Title: Exile

Series: Exile, Book One

Author: Kevin Emerson ♦ @kcemerson

Expected Publication:
April 29, 2014

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 320

Genre(s): Young Adult  Contemporary  Romance  Mystery

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads: Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

Average Goodreads Rating as of (04/24/2014): 3.82

  • Christina thought this title had heart. It goes on her 2nd shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♦ Initial Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 3.5 stars! With authentically portrayed teen characters, a plot rooted in music, a sweet romance, and a little mystery, Exile managed to hit all the right notes. When I wasn’t overwhelmed by the constant harmonies and rifts between the characters, I was blown away by the passion that Emerson weaves throughout his narration. This book was definitely an experience.

♦ The Lowdown: Summer’s claim to band manager fame should have been the now-skyrocketing group Postcards, but they were stolen right out from under her by Candy Shell Records. Now she’s back for her senior year at PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High looking for that next big hopeful. All signs point to Caleb Daniels, exile from his old band and a guy with major swoony crooner potential, but also a guy with a ton of baggage weighing him down. Yet, Summer takes a chance and finds herself in a whole heap of more– more drama, more romance, more nerves- than she ever expected. Because of the secrets Caleb is keeping, particularly who is father is, all signs are pointing to him and his newest band having mega-hit possibilities. However, when Summer finds herself struggling to balance her band manager duties with her girlfriend role, things get complicated quickly.

♦ Significant Quote: 

And maybe that’s the secret: Maybe we do go in circles, but they’re orbits, created by the gravity of our hearts and hopes, and so if we stay true to ourselves, we will face the same situations again, but each time we come around, we know more, we’ve grown, learned, and this time we can get it right, or at least a little better.
~quote taken from my eARC of Exile, pg. 170

♦ My Thoughts: I’m all for books with musical influences or themes, but music really was the heart and the soul of this book. You can tell from the enthusiasm the characters spoke with and the almost lyrical prose that music is something Emerson is passionate about, and it shone through beautifully in this novel. With rich characters that felt genuine and sounded realistically age-appropriate, it was easy to get wound up in their journey to creating their sound and learning to become a band all while discovering themselves along the way. I enjoyed them individually and together, but I’ll definitely be looking for the author to build on them further in the next installments. I wanted just more from them, to see them grow a little, especially the two main characters. As for the plot, even though the summary spoke about secrets and revealing pasts, I was still pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns of this story and the adventure the author took us on. I’m still quite intrigued about what awaits us in the books ahead.

There were two main reasons that lowered my rating for this book. One was all the unnecessary secrecy between Summer and Caleb and Summer and the band. Her constant internal battle with her moral compass, though completely understandable at times, bordered on grating on my nerves and appearing to only serve as the “conflict” purpose. However, that’s probably due to my own character flaw. I have a very low tolerance for liars in general, even if it is lying by omission, and she does it very often. Her rationale was usually justifiable, but it still managed to drive me crazy. The other issue was how suddenly the ending came. I don’t know, it wasn’t even necessarily a cliffhanger, just left me with this unfinished, “that’s it?” feeling.

♦ Swoons: There is something about a musician that is so undeniably attractive, in my opinion. Luckily, for me, Caleb was quite capable of bringing sweet swoons, too.

♦ Swoony Teaser:

“Good,” he says, “‘Cause I think I’m going to have more kisses than reasons.”
~quote taken from my eARC of Exile, pg. 43

♦ Rec It? Yes, I would, particularly to those who love a good music-themed book. However, I do want to say that for some reason when I requested this title, I thought it was a stand-alone, so if you aren’t a patient person like myself, then it does end rather abruptly and you might want to wait until the next book comes out before you give this one a go. Still, solid characters, a sweet romance, and good writing, what more could you want from a book?

♦ A very special thanks to Katherine Tegen Books & Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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