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Rock n Soul by Lauren Sattersby
Anticipated release date: January 18, 2016
So, there I was, looking for books to read, and because I’m some kind of idiot, I again picked a book that deals with things I’m not especially keen about. Don’t like ghost stories of any type. I don’t particularly like reading about musicians. And drug use or rehab or anything related is basically a no‐no for me. So I’m really not sure why I thought it was a good idea to read a book that deals with all three.
Maybe it’s because it seemed like it was going to be a pretty light read. The story starts with Tyler, a bellboy who’s stuck in a rut, does the same thing day in and day out, and has an awful girlfriend. Things get more interesting, though, when rock star Chris overdoses and dies at the hotel where Tyler works. Tyler’s a bit freaked out about it but it doesn’t faze him too much‐ until he realizes that Chris’s ghost is haunting him. And things get even more complicated when Tyler and Chris, who are stuck together on a journey to complete Chris’s unfinished business, realize they really, really like being together.
And the book does start off pretty light, aside from Chris, you know, dying. Honestly, for a long time, I was just reading along, not really sure at all where the book was going. I wondered for a while if it would actually be a romance at all, or if there was another plot about to burst out of nowhere… I just wasn’t sure because the story kind of rambles. But I kept reading because it was, although a bit uncertain, really, well, entertaining. The writing isn’t anything particularly lovely, but it’s memorable and smooth and it just draws you in. You don’t know where the book’s going, but you don’t want to put it down, either.
I started to get to know the characters a bit more, too‐ they’re written well. I wish Tyler was a bit more… something. He feels, at times, like the nice‐guy backdrop for Chris. But I did like his inner voice (the book is in first person with Tyler as the narrator.) And Chris I just loved. I didn’t realize it for a while‐ like a lot of things in the book, Chris kind of sneaks up on you. But he’s a complex character with a lot more depth than I originally assumed‐ well‐written, in that I, as a reader, felt I got to know him and grew to love him along with Tyler.
So I’m merrily reading along, enjoying the book but not really feeling attached to it, let’s say, and then at about three quarters of the way through, everything finally slots into place. Suddenly I wasn’t just reading, I was Deeply Invested. Nothing noticeably changes about the writing, the characters don’t suddenly sprout different personalities or anything, but the puzzle pieces just fit together and you can see the story come together as a whole. You can feel what the characters feel. It’s lovely.
It’s so lovely, in fact, that I read most of the rest of the book through a haze of tears. I mean, it really, really got to me.
I’m not saying the book was perfect‐ like I said, it does ramble quite a bit, and there were some things throughout that made me a bit uncomfortable. The way Chris and Tyler talk about being bisexual, for example‐ nothing exactly wrong with it, but I just… it was done a bit oddly. And the way rock stars were portrayed was, honestly, not bad at all‐ one of the better versions I’ve read‐ but there were a few things that made me raise my eyebrows. And the tarot. Okay, I’ll let this one slide because I’m going to say everyone reads tarot differently, but… So there were just a bunch of little things that, in a lesser book, could have piled up and made me uncomfortable enough to dislike the whole thing, I think. But here, they weren’t overpowering.
And the drug use and the ghost elements, the two other things I was worried about, were handled really well. Chris is a junkie and his habit kills him, but the actual drug use and the reasons behind it were looked at carefully, without getting preachy, from both sides, and I appreciated that. And the ghost stuff…
The thing is, I have very firm ideas about ghosts and death in stories. I don’t think that death should be ignored‐ if you’re dead, you’re dead, and it’s a natural part of life. (Unless you OD on a hotel floor‐ then it’s not so natural, but it’s still death, and death should still be respected.) But at the same time, Tyler and Chris were falling in love. So I really wanted two conflicting outcomes. And I don’t want to say too much here about it (no spoilers) but the resolution was done really, really well. It wasn’t what I expected, at all. But it was gorgeous.
So I started this book and read most of it thinking it was basically decent and entertaining but not much else. And I ended it a soppy mess, thinking it was so lovely and so sweet and just absolutely wonderful. And I still think that‐ it took a while to get there, but I absolutely adored this book.
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