Monday, 16 April 2012

Review: Paradise by Jill. S Alexander



Title: Paradise 
Author: Jill S. Alexander 
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends 
Publication date: July 5th 2011 
My rating: 4 stars




Covers can be so deceiving at times; in the last few weeks I have come across several gorgeous covers, but the story hasn’t been worthwhile at all. I had my doubts when picking up Paradise, thinking it may be some light easy going read full with sexual banter, but the saying never judge a book by its cover could never have been more true than for this book.

Paisley has wanted to be a drummer for as long as she can remember, she’s always busting out beats on anything her hands can find, always carries her drumsticks everywhere and when she gets a chance on the drums, it’s easy to see that she is one talented drummer. It’s their band the Waylon Slider’s band dream to make it to Texapalooza; an amateur band contest where big scouts come and watch. However first they need to find a singer and practice, practice practice. The only thing that is holding Paisley back is her mother, she isn’t aware that Paisley has been playing in a band, especially in a band with Waylon (the band leader). Paisley’s mother has never really gotten along with Waylon’s family. But also Paisleys mum wants much more for her daughters, she doesn’t want them stuck with a kid by graduation, stuck with a dead end job and no career like she was. She wants them to go for the best opportunities in life and grab them with both hands. So Paisley's dream of becoming a drummer and Lacey her sister’s dream of becoming a beautician, they have to try and achieve in secret.

Paradise was such a gut wrenching story; about having dreams but not being able to grasp them because there’s always something or someone holding you back. Gabe/Paradise was the only real character whose mere presence made such an impact on the other characters around him; he gave Paisley the confidence to believe in herself, make her want to stand up to her mother and reach for her dreams; helped Waylon break out of his shell; a shell which he was smothered with because of his talented families expectations, and so he always he expected himself to fail. Paradise encouraged the group to go forward, to actually believe they had a chance at Texapalooza. Paradise was such a talented lovable character, he easily brought a smile to my face, he had such a huge impact on me on an emotional level; had me bawling like a baby and just broke my heart.

I really enjoy music themed books, sometimes it’s hard to find the balance; a book which focuses on the music aspect and brings out a story strongly too, Paradise does just that; the detail in which Alexander goes into the practice sessions I felt like I was actually there with the bass pumping and the drums pounding a steady beat, the atmosphere at times was electric, I was so caught up in the moment, it really got me in the mood for a music concert.

“When Waylon turned the song over to him, Paradise growled out Waylon’s lyrics in his velvety bass. The more he sang, the more his voice melted with the whining guitars, the more the deep drum tones seemed to sink like an anchor in a dark sea”

The music theme was matched well with all the characters battling with their own problems, and the music; practising with the band being their only means of output of coping with it all. One of my favourite parts of this book was the lyrics we got to the songs in between the chapters, they had an essence of yearning, they were raw and just so heartfelt.

"We’re heading back home, but it won’t be the same
Me and my boys, only a mention of your name   
It would’ve have been sweet to have you along
But when he took your hand, I knew you were gone
Some place away from the crowd and the noise
I should tell you I love care, but I can’t find the voice
So this is how I do
Six strings and a heart for you."

Paradise was a tender, poignant novel which definitely over-whelmed me in so many ways. I’m actually kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.

22 comments:

  1. Lovely review, Jasprit. I enjoy YA books with a musical theme as well, when done well of course, so I have added this to my to-read list!

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    1. Yay! I really hope you like it! I adore music themed books but it's hard to find one that works well. I'm glad to say this totally worked for me!

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  2. Great review, Jasprit! I've been waiting for your review of this, so glad you enjoyed it. I'll be picking this up really soon! :))

    Anyway, I'm having a giveaway of That Wedding on my blog. Check it out if you like, :))

    Eunice @ Book Overdose

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  3. Ooh! Sounds like a good one :) I enjoy music themed books, too. Thanks for the review! I just might have to check this one out.

    Misa
    The Magic Attic Book Blog

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  4. Ooh!! Jasprit now I'm even more excited to start this book. It sounds frigging awesome and I'm dying for a good contemp read. Great review hun! Donna xoxo

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    1. Thanks Donna, I can't wait to see how you get on!

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  5. I LOVE music, but you're right when you say it's hard to find a balance. I'm glad to hear it was well done in this book! Awesome review, Jasprit. I don't think I have come across this book before but it sounds like a worthwhile read. And yay for finally reading something you enjoyed after all those disappointing ones! :)

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  6. I haven't heard of this book before but it sounds AWESOME! I'm definitely adding this to my TBR!

    Awesome review, Jasprit! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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  7. Ohh, I'm so glad you finally found something you enjoyed! Lisa is all about music themed books these days too, between you and her, I think I have more than enough recommendations.
    I would never expect this one to be heart-wrenching based on the cover alone. It's good to know that it's not just another emotionally undemanding story.
    Great review, Jasprit.

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  8. I've been interested in this book for a while now. Sounds good! Great review!

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  9. Great review today Jasprit! It's funny, but even though I love music and pairing music with books...I mostly don't like books about music/bands. This one sounds like it has more depth than some though. The lyrics that you quoted up there are great, and they also sound realistically young.

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    1. Really? I thought you would have liked them as you're so good at matching you're music to your books too! I don't think I could match any music to this book, my feelings were all over the place! The lyrics are awesome in this book, they matched the mood and scene of the book so well.

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  10. I had to doublecheck to make sure I had the right blog, because what! A 4 star review from Jasprit?! I'm so glad your streak of less-than-awesome books is over!

    Lyrics in books have a way of annoying me, but the passages you quoted actually sound really nice. :) Sounds like it was a great read, and I'm glad it put a smile on your face!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thanks Wendy, this book kind of surprised me too! I'm so glad to finally be out of my disappointing slump read too! :)

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  11. A heart wrenching music themed book, sounds promising. I hear you about getting lured in by beautiful covers, glad you found a good one. I have to admit, I am curious about a drummer named Paisley now.

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  12. Wow, what a stunning and thorough review Jasprit! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading it:) I'm always disappointed when I pick up a book with a gorgeous cover and the story doesn't quite match, but I'm glad this book the opposite is true - the fairly straightforward cover doesn't do the emotionally intense story justice:) Definitely going to check this one out now!

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    1. Thanks Jenny! That means so much, as I always think your reviews rock! I really hope you like it too! :)

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  13. YES! I completely agree -- there are so many gorgeous covers out there nowadays that pull me in for an enticing story only to fall a little flat haha... so I'm actually really glad that this book wasn't one of them! :) I've always had a soft spot for books that have anything to do with music (along with books that can make my heart break with their sweetness), so this is ANOTHER amazing-sounding contemp that you're adding to my list! I kind of love you for it! x)

    Beautiful review, Jasprit! :) <3

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    1. Thanks Mimi, I'm glad I could add another book to your pile! you should see mine after all your reviews I've read! :)

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  14. Lovely review, Jasprit! Finally one that isn't a dud. I do like the cover on this one. Thankfully it doesn't come under "cover fraud" I hate that. :)

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  15. I liked but didn't love Jill Alexander's first book, The Sweetheart of Prosper County, but this sounds even better. It reminds me a tiny bit of A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, which I LOVED. Great review, Jasprit! :)

    -Maggie

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    1. Thanks Maggie, I've had A Little Wanting Song sitting on my shelf for ages, I loved Graffiti Moon, so I really should get around to it! :)

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