporting ones, are all fully fleshed out. Some have secrets of their own. Some secrets are somewhat revealed, and some will apparently have to wait until the next installment.
The writing is wonderful, much like I've come to expect from a Cullinan novel. There's no lull in the flow, but much like music, there are crescendos in the action and slow adagios to catch your breath. The flow reminded me of a river - rapids in some areas and peaceful meanderings in others.
And despite the contrast between Giles and Aaron, specifically when it comes to their parents, these two characters fit together brilliantly, as if they were made for each other. I had my doubts in the beginning, but of course shouldn't have. Heidi has a master plan, I'm sure, and I should have just trusted her.
There's heartbreak too, most of it because of a boy who will hopefully feature prominently in the next book. The weight he carries, the secrets he hides, are crushing him. And though he's not one of the main characters in this novel, he first enraged me and then made me cry.
But in the end, I rejoiced, much like the Ambassadors and Salvo did in their music and songs. This book went straight to my "take to a deserted island" shelf, and I will re-read it multiple times.
** I received an early copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. I am also featuring this book and its author on my blog October 1st, where you can find out more about it, and even have a chance to win a copy. **