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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: Paradise by Jill Alexander


Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town. 

Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas.

With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true. 

Paradise is the story of a small-town country rock band. It conjures up images of pasture parties, country-fried cooking, sweet summer nights and Southern romance. For Paisley, the band's drummer, Texaspalooza could be just what she's been waiting for- a one way ticket to country super stardom. But when she develops a romance with the group's fiery lead singer, Paisley must decide if what she wants is really what she needs.

Okay, I must admit, I was a little worried about taking on a book like this. I don't gravitate toward "realistic fiction" very much. If it doesn't have supernatural creatures, it's usually not on my radar. But I wanted to branch out and try something new. It took me a chapter or two to get hooked on Paradise, but then before I knew it, I was completely caught up in Paisley's life- her highs were my highs and her lows were my lows. I loved Paisley. Being a city girl myself, Jill Alexander's Paradise opened up a completely different world for me. The way the characters spoke, their manner of dress and even the things they did for entertainment- it all had a laid-back kind of charm that immediately captured my interest. There are creative song lyrics interspersed between the chapters which also helped to capture the mood of certain events transpiring in the book at that particular moment. I thought this was a nice touch as well.

 I enjoy music like most everyone but I don't live and breathe it.  The characters in Paradise did though and once I got to know them, I felt their passion. Moved by the music, I wanted to pick up Paisley's drumsticks and play along with the band, caught up in the magic of a perfect set.  I even found myself googling Vallento accordion style music. (Who knew accordion playing could be cool, or better yet--sexy?!).  But the characterization in Paradise is what really stood out to me, It was thoughtful and full of emotion. Paisley's long-suffering sister Lacey, her well-meaning but overbearing mother and amiable father all captured my heart. I felt like I knew them intimately. I understood why her mother was the way she was and why her sister was afraid to do anything about it. The way the family evolved and eventually became stronger was meaningful for me as well. I loved Paisley's character most of all, but I know I fell a little bit in love with Gabe too.

Be prepared to walk away from Paradise wiping away a few tears. The ending is incredibly shocking and unexpected.  I can't say I'm thrilled with how Jill Alexander ended the book, but it definitely left an emotional punch that I thought about for days.  And shouldn't a good book do just that?

Jill S. Alexander 

Jill S. Alexander is the author of The Sweetheart of Prosper County. A Texas native, she taught high school English and Spanish before turning to writing full-time. She lives in Tyler, Texas, with her husband and son. You can visit her on the Web at www.jillsalexander.com.

1 comment:

Jess (Gone with the Words) said...

Yup, I definitely cried at the end of this book. I loved that it affected me and stayed with me after I finished it. Great review!