Series: Kylie Ryans #1
Published by Independent on May 22nd 2013
After Kylie's dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy step-mother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true. Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he's pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.
Girl with Guitar was one of those books I probably never would have found on my own. I tend to stay firmly in my YA/Dystopian/Fantasy bubble and only stray out to New Adult when I’m given a book to review or when somebody Jessica “persuades” me (trust me it doesn’t take much) to try something different. One weekend I was minding my own business on Twitter (I’m pretty shy and retiring you see…) when I found myself in one of the most entertaining, fun read-alongs with Jessica, Sheri, Trish, CeCe, Chelsea and Wendy. (Click on their names to read their amazing reviews)
Girls with Books was born and Girl with Guitar as our inaugural book leant its name to our group! It’s been mayhem ever since!
I knew from page one that Girl with Guitar was going to give me THE FEELS. As Kylie talks to her dad in the prologue I felt my heart being plucked like the strings on her guitar and I knew I was onto a good thing. I’ve grown up in a musical household, my dad’s played in Nashville and Memphis and played bass guitar for country legends even sharing the same stage as Johnny Cash on UK tours so Country Music has a special place in my heart.
Girl with Guitar is about Kylie Ryans, a small town girl (living in a lonely world…) who’s down and out, kicked out by her evil stepmom, orphaned, with only a guitar and a dream, she heads to Nashville as countless others have to make it big. Landing a job in a bar with a famous open mike night, she stumbles onto her dream life when performing one night she catches the eye of country music bad boy Trace Corbin and his team and finds herself on tour – living the dream…or maybe the nightmare.
I loved Kylie and Trace. From the moment the two lock eyes and perform on stage the chemistry is electric, sizzling enough to blow an amplifier. Kylie is no shrinking violet despite her soft southern manners, she knows what she wants and won’t hesitate to demand it. Trace Corbin might be the big man on tour but Kylie won’t take any crap. At times I was surprised just how forward she was considering that she was just the support act but it was clear from the beginning she was the medicine Trace needed to ease his assholery (it’s a word). Kylie was such a compelling character, never willing to stand down from what she believed in, always looking out for others and paying her dues, she recognises straight off that dreams don’t come easy and if you take your eye off the prize (both man and the music) someone is there to step in and take your place.
I adored Trace. He divided opinions amongst our group but I connected with him immediately. He reminded me of Avery Barclay from the TV show Nashville, drowning in a sea of his own self-importance, it takes more than a few knocks to for him gain some sense but slowly as the shields are shattered by Kylie’s love and kindness we see a different side to him. Particularly as we learn about his family and the reasons he keeps himself so closely guarded.
The cast of supporting characters are brilliant from Pauly and Rae to Claire-Ann and Tonya and are so well realised that you can’t help but care for them.
The real star of the book though is the music, it’s a pleasure to admit that as you read the lyrics and scenes where Kylie and Trace perform, there’s an ease to which you can imagine what they sound like which is a testament to Caisey’s writing that it can be enacted both visually and audibly so well.
It’s a book that could very easily stray in cliché-land but Quinn balances the story well without resorting to melodrama. This may be a story about country music but there’s no fear that if you read it backwards you’ll get your wife back, your house back, your cat back…what you don’t have that joke? 😉
Girl with Guitar is a story filled with emotion, sass, charm and a tour-bus full of chemistry. I was hooked from start to finish and cannot wait for Girl on Tour to see what Kylie and Trace get up to next!