Everyone else in the tiny town of Enfield, Texas calls fall football season, but for the forty-three members of the Fighting Enfield Marching Band, it’s contest season. And for new saxophonist Anna James, it’s her first chance to prove herself as the great musician she’s trying hard to be.
When she’s assigned a duet with mellophone player Weston Ryan, the boy her small-minded town thinks of as nothing but trouble, she’s equal parts thrilled and intimidated. But as he helps her with the duet, and she sees the smile he seems to save just for her, she can’t help but feel like she’s helping him with something too.
After her strict parents find out she’s been secretly seeing him and keep them apart, together they learn what it truly means to fight for something they love. With the marching contest nearing, and the two falling hard for one another, the unthinkable happens, and Anna is left grappling for a way forward without Weston.
I will forever be a fan of the good, never-gets-in-trouble girl falling for the outcast, troublesome boy. I know it’s a major cliché, but when it’s done right, you can’t help but love it. That’s what drew me into this book (along with the cover).
I felt for both characters. Anna was too sheltered by her parents to the point where they didn’t even want her dating, especially anyone like Weston. In fact, they’re not even happy about the two being paired up for their band duet. So when Anna and Weston begin to have feelings for one another, they have to keep it secret – which Anna hates, but knows she would never in a million years be allowed to date him publicly. I just felt so bad that she had to hide away so much of herself from her parents – not just liking Weston – but even her “shadows,” as she called her anxious thoughts.
Weston was a lovable character and I hated that he got so much crap from the entire Enfield community. He made some mistakes in his past, but everyone does, yet he got ripped apart for his. He knew how the community felt about him, and when he realizes he likes Anna, he tries to keep away from her. In fact, he even tries to discourage her from doing the duet with him. The two of them together were honestly perfect in my opinion, and I even enjoyed Weston’s friends – especially with them teasing Weston about liking Anna before he admitted it.
What I didn’t care much for in this book was the band information, only because I was never a band student and a lot of the information just went over my head. I do appreciate music, and wish I had seriously taken up an instrument as a child/teen, so I didn’t hate the band stuff… I just didn’t get it. What I really didn’t like was how judgmental Anna’s parents were, especially toward Weston. Sure, they came around and gave him a chance, but as adults they should’ve known that rumors are only rumors until proven true.
I will not give anything away, though you can probably assume from the book synopsis that something happens, and I spent the entire book waiting for it to happen. I honestly don’t think it was necessary and it was unfair to the characters, but obviously the author thought differently. I have to respect that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Overall, this was a good read. It was quick, cute, and heartbreaking – in other words, a must-read for YA romance lovers… and probably band/music lovers too.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars