As a New York City girl, I didn’t exactly grow up on Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. But every now and again, I read a great YA book that makes me wish I had. Whether it’s the southern atmosphere and accents, the passion for the music, or just the adorable cowboy boots, these four titles could make any city dweller go more than a little mad for country:
Somebody Everybody Listens To, by Suzanne Supplee
Retta Lee Jones is a country star in the making, and everybody in her small town of Starling, Tennessee, knows it. All she has to do is get herself to Nashville and make her dreams come true. But it isn’t easy when she’s got no money, her parents’ marriage is falling apart, she hits mishap after mishap, and an unexpected critic makes her question whether her talent of mimicking the greats is really a talent at all. Filled with country flavor and fun facts about stars who hit it big, this is definitely a pick for seasoned fans, and great for younger YA readers.
Dirty Little Secret, by Jennifer Echols
One of my favorite prolific writers of contemporary YA returns with a book about a talented fiddle player with perfect pitch, who’s been overshadowed by the little sister who hit it big. While Bailey finds her own way to be happy in the music business, joining a band along with the hot guy she meets at one of her paid impersonator-style mall gigs, keeping the secret of her family’s success and agenda is its own misery. A fun, sexy read that takes a look at the instruments behind country music rather than the vocals.
Wildflower, by Alecia Whitaker
As with her debut, The Queen of Kentucky, Whitaker’s provided a cute, sweet read, great for younger readers, with a delightful and unexpected focus on family. This is the first in a series on Bird’s rise to stardom from family-band member to solo artist, and country-loving kids will definitely enjoy the journey.
Open Road Summer, by Emery Lord
Reagan needs a little space from her life, and what better way to get it than by accompanying her country music–star BFF on a domestic tour and finding a little love with the dreamy Matt Finch along the way? Open Road Summer has been billed as Taylor Swift meets Sarah Dessen, and it’s the perfect description for this music-tinged road trip featuring one of the best friendships YA has to offer.
What’s your favorite read for music fans?