I was very excited to receive a review copy of Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (out in paperback March 2 / Atria Books)! I'm a big fan of their books, and this was no exception.
Kate Hollis’s ex-boyfriend’s face plasters newsstands and TV, the Internet, and the multiplex. Jake Sharpe is one of the biggest recording stars on the planet, and every song he’s famous for is about Kate. For over a decade his soundtrack has chased her - from the gym to the supermarket, from the dentist’s office to the bars. Now thirty-year-old Kate gets the call that Jake has finally landed back in their Vermont hometown for an MTV special. The moment she has been waiting for has arrived.
On the eve of their prom, Jake Sharpe vanished, resurfacing when his song "Losing" - about his and Kate’s first sexual experience - shot to the top of the Billboard charts. And the hits kept coming, each more personal than the one before.
Now Kate gets her chance to confront Jake and reclaim her past. But after eleven years of enduring protracted and far-from-private heartbreak, everyone in Kate’s life has a stake in how this plays out. Kate must risk betraying the friends Jake abandoned, the bandmates whose songs he plundered, and her own parents, who fear this will dredge up a shared past more painful than any of them want to acknowledge. But after getting the call in the dead of night and jumping on a plane, can she turn back now?
Getting over your first love is hard enough. But hearing your first love sing about your relationship on his best-selling albums? Yikes! I couldn't blame Kate Hollis for wanting to confront her past.
Dedication has alternating chapters--the junior high/high school years giving the reader a glimpse into how Kate and Jake met and fell in love, as well as present-day chapters filling you in on what they're up to now.
I liked Kate. I thought she was a strong, interesting character. Sure, there were times where I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, shake her furiously, and yell, "Get over it!" But I understood her need to get closure on that heartbreaking time in her life.
Jake didn't seem worth all the fuss. He was narcissistic and inconsiderate. He made me take back every adolescent thought I ever had about dating my favorite popstars.
Luckily, Kate was surrounded by lovable characters that put her in her place, but loved and supported her when she needed it most. The friendship between Kate and her best friend Laura was sweet and fun. The dynamic between Kate and her parents was both bittersweet and inspiring.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It had a little bit of everything--love, friendship, a behind-the-scenes look at the music industry, and nostalgia (thanks to pop culture references from the '80s and '90s). Even better, it featured down-to-earth characters that I related to and cared about.
For more information, visit Emma and Nicola at: