A review copy was provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.
One of the best feelings in the world is discovering a new band that you absolutely click with. There’s nothing like finding that new sound and just diving into their discography. For me, most of my music recommendations come from much more hip friends, but for the first time I have a brand-new playlist from just reading a book. More Than Maybe is an ode to good music – the characters send it to one another, hang out in a dive bar music venue, and one of the leads was raised by an ex punk rocker. Music emanates from the absolute soul of this book and I’m happy to say that not only is the book phenomenal, but you’ll get a very, very good playlist out of it.
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?
Right off the bat it doesn’t take long to get into this book – the plot picks up pretty much right away. This quick pace is maintained throughout the whole book – there were no slow parts and that made the plot very immersive. I had never read a book by Erin Hahn before and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect stylistically, but I was very pleased with her writing and her style. She uses some writing cliché devices such as showing characters text messages to one another, but she never overuses those them. She also used alternating points of view, which really helped me get to know both of the lead characters and understand what music really meant to each of them. For example, I don’t think I would have understood Luke if I hadn’t had his POV; he probably would have come off as the ungrateful child of a famous rocker.
A make or break part of every book is the characters – and in More Than Maybe the characters were top notch. Even the ones that you just despised at times (i.e. Vada’s dad) – were all thoughtfully put together and helped move the story forward in their own ways. Even Luke’s father, who was trying to pressure Luke into pursuing music (when Luke had been very clear that he did not want to perform), was a great addition to this book. He made me feel outraged on the behalf of Luke, but he still redeemed himself and became a character that was likable by the end. Characters who can drive this kind of emotional reaction in a reader are some of my favorite characters. I also really appreciate the amount of detail and attention that went into the side characters – they were all crucial to the story, had their own plots going on, and had great interpersonal relationships. I love when a romance also features strong friendships between characters – it’s more realistic and makes the main characters feel more well-rounded and secure in their personal lives.
Let’s get down to the biggest question anyone has when they’re considering reading a rom-com – how cute were the main characters together? I can happily tell you this is one of the cutest YA romances I’ve read this year. Luke and Vada initially connect on a musical level – Luke is closeted music composer and Vada is obsessed with the idea of pursuing musical journalism as a career. Their relationship begins as they start sending songs back and forth to one another and it doesn’t take long before their sparks start flying. Their chemistry only grows through the book and even during points of conflict it’s clear how strong their relationship and compatibility are. If you really want to enhance the experience of reading this book, I’d highly recommend listening to the songs that they’re referencing in their text messages. It gives you more context as to what they’re actually saying to each other as they tend to send songs in lieu of actual messages during emotional moments.
More Than Maybe is itself a love song to the power of music. Every track referenced is well thought out and listening to them as you read will hugely enhance your experience (listen to the playlist here). Its sweet romance, strong characters, and fun plot really come together to deliver a great YA romance. I know I’ll be circling back and reading Erin Hahn’s first book as soon as possible – I can’t wait to read what she writes next. If you enjoyed this book you might also enjoy Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell or Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. 5/5