Summary (from the publisher):
Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.
Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
More Than Maybe solidified Erin Hahn as one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. This book is easily one of my favorite contemporaries of the year! It had everything I love in my YA contemporaries: personal growth, relationship development (aka romance), family, and friendship. More Than Maybe also stole my heart for its music inspiration and how well music was used in the plot and characters’ personalities.
Having enjoyed Erin Hahn’s debut novel, You’d Be Mine, last summer, I was really interested in More Than Maybe because its premise sounded like it also had music at its heart (which I can now confirm is true). More Than Maybe and You’d Be Mine have different moods. You’d Be Mine is definitely the darker of the two books. The two main protagonists/country music stars deal with the loss of their loved ones and various pressures and struggles. While More Than Maybe’s characters face come personal stuggles, mostly involving their confidence and family dynamics, it had such a lighter and absolutely swoon-worthy mood surrounding Vada and Luke’s relationship.
More Than Maybe is told from both Vada and Luke’s perspectives. I can happily report that I loved them both equally! The only time Luke enjoys being in the ‘spotlight’ is when he’s costarring on his podcast with his twin brother, Cullen. The son of a famous punk rock star, Luke loves music and song-writing, but hides away his singing and composition talent. Like Luke, Vada has a love for music no one can understand, especially her father, who refuses to help pay for Vada’s upcoming college tuition bill to study music journalism in California. Vada has a plan: become a night manager at her stepfather’s infamous Michicgan dive bar, go to college at Berkeley next year, and score a dream position at Rolling Stone. What’s not in her plan? Falling for Luke.
Luke and Vada have had crushes on each other for as long as they can remember, but are too afraid to act on it. Luke runs into some girl problems throughout the book, and as much as I loved this cute, musically-talented British boy, he is certainly not smooth, aka doesn’t know how to talk to girls. Although I just wanted to shove them together at times, I loved how they did have a spark from the get-go. I thought their development was well-placed. One of the earlier scenes, but nevertheless a favorite of mine, I especially loved was the diner scene after the silent disco with all of Luke and Vada’s steamy feelings. Throughout, their dialogue had such a great rhythm (no pun intended) and I was so happy with their ending & epilogue).
I basically loved everything in More Than Maybe, family, friendship, and character growth all included. Both Vada and Luke are contending with what they want in their future and how those decisions may affect their families. Vada struggles with having a relationship with her, let’s face it, jerk of a birth father, finding much more support with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend/owner of the club Vada works at, Phil. Phil just might be one of my favorite YA parental figures. He isn’t afraid to joke around with Vada (or be serious), and he was just so supportive. I also liked getting to explore Luke’s family life. Luke and his brother, Cullen, have a pretty solid brother relationship.Luke also happens to be best friends with Cullen’s boyfriend, Zack. Luke struggles to connect with his dad, who just doesn’t understand Luke’s refusal to perform in front of others. Erin Hahn allows her readers to really get inside Luke and Vada’s feelings and thoughts, understanding each character’s rationale.
And how could I talk about More Than Maybe without mentioning music? From Vada’s music blog to Luke’s song-writing to their text messages filled with songs to one another, music is at the turn at every page. It made me want to check out more of Amy Shark’s music – I love “Sink In” from the Love, Simon soundtrack. You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate More Than Maybe’s music moments, as it speaks to everyone and anyone’s love for music. I think my favorite musical aspect was actually Vada’s body movement dance class. As someone with no dance background aside from Zumba classes in college, I want to try them! There’s well-known and indie songs spread through More Than Maybe, but here are some personal favorites of mine that were mentioned:
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Carrie Underwood
“Dancing’s Not a Crime – Panic! At the Disco
“The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World
“Sweather Weather” – The Neighbourhood
“Sober Up” – AJR
I am not even exaggerating when I say that as soon as I finished reading More Than Maybe, I ran from my patio to my bookshelves upstairs and started rereading You’d Be Mine – okay, maybe there was a tweet or two in between, but you get the idea. I actually enjoyed You’d Be Mine more during this second reread! Don’t me wrong, I thought it was a great read my first time around, but while it does have its lighter moments, you have to be prepared for its darker or more serious moments (warnings for discussions surrounding suicide, loss of loved ones, drug abuse/use, and alcoholism).
Overall, More Than Maybe is hands-down one of my favorite books of 2020. I highly recommend getting your hands on this one (and You’d Be Mine!). Excuse me while I cry over having to wait for another Erin Hahn book.
More Than Maybe comes out on July 21, 2020.
This review is based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher. By no means did this affect my thoughts & opinions.
Is More Than Maybe on your TBR? Have you read You’d Be Mine? What are your favorite music-inspired books? Share in the comments!