Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Release date: January 15, 2019
Summary: For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.
Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm's length. Sophie in particular.
Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm not sure I can coherently review Emma Mills's latest book. I loved it that much and my feelings are basically a mess of "asdfghjkl"-like words. But I'm going to try, for y'all's sake.
Sophie is similar to Gideon from Mills's last showing, Foolish Hearts. She's earnest, caring, and big-hearted. She wants all of her friends to succeed and be the best versions of themselves. August, though...he's a little harder to love. He puts up walls that even keep out readers, which was a little hard for me, but he works as a very human-like character. The one thing I really like about Emma Mills's books is that she rarely info-dumps. She presents these characters and lets us get to know them over the course of the story, instead of all at once at the beginning. My main creative writing prof would hate that, but honestly, I like it. It doesn't make the narrator unreliable; instead, it feels more natural, like you're getting to know new friends.
I loved how the plotline about Megan went. It doesn't fit into the cliche boxes that many YA contemporaries try to tick. It's imperfect but wonderful at the same time and feels more like real life than a Disney Channel Original Movie.
I did wish the relationships between Sophie and her parents were a bit better fleshed-out, but the moments with them are lovely, and I think it might've been hard to juggle that properly with the focus that is given to friendships, romance, and sister relationships.
One other tiny little thing I liked: the teens have such normal jobs? Babysitting, and working at grocery stores and fast food restaurants. And Sophie is thinking about college and things! Such normal reality.
Content warnings: Surprise death. Underage drinking and foul language. Speculation about an event being an attempted suicide.
The Verdict: There are only a few books I want to reread as soon as I've finished them. This is one of them.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Um, yes!!!