Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar – a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.
Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World.
Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet – and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything.
Will Emmett and Luke be able get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song?
Title: A Little Bit Country
Author: Brian D. Kennedy
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
I wanted to love this book so bad (I mean, just look at the cover) and I thought it was perfectly mediocre.
I liked that we had two guys from seemingly two different worlds. One, a wannabe musician who’s nice and sweet, from a good supportive family, and openly gay. Another, a wannabe chef, who’s poor, and stressed, a bit grumpy, and closeted gay.
Both guys were nice, but I didn’t feel like there was anything special about either. They were both perfectly mediocre.
This book was a little more “real” than I thought it would be. Most of the problems felt like they came from Luke, who was really put through the ringer in this book. He had a lot of family issues that put a strain on things with Emmett and his work and other relationships. Emmett was also going through things, but they felt like nothing in comparison.
Also, the ending felt not quite unresolved, but not completely tied up either. Unless I missed it, what happened to Vanessa? We’re just gonna leave things like that? And we’re just gonna skip what happened with Luke’s family and act like it’s all cool now. Things just wrapped up more realistically and seriously than I’d hoped. I don’t need realism in romances. Give me all the fake yet good vibes.
Overall, a fine book but I wouldn’t reread it and it won’t be the first book that comes to mind when recommending LGBT YA novels.