Title: Life in a Nowhere Town (Sing Out #1)
Author: Hanna Dare
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 27th, 2016
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Page Count: 124
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
First kiss, first heartbreak, first love, first time… but not necessarily in that order.
The hit reality show, Singing Sensation, promises to make its winners big stars – but all Conor Gillis wants is to get out of his small town. It’s not the sort of place where a quiet, eighteen-year-old who loves the Beatles and playing guitar can expect to fit in.
Conor’s also pretty sure he’s the only gay person in town.
Well, except for one other person…
Derek Folsom is the kind of bad influence parents warn you about. He’s tough, rough, and always looking for a fight. He’s the last person anyone would suspect of being gay, in fact he’s likely to punch anyone who does suspect it. So why is he suddenly so interested in Conor?
Conor’s pinning all his hopes on auditioning for a TV show. It’s his only chance to realize his dreams, and escape all of these confusing feelings. But will he be able to find his voice… and his true self?
When I requested to review this book, I wasn’t aware that it was part of a series. That there would be a sequel, which is why one of my main points was going to be for Ms. Dare to write one, because I wanted to know more, and because I felt this story was too short to end there.
“I’m Conor Gillis,” he said, and then added, “I’m from the exact middle of nowhere.”
“All of nowhere got together. Measurements were made, calculations, and my town was put dead centre. It’s the town motto. We’re very proud.
A story about a teenager who is closeted/a virgin/a musician/in a small town where being different isn’t something you broadcast. And someone who’s just dealt with the passing of their mother.
How Conor finds the courage to sign up for Singing Sensation and opens himself wide up to the world.
Rejection. Failure. Inadequacy. They come with the terrain, and allowing yourself the risk of feeling them – that takes courage.
Which is why I have respect for this boy who tries to go after his dreams, and get out, despite the possible ramifications.
This was something to focus on, something besides the panicky feeling of being trapped that he got when he thought about the rest of the summer, the start of the school year, and his entire life. Also, there was the disquieting feeling in his belly that he’d somehow caught the attention of Derek Folsom, and that was not going to be good in any way.
This story is also about family, friendship and coming to terms with oneself.
In the end, I felt Conor was truly lucky to be surrounded by the people he has on his side. Not everyone, of which Tristan is but one example, has that chance.
I didn’t really get the attraction between Conor and Derek though.
It’s obvious when Derek approaches Conor where this is going to go. And when it goes. It goes.
But, why did Derek approach Conor of all people? Just because Conor is the only gay person around?
That’s kind of what it felt like when those two were together.
That circumstance put them together, nothing more than that.
His attitude towards Conor, his mood swings, his hot-and-cold push and pull. It frustrated me.
It would have helped, therefore, if we actually knew what was going on in his head. If there was a dual POV going through this book.
Don’t get me wrong when I say this that I don’t feel for him. We get to know him, to a certain extent, and we do understand (again, to a certain extent) where he’s coming from. The reality of being from a broken home, stuck in a town you are likely not getting out of and then above all of that having a reputation that can’t afford the “gay” label. I get it. Bully’s got a heart (maybe…?), and there’s a reason he is the way he is. But, how it all translated into going after Conor is what I find confusing. Not that Conor’s not great, because he is, but what made Derek do what he does – real time? I’m curious, but confused.
Then again. This story’s about Conor, so although the romance aspect is a bit iffy for me, I still quite enjoyed the book.
What I do have a serious issue with regarding this book was its errors. Throughout my read, at random moments I’d come across an error. Whether it was a sentence structure thing (a word in the wrong place), a missing word or even the tense used… It halted my read. Annoyed me, and made me wonder whether an editor had even gone through it.
The first instance was practically on the first page, and it already raised my hackles for the rest of the book. In total, there would probably be around 10 errors, and I suppose not every book is perfect – error free – but they made me halt, and temporarily lose focus on what I was reading.
All in all, I would recommend reading this because it’s likeable enough and I’m really looking forward to the sequel, but I truly hope I won’t come across the same editing issue as I did here.