Author: Kevin Emerson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Length: 320 pages
Catherine 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.
Protagonist: Summer Carlson is a band managing whiz kid, unfortunately the only band she had been managing, fired her after signing an exclusive contract with a record label, to make matters worse her boyfriend and leader of the band she was managing dumped her and she found out he cheated on her a number of times during their relationship. Honestly, I was a bit annoyed by Summer's character, she is constantly jealous and insecure about nearly everything in her life, and that's usually when I had to remind myself that she kind of has a good reason to feel jealous and insecure, but given how some of the other aspects of this book were presented it was still more annoying than realistic.
Romance: This aspect really disappointed me, Caleb and Summer's relationship was kind of a joke. Not that it isn't real or that it was in anyway a tease. No, in fact not too long after meeting these two are already pretty seriously committed, it's not really insta-love either, it's sort of a mix between a pre-established relationship and an insta-love. The thing that people who enjoy romance in their YA books love is the origin story of it all, and while it can be annoying to have that whole will they won't they aspect, especially when we all know they will, taking it away or skipping over it entirely gives a new respect to really seeing a couple's romantic and sexually chemistry flourish. However, these characters had zero chemistry and their only dramatic moments were focused around Summer's insecurities.
World-Building; In this book the teens go to this really cool PopArts school that helps them become better musicians, talent scouts, managers, etc. It's really cool and it got it's start after a band Allegiance to North stated in an interview that the assistant principal of their school let them use empty classrooms after school to practice. Anyway, Summer goes to this school and is looking for new talent to manage, then she stumbles across Caleb Daniels, who's recently had a large bombshell dropped on him, and she gets an idea to form a new band. The best part about this world was the secrets and twists hidden throughout the book. More specifically the secrets surrounding Allegiance's three lost tracks. Overall the world-building was pretty solid and was one of the main reasons that I kept going.
Predictability: So for the most part this book has a pretty well written aspect of predictability. There were quite a few times that I was genuinely surprised how something happened or when something was revealed. Though I do have to say that there was a bit too much foreshadowing where one of this book's biggest secrets and twists was concerned and while I didn't get it at first it became all too easy to see after a small piece of crucial information was revealed.
Ending: This was one of the weirdest ending's I've ever read, or more accurately in this case listened to. I was listening to the audio book for Exile thinking there was still at least a half hour left in the story to find out that it was almost over. Then when it ended I was confused on whether the author was going for a plateaued ending like most first books in series have, or if he was trying to pull off a cliffhanger, because to be honest he kind of fails on both fronts. The "cliffhanger' ending didn't have enough gravity and shock to it to work, and the plateaued ending left too many questions up in the air. Regardless I'll still be interested to see what happens in the sequel.
So I don't know if I hyped this up too much in my mind or if this book really was bland. I do know that Summer more often than not gets on my nerves with her jealousy, and there's no real chemistry between her and Caleb which dragged this book down for me. However I'm still going to continue with the series for a few reasons, one, to see if I enjoy the sequel better, and two to find out more about those unreleased songs.