Release date: July 1, 2014
Reading level: Young Adult
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
The best songs come from broken hearts.
Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.
Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?
In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.
Alecia Whitaker has written a heartfelt novel about family, music, and staying true to your roots. I requested this one on Netgalley because I was intrigued by the idea of reading about a rising country music star. What I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy this sophomore novel. While Wildflower wasn't perfect, it had heart and that's what I liked the most about it.
Bird Barrett and her family have spent the last ten years traveling in their RV, playing bluegrass together. The family dynamic was terrific in Wildflower and it was great to see how involved Bird's family was with each other. Things did get a little tense, though, when Bird gets a record deal and leaves the family performing group to take on the bright lights of Nashville.
All of the characters were very developed and while some of the industry people's names blurred together for me, I definitely enjoyed getting to know Bird's family and close friends- particularly Adam and Stella. While there was a romance, it wasn't in your face and wasn't the focus of the story. Bird's relationship with her best friend Stella played a more important role and it was a refreshing break from some of the romance infused contemporary reads I've encountered later.
The plot was very fast-paced, sometimes a little too much in my opinion. I would have liked to watch Bird's career grow more slowly, rather than seeing her go from unknown to celebrity status in a matter of chapters, but that was really one of the only flaws for me.
Bird was such a realistic and likable protagonist and I was sad when I turned the final page in her story. She was a normal teenager with an incredible talent and she never let it go to her head. I admired Bird for sticking up for what she believed in and for not getting sucked into the more corrupt side of the music industry. I only wish I knew more of what happens next for her!
Contemporary YA has definitely been a win for me lately and I am eager to check out more by Alecia Whitaker. I adored the southern charm and family vibe in Wildflower and am so glad I decided to check it out!