Magan: Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker

book cover of wildflower by alecia whitaker

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker (twitter | website)
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 320
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: strong sibling relationships, female country singer, singer-songwriter
Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!)

Summary: Discovered in a small honky-tonk bar on the evening her father cannot lead their family band, Bird is quickly pulled into the singer/songwriter world. Her brothers, Dylan and Jacob, work through feelings of jealousy and abandonment, while her parents try to keep Bird grounded and safe. Bird works through all her feelings as she jots down ideas for songs about the boy, Adam, she’s been pining for over many miles on the road with the Barrett Family Band.

In the midst of a family crisis, Bird’s family manages to survive by clinging to music; they each choose an instrument, and eventually the Barrett Family Band is formed because they become so passionate about playing. They ditch the traditional brick and mortar lifestyle and travel around the country living in an RV — mom, dad, Jacob, Dylan, and Bird. In addition to the covers they play, Bird is a writer and occasionally they incorporate her songs into their set list. One fateful evening, Bird’s dad, Judd, is too ill to sing and lead the band so he asks Bird to step up and do so. Despite her initial nerves, she delivers a brilliant performance that attracts the attention of a big-name label, thus beginning the whirlwind experience of being signed and finding peace after feeling she’s abandoned her family band.

Bird is a typical sixteen-year-old-girl with a unique name and affinity for playing the fiddle. She’s close to her parents and siblings thanks to living in such close proximity to them in the RV; they’re her supporters and best friends. But that doesn’t mean they easily accept the big things that start to happen for Bird and they feel like their lives are set aside. And that doesn’t mean that when she starts to feel like she’s got a career she’s always accepting of the decisions her parents make on her behalf (because she feels she should be given some say-so). It does mean, however, that she’s got a pretty serious crush on a boy, Adam, who is a solo act they frequently see on the road (and oh, one of her brother’s best friends).

That she just so happens to have written a song about.

Bird is linked to a big songwriter, Shannon, who helps her learn how to better craft her songs into hits; Shannon’s daughter, Stella, quickly becomes one of Bird’s closest friends and was one of my favorite aspects of Wildflower. While Bird’s home life seemed very strong, I enjoyed the development of these friendships that were separate of her family. They demonstrated how Bird was a bright girl with a blossoming career, but showed how she was a young girl who needed her best friend’s help responding back to text messages from Adam or someone to complain to when her new career became overwhelming. (Because God forbid she complain at home and her family think she didn’t want the success or opportunity.)

Whitaker nailed the flow and pacing. My only complaint: I just wanted more. (Estelle even helped me search for news about a follow-up book.) The ending felt a little abrupt; there were a few situations with her record label and Adam that I felt were left hanging in limbo. Bird seemed to be working through a lot of emotions and trying to find her footing right before the book ended. Open-ended stories don’t bother me, but Bird seemed almost able to grasp where her career could take her and I wanted to experience that with her, as well as a bit of resolution. Wildflower cured my Nashville hangover (I’m addicted to the show — anyone else?) with every Bluebird, record label, honky-tonk reference. I flew through the pages and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of Bird’s whirlwind rise to fame.

But my one request: Alecia, I need more!

♥

Update: BEST NEWS EVER:

alecia whitaker confirms wildflower seriesrather be reading worth it iconAdd Wildflower to Goodreads | Buy from Barnes & Noble | Buy on Amazon

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Sweet Summertime Reads: The Yearbook

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Welcome back for another Sweet Summertime Reads post. As summer winds down, stores fill up with huge school supplies displays that make us yearn for the days we’d be doing our school shopping and prepping for our first days of school. So this week, Ginger, Tara, and the two of us are focusing on going back to school. Estelle and I thought we’d celebrate the new school year with some of our favorite books and aspects of going back to school.

making new friends.

winger by andrew smith and the reece malcolm list by amy spalding

Winger by Andrew Smith: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Goodreads | Amazon | Estelle’s Review

M: In my tiny little town, there wasn’t a lot of people turnover. Friends from year to year pretty much stayed the same and since my school included Pre-K through 12th grade, there was no changing campuses and fretting over who I would meet. New people were scarce. Maybe that’s why I get nostalgic when I read about YA characters venturing into new schools. It seems like such an opportunity — a fresh start. However, it also seems frightening and kind of scary! I loved how Ryan Dean was taken completely out of his comfort zone by having to live with guys he had preconceived notions about. Definitely changed his perspective and life. Read Winger, y’all!

