by Brenna Ehrlich
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Published by All Ages Press
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Punk was created for the malcontents, something that loner and aspiring drummer Hallie understands all too well. Trapped in a boring suburban life – dysfunctional parents included! – Hallie drowns her angst in the angry songs of Haze, a masked musician who has not been heard from in five years. So naturally she’s surprised – and more than a little skeptical – when someone who seems to be Haze starts flirting with her via her favorite photo-sharing app. Is he who he says he is? What does he want from her? The questions only multiply when Hallie — along with bandmate Sarah and aspiring music journalist Steve — roadtrip to Haze's comeback gig to unmask the reclusive musician once and for all.
I first heard about Placid Girl when I received a publicist review request. Initially I didn't accept the request even though it sounded like kind of book I would LOVE. I'd committed to too many reviews lately and I'd read a lot of books about musicians. (I have a weakness for them.) It was after I read some high praise blurbs and a few more promotional posts for Placid Girl, and that oh so tempting Read Now option on Netgalley that I decided to read it. I figured that I'd get to it when I got to it. Well, I got to it sooner that I expected and realized that I shouldn't have been so blasé about it, because it is a really compelling story. It was humorous and mysterious, and it taps into the complexities of social media and celebrity worship.
This book had me from the opening scene where Hallie is in a state of terror from stage fright. While the story and the characters hooked me, no doubt about it, I have to admit, it took a while to get used to the writing style. I can't pinpoint why it seemed different, but I would notice that I'd reread a few passages over to grasp the rhythm and get into the flow. Eventually I became used to the style and wasn't distracted from the story.
I loved reading about Hallie and discovering the different facets of her personality. She's a badass drummer with enviable talent, who loves her place behind the drum kit, but not necessarily on stage. She is confident when playing the drums, but she has many doubts in most all other aspects of her life. She's not always the best of a friend to Sarah, and you don't immediately know why. They have some stuff that they need to work out, but her current stance is to avoid conflict, which, of course, builds tension between them and puts even more strain on their friendship.
What I loved:
- How the story portrays the connection of music and emotion, and sometimes, obsession
- The song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter
- Hallie's explanation of a crush and how, for her, it's more about admiration and wanting to be the person than actually being with the person
- A perfectly timed pun
- Hallie as she begins to empathize with other people (through her new friendship with Steve). Her obsession with Haze makes her very narrow-sighted creating a tunnel vision and she doesn't always realized what is going on around her. More often though, she obsesses over Haze so she doesn't have to deal with the heavy stuff going on in her life.
- Creepy moments that kept me guessing - there are too many of these (not really, I loved them)
Some favorite quotes:
Early on in the book:
" . . . every time I sit down to write lyrics I feel like a liar. Like I don't know anything about living at all so who the hell am I to make some kind of grand statement about it that people can also dance to?"
Near the end of the book:
"We're too young to look this sad. We should try to do all this living five years from now when we're ready."
The second quote is very telling. The characters go through a lot and in just a few days she's changed and feel like she's aged. (She got the experience, "living", she was looking for in the previous quote.)
More favorite quotes:
"My use of innuendo is painfully obvious. I blame my chronic virginity."
"It's funny what a little dirt will do to your image."
"But you don't need me to tell you who you are. You know it."
I highlighted a bunch more quotes throuhout, but these are my favorite.
Placid Girl will entertain readers and keep them on edge until the very end. Anyone who loves music deep in their soul will see a piece of themselves in Hallie. I know I did. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more books by Brenna Ehrlich.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Quotes used are from the e-ARC and may differ from the final published version. Thoughts and opinions are my own.