Sara’s Review: Exile by Kevin Emerson


If you want a contemporary YA that rocks, mixed with a dash of mystery, romance, and great music, you need look no further than Exile by Kevin Emerson.

Exile KCEmersonCatherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.

Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.

Exile is the first book in a fun, perky, and oh-so-captivating new series. A major detour from Emerson’s last YA series (The Atlanteans), Exile is 100% contemporary, set in modern day Los Angeles, featuring no magic or supernatural elements. But the book ROCKS – in more ways than one. Steeped in fictional rock ‘n’ roll history, it’s easy to see how Emerson was inspired by the real rock history of the Seattle area (where he lives). Exile features a fun, musical mystery for the characters to solve — all while facing their own dilemmas: family, college, futures, romance, friendships.

Exile is steeped in the issues teen readers will relate to (and adult readers will remember from their own adolescence), but becomes much more than just a coming of age story when blended with the musical mystery the characters must unravel.

Exile is just plain fun to read. It’s fast-paced, fun and upbeat, while still tackling serious issues. The book itself is only enhanced by the fact that Emerson teamed up with some band mates to actually bring to life three of the songs featured in the book. I loved every minute I spent reading Exile, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the sequel. It’s so rare to find a YA series of books that are contemporary — but Emerson has clearly proven it can be done, and done well.

Exile is in stores now.

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