E: My town wasn’t really THAT tiny, and I don’t remember every starting a school year thinking “oh yay! I can’t wait to make new friends!” Probably because I just couldn’t wait to see my old ones. In high school it was a little different when we were able to choose our own electives (creative writing, journalism) and started to get paired up with different people in our class. (I graduated with 742.) I remember making some special friends in those classes just like Devan was trying to / starting to make with some of the theatre kids at her school.

new clothes.

going vintage by lindsey leavitt and queen of kentucky

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review
The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker : Goodreads | Amazon

M: Clothes shopping was something that was a favorite, favorite part of my going back to school experience. I would plan out my outfits for weeks. We didn’t shop at the nicest stores or have tons of money to splurge on tons of new things, but I was really excited about the experience. I love, love, loved going with my mom. If only my taste was an ounce as awesome as Mallory’s in Going Vintage. I wasn’t nearly that brave or cool.

E: The best part of back to school was definitely buying new fall clothes, and then picking out what I would wear the first day back. So so exciting. (As I got older, I did stop wearing the dresses and tried to be cooler by wearing jeans.) Queen of Kentucky is such a great book in general because it deals with fitting in with a new group of kids but also maintaining who you are. Ricki Jo is a hilarious main character and she has some fun makeover moments that I loved experiencing with her!

after school activities + clubs.

BOOKS FOCUSED ON AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND CLUBS

Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss: Goodreads | Amazon
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell: Goodreads | Amazon | Magan’s Review | Themed Gift Pack

E: I’ve talked about it on here plenty of times, but I was a band geek. I was a majorette (twirled a baton) but I went to band camp, had practice after school every day, went to every single high school football game (home and away), and performed at other events too. It was like a full-time commitment, and I loved the friends that came along with it. But there was drama and a lot of romance and a lot of gossip, and Band Geek Love gets that so so right.

M: Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe made me really wish my school had it’s own little radio show. I desperately wished I could have been spending time with the mismatched crew after school trying to save the radio from being cut off. Despite not having that experience, I could visualize every moment of it.

sports + athletics.

dairy queen by Catherine Gilbert Merdoch and Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch: Goodreads | Amazon
Dare You To by Katie McGarry: Goodreads | Amazon | Estelle’s Review

M: Dairy Queen is my current audiobook read and oh. my. gosh am I loving it. DJ is so full of personality and my, oh, my does it make me want to do another rewatch of Friday Night Lights. The football rivalry runs so deep in DQ. DJ knows her stuff and definitely knows how to stand up for herself, even around pig-headed football players. This is one book that definitely had me more alert than listening to music as I drove to photograph a wedding.

E: I used to play softball in a league not related to school, but I did play with a few classmates and we always invited our teachers to come to our games. (Such suck ups, we were.) My high school “team” was really the marching band (see above and YES it is a sport) but when I’m reading books now of kids this age playing sports, I really wish I would have had the guts to play for the softball team. Ryan in Dare You To was an amazing baseball player and so motivated to make it big. I loved seeing that side of his character.

« »

Did you see the awesome kindergarten and high school photos Ginger shared in her back to school post?

Make sure you check out Tara’s blog later this week for her back to school post, too! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

Tell us what your favorite back-to-school book recommendations would be…

Estelle: Shelve It (5/27/2012)

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishersEvery time my turn rolls around, I can’t believe how fast two weeks have flown by!

This week, we jumpstarted a book event with Ginger from GReads and Tara from Fiction Folio called Sweet Summertime Reads, where we will all be sharing our favorite reads, songs, and a few surprises along the way!

So this week’s Shelve It is going to be a little different.

summertime books for people to read

Since I’m going to be away next week, I thought I would show you what books I was planning to take on my trip.

> Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker (Goodreads | Amazon)
> Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker (Goodreads | Amazon)
> In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Goodreads |  Amazon)
> Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols (Goodreads | Amazon)
> Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Goodreads | Amazon)
> Pizza, Love and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (Goodreads | Amazon)
> Four Decades of Magic: A Collection of Essays (Goodreads | Amazon)

On the blog this week:

> Magan uncovers some exciting June 2012 Young Adult Releases!
> What if your world totally changed because of a YouTube video? Check out my review of Awkward by Marni Bates.
>  Disappointed by a book and so affected, she couldn’t get into the next book for quite awhile. Magan’s honest review of Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson.
> A great meme from Broke & Bookish featuring 10 OTHER blogs we visit during the day.
> Rediscovering Louis Sachar, an old favorite with a review of The Cardturner.

HUGE REMINDER to enter Ginger’s Jennifer Echols giveaway over at GReads as part of the Sweet Summertime Reads event!

Hope you have a great Sunday! We’ll see you around this week! 🙂