In the Band by Jean Haus

Published by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc

Format: Kindle

Reviewed: Judith

Guys: No secret but I’m a fan of movie stars falling in love with normal people books. Rock stars falling in love with normal people is a close second (cheating and bad writing aside, have you read Thoughtless by SC Stephens?! I mean girlfriend practically cornered the market on hotness with that one). So when Amazon decided to pull out all the stops and shove all the hot rock star studs playing in college bands books (slideshow style at that), how could I resist!? I think I bought around 5. Okay I might be exaggerating: it was closer to 13. But honestly, could you resist 1) musicians 2) in hot, tight designer clothing 3) in college and 4) dating normal girls? Didn’t think so.

Plot: Riley has hit a rough patch. Her parents are on the brink of divorce, her mom is sliding deeper and deeper into depression, her 8 year old sister needs a full time babysitter, and her full ride drumming scholarship is slipping further away every day. She finally comes to grips with her life and gives up her dream to drum for an out of state school, switching at the last minute to the local college in order to watch out for her mom and sister. When her best friend Marcus persuades her to try out for local ‘It’ band, Luminescent Juliet, Riley does it more out of curiosity than anything else. When she’s offered a spot grudgingly by the band’s leader, Romeo, she takes it since it lets her do what she loves–play the drums. As her home life spins out of control, her time with the band becomes her focal point even with all the verbal sparring she does with Romeo. Their tempers fly until finally the underlying attraction they have for each other comes to the front. Together they must hide the beginning of a relationship from the other band members while alone Riley must attempt to come to terms with her family falling apart. Will their love be able to stand up to the test?


I’m just going to lay it out there: the idea of the book is much better than the actuality. That said, this isn’t a bad book! It’s well written, the story is engaging, and Romeo seems like a broodingly sexy hero. But–and you know there is one–I just couldn’t fully connect with the characters. Maybe it was the first person present tense or all the teen lingo that sometimes didn’t make sense and only served the purpose to make me feel way too old or the somewhat stilted dialogue. I can’t pinpoint it exactly but I read this book, I just didn’t live it. Again, that doesn’t make it bad, it just means it was average and I had such high hopes that average just can’t fill. Let’s delve a little deeper!

Lead guitarist, Romeo, should have the words “DREAMY WUNDERKIND MUSICIAN STEREOTYPE” tattooed on his forehead. Luckily the author makes him so schmaltzy

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and unbelievable that that’s unnecessary. He spouts poetry at the drop of a hat, has the pre-requisite poem/song lyric tattooed on his side, is uber sexy, wears trendy clothes even though he’s from a blue collar single parent family, and is some sort of boy genius in addition to being a gifted musician who perfectly plays every and all the instruments ever crafted by man as a means of creating music. He sounds like he could be dreamy but come on, it’s too much! At one point, Riley sends him flowers and he keeps gushing on and on about how wonderful and thoughtful she is. PLEASE! If I ever sent hubby flowers, he’d be like, “why’d you waste money on these flowers? Are you cheating on me or something? Don’t you know that I’m a guy?!” And Riley seems to be equally stereotypical in that she’s a girl drummer who finds herself only passably cute but is actually gorgeous. She’s neurotic and obsessive about her family but that’s endearing and not at all weird for an 18 year old or anyone around her. She gives up a scholarship at her dream school so her mom who is gonna be dead broke after her divorce can have her support. Riley, I think mom would appreciate the monetary support of not having a free-loading 18 year old on her hands! I just didn’t believe a lot of the scenarios and found the characters way too over the top. It felt like I was getting the same info beaten into me time and again.

There’s some grammar and spelling mistakes but otherwise it’s really well written. There’s a lot of slang and teen speak which serves no purpose other than to prove that the book is indeed set in the world of an 18 year old. And probably to make me feel like an old lady (actually I’m sure that was the author’s intent cause I am feeling my age big time!).

Anyway, all in all, a solid read but no oomph! factor to give it higher marks.

So in the end, I’m giving this a: 8/10.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: I liked Riley. I really did. She was spunky, stuck to her guns, and obviously loves her family. My only real problem with her was…zzz…there’s nothing new about her character! We all know this character: she’s a fabulous musician, loves music and uh, her family, and doesn’t want to get involved with the nasty hottie in her band. So what does she do? Gets involved with him. SIGH!

How much did I like the love interest:10. We’re supposed to love Romeo! If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you. He’s dreamy, fashionable, a phenomenal musician, overly committed to his morals except with Riley…in short, he’s the swoonworthy BF we all wish had existed at 18 but just didn’t. Heck, he doesn’t even exist at 30!

How believable is the plot: 9. I find the fact that Riley gives up her dreams wholly believable. That she joins a band to fulfill her musical side and swoons/fights all over Romeo also wholly believable. It’s how easily everything falls together that I get stuck on.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. This is well written excepting some minor grammar and spelling flaws. The dialogue is tight and the pacing is great. The weird endings of chapters I could do without. Example (and this is totally me paraphrasing): “If only I had listened to reason…cause that was the last reasonable thing anyone said to me. In a long time.” So needlessly dramatic!

How much did I want to keep reading:9. We were left hanging about the actuality of Romeo and Riley’s relationship. It would have been nice to actually see it!

Final Score: 8/10. Get it for something well written and familiar but be prepared to know the end.

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