“Southern charm oozes off the page”* of this sexy and poignant novel about family, friendships, and first romance—from Jaye Robin Brown, the critically acclaimed author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. It's Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere meets Sarah Dessen’s This Lullaby.
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends Friday nights hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. But when she learns about an audition at a prestigious arts school, Amber decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life.
Devon’s older brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out. The more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.
Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between right and wrong, there’s a whole world of possibilities.
Amber Vaughn one of three Ambers in her junior class has plenty of reasons for being good. She's "barely sixteen," her mother's a fundamentalist Baptist, and her "daddy has a thirty-aught-six rifle." But lately her parents have been distracted: her mother is worried about Amber's older sister, whose husband deals drugs, and Amber is sure that her father is having an affair. So no one notices when Amber hooks up with her best friend's brother, who happens to date one of the other Ambers. Debut author Brown makes a small town in North Carolina where everyone knows everyone, and the outside world comes in via Appalachian Trail hikers feel real, but the heart of the story is Amber, as she tries to find herself, love, and her voice (she's a talented singer, but is afraid of singing in front of crowds). Though the no-good brother-in-law and the snarky new boy in town distract from the music potential love interest Will may be a judge's son, but he plays a mean banjo Amber's persistence and down-to-earth narration carry the story through these melodramatic additions. Ages 14 up.