Tuesday, July 08, 2014
REVIEW: Out of Tune by Beth Reekles
Out of Tune is the story of Ashley Bennett, a high school junior, who has everything going for her: she's smart, popular and has a wonderful boyfriend. But then a new family moves in next door to her and with their arrival, Ashley begins to see some of the cracks in her perfect life. With the help of Todd, the boy next door, she begins to realise that she can't talk to her friends about many things, her boyfriend keeps pressuring her to have sex and that Ashley desperately misses her ex-best friend who stopped being her friend once Ashley started dating her boyfriend.
I thought Todd was a cute character and a nice love interest and best friend for Ashley. I like that he's bookish and shy and that there's an obvious awkwardness to him that makes him seem standoffish and aloof in the beginning. He at least does have other extracurricular hobbies as he plays the guitar and writes his own songs. I liked the inclusion of some of Todd's song-writing and some of the initial tension between Ashley and Todd is pretty cute. The fact that they are next door neighbours is used well throughout the story with their windows facing each other. Aww.
Like I said, I thought this book was very cute and sweet. I thought that sometimes the development of the secondary characters wasn't very strong and I don't believe that Ashley's parents were very believable in the things they said or did, but overall, I really enjoyed the story. I do like how much the story revolves around Ashley making changes in her life and having a bit of a realisation that some things just aren't working or making her feel happy any more. I would have liked Ashley to be a little less passive in her own life and for her to rely less on Todd's observations and use some of her own agency to make things happen. I'd really like for her to have joined a club or taken up a hobby or something so that this book (and by extension, Ashley's life) has a bit more substance to it as opposed to everything in Ashley's life hinging on her relationship with a boy, but that is just a minor quibble I had with this book.
While I did want slightly more from Ashley's character and for there to be more in the way of story away from her romantic life, I did really enjoy Out of Tune and read it fairly quickly. It's a nice, light read perfect summer-time reading for fans of contemporary YA love stories...