(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Teen on June 7th 2016
Genres: Love & Romance, Music, Performing Arts, Young Adult
Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.
She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot, equally geeky drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.But when someone starts reporting singers who break conduct rules, music camp turns survival of the fittest, and people are getting kicked out. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her first real chance at something more—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.
Singing is serious business, you guys. When I received this book from Entangled Teen via NetGalley, I expected the serious. I anticipated young hopefuls vying for one of seven scholarships to study opera for four years of college. The competition, the stress, and the friendships formed by understanding and commonplace was expected. However, I did not expect it to be so funny. This book had me laughing and smiling, and the narrator, Kiki, kept things interesting. The idea of young opera singers already had a certain je ne sais quoi, spice it up with a Netflix, Twitter obsessed introvert, and it’s golden.
Tullia Cicero—pronounced with a hard C, like the Greeks—“Kiki” Nichols never finished anything but a Planet Earth binge on Netflix. Piano lessons? Quit. Guitar lessons? Quit. Maker of dollhouse furniture? You guessed it—she quit that, too. She couldn’t find her niche, and I loved her for it. That’s the thing about finding your place, once you find it, awesome. Until then, you go around wondering, “What the heck am I doing with my life?” Whether your still in that place or have found your way, you can relate to her.
Opera was Kiki’s fallback, the thing that she could easily love doing because she loved music. Except, getting into opera camp was a way for her to get away from her ex-best friend and crush-stealer, Beth. Six weeks of hard work, singing that made her want to pull her hair out, and an existential crisis thrown in there from time to time, and Kiki came into her own. I liked watching her grow as a person but not lose the Kiki that made me laugh out loud and smile. The Twitter conversations at the beginning of each chapter added to the story and almost acted like another character. With frizzy hair, a unique sense of style, and unabashed fangirling, try not to love her.
It’s not camp if there’s not a summer fling, right? There’s something fascinating about summer love, and camp love is so inevitable and cliché that it’s bound to happen even at opera camp. It’s no wonder that Kiki fell for a guy that she had a musical connection to, and I loved her Nutty Bar guy. I liked figuring out his name, his place, and all the stuff in between (though I’m not sure I ever learned his last name?). I honestly didn’t expect all the twists and turns their relationship had, and while I loved it, there better be a sequel. I need more Nutty Bar guy, or Jack, if you prefer to call him by his actual moniker, because that ending just didn’t leave me satisfied—it left me hungry for more.
Maybe the sequel will be about Kiki’s first year in college? I sure hope so. A character as full of life and as real as her needs more to their story. I’m so glad that this book exceeded my expectations, and I kind of wish Planet Earth was a real show because it’s totally something I would watch. This book should make it to you must-read list of this summer. Nothing screams summer like German opera and awkward first kisses—like I said, laugh-out-loud funny.