“I just don’t want you ever to think that I’m not going to find you.”
Sophie has always loved her small town life, her four best friends, her marching band. But when her marching band is chosen to march in the Rose Parade in LA, she has to find a way to fund this trip. In the middle of the night, she sends an e-mail to Megan Pleasant, asking if this local and super famous country singer will come back to her home town to sing a charity concert to fundraise the trip – even though she has sworn never to return. But there’s also a new guy in town, who seems to have just as many secrets as Megan Pleasant.
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I’ve been a fan of Emma Mills books ever since I got hold of This Adventure Ends almost a year ago, and I was reeeeally looking forward to Famous in a Small Town! And it was definitely as great as I’d hoped it’d be!
First of all I need to mention how funny this book is – like laugh out loud funny. And also the way in which it’s funny that it feels so recognizable for my generation. It’s a specific kind of humor that I can’t really explain but I don’t often see in books and I love it when I do.
There’s less action in Famous in a Small Town than in Mills’ other books, so if that’s something that’s going to bother you maybe this isn’t the one for you, but I loved how it gave more spotlight to the characters and their relationships with each other. Because I do think these characters are the best from all her books, they’re so sparkly and life like and all of them so unique with their own voices and quirks. It becomes such a beautiful portrait of these people and their lives, and especially their relationships.
I especially loved how these five people (plus the new guy) have known each other for almost their entire lives and it’s so visible in the way they fight and make up and have long standing inside jokes. Often books center around new friendships, and I love to see longterm friend squads. I especially loved that while there was a distinctive group dynamic, all of these friends also had special relationships with each other, certain habits and tradition only two of them shared and such. Like they were a tight group, but they also had their individual relationships with each other and those were shown in such a subtle way. It’s so realistic, because no friendships are the same and especially groups are so complex, and Emma Mills writes this really well.
I also really loved the story, too, it’s quiet, yes, but it feels so powerful. There were two moments I totally did not see coming and I was completely surprised with the ‘revelations’ (as they’re not really plot twists in the traditional sense). The story lulls you to sleep and then comes the INFORMATION (by lack of other word)! It was really surprising, but I won’t say anything else on it!
It’s a bit of a quiet book, but it’s so full of these people and their daily lives, their histories and their emotions, their super funny inside jokes that make you want to be part of their circle. A really lovely and comforting book that I’ll love rereading again and again.
Content warnings (may contain spoilers): a shitty suicide joke by a shitty character (but it’s made clear it’s shitty), death