Series Review: Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker

I received this book for free from Won in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Series Review: Wildflower by Alecia WhitakerWildflower by Alecia Whitaker
Series: Wildflower #1
Published by Poppy on July 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
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Goodreads
three-half-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.

Wildflower has been sitting on my tbr pile since 2014 (whoops). There’s something so satisfying about knocking out these titles of shame. I’m actually a bit happy that I put this one off for so long, because I feel like I read it at the perfect time: when the country, my personal life, and my recent reads have been pretty dark. Wildflower is fluffy and happy to the max.

Reviewers have commented on the lack of depth to this book, and that’s certainly true. There’s not much tension, and Bird’s basically endlessly nice and thoughtful in this book. She occasionally says something rude, but then she immediately thinks better and apologizes for it. It’s kind of nice to read a fame book where the MC doesn’t immediately lose her head. Bird’s career definitely evolves impossibly smoothly but that’s also sort of what I signed up for, so I didn’t mind.

What I liked best about this book were the family dynamics. Bird and her family played in a band together, touring the country and living out of their RV…until Bird was discovered and signed as a solo artist. There’s a bit of tension here, but mostly the whole family is supportive and they all love each other so much. It’s rare to get really tight-knit families in YA, so I loved this a lot. This is where I got the most feels, as the romance between Bird and Adam didn’t do much for me.

If you’re looking for something that’s full of good feelings and family as an antidote to the darkness all around, Wildflower might hit the spot.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: Wildflower by Alecia WhitakerThe Road to You by Alecia Whitaker
Series: Wildflower #2
Published by Poppy on July 14, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Goodreads
three-stars

Bright lights…Screaming fans…Cute roadies…Bird Barrett has officially arrived.

Next up on the road to stardom, Bird’s heading out on tour. Between opening for one of the biggest acts in country music and meeting a passionate young photographer who’s working as part of the backstage crew, the weeks pass by in an exciting blur. It might even be enough to distract Bird from the way things ended (or never quite started) with Adam Dean.

When the tour wraps up, though, it’s back to reality. The label is eager for a new hit song, but the sudden fame—complete with a media-fueled rivalry with another up-and-coming starlet—has Bird questioning her priorities. Before she can pour her heart out into her music, she’ll need to figure out where it truly lies.

Filled with sweet country music spirit, Wildflower is a series you just can’t get out of your head.

Once again, I very much enjoyed Bird Barrett’s story, even somewhat in spite of myself. The Road to You has precisely the same problem as Wildflower: a lack of depth.

There’s not a whole lot to these books. The Road to You is where Bird hits her “low point,” which basically just means that she sometimes engages in some mean girl retaliation towards her rival singer and goes a bit too “Hollywood.” One of her dark moments is when she goes on a nine thousand dollar shopping spree, and everyone’s like “this just isn’t you.”

This book’s also a bit weaker because it loses some of the family focus, and that’s where this series does work for me: the Barrett family. Bird’s a bit more isolated here. I do like her struggle with the decision to fire her dad as her manager, though, again, the family works through it in this impressively healthy way; fights never last too long in this series.

The bulk of Bird’s emotional journey here is around her relationship with her first boyfriend, Kai. He works as a roadie for the tour she’s on, and they fall head over heels. However, he’s also totally toxic, not because he’s a bad guy but because they like and enjoy very different things. Bird struggles to write her second album, because he’s constantly trying to force her to sound like the anti-mainstream hipster stuff he’s into, and not like herself. It’s done with the subtlety of “You Think My Tractor’s Sexy,” but it is a good thing for teens (and adults) to read about all the small ways that relationships can be bad for you, even if the feelings are there and no one is a bad person.

Another quick read I couldn’t put down, but also lacking that oomph.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Wildflower by Alecia WhitakerThe Way Back Home by Alecia Whitaker
Series: Wildflower #3
Published by Poppy on July 19, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 327
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Music sensation Bird Barrett is hitting the road, headlining her first national tour after the launch of her second album. Singing to sold-out crowds can mess with a girl's sense of perspective though. Luckily Bird has her older brother Dylan and her best friend Stella along for the ride to keep her grounded.

When Dylan and Stella pair off as more than friends, Bird starts feeling left behind and throws herself completely into her performances, cover shoots, and high-profile interviews. But the more she tries to distract herself with her career, the further she pushes everyone away--including her longtime crush, Adam Dean, who joined the tour as her opener. Before long all the pressure becomes too much for Bird on her own.

In a life like this one, a country girl needs her family and friends--and maybe an old flame--most of all.

The final installment brings precisely what you would expect: the ship sailing and really everything sailing smoothly into the brilliant sunset.

The big conflict of The Way Back Home is that Bird’s best friend Stella gets together with her brother Dylan. Also, her feelings for Adam are back big time, and he’s opening for her (since conveniently her opener backed out at the very last minute and he’s just launching a single and debut album). Oh, and this one reporter wrote that Bird might not be the nicest human ever created, so that’s pretty traumatic for her. All the way through, Bird has the easiest, most convenient possible road to stardom and fame. Her relationships see minor tiffs and setbacks, but everything carries on just fine and barely changed.

Bird and her rival, whose name I’ve already forgotten, put their issues to bed and become tentative friends. This would be a really touching arc, if not for the fact that Bird basically saves her with her goodness and high-roadedness (totally a word). Of course her rival needs to go to rehab but Bird had one hangover and will never touch that devil alcohol again. Like, yeah, okay, we get it, Bird’s a saint.

The Adam/Bird romance is…nice. They’re both so aggressively nice and kind and loving. If it weren’t for the fact that both of them do actually love and support their family members and occasionally do stupid shit, I would hate them with the most fiery passion. Basically, they’d both be more interesting if they had more flaws, but they’re okay. They don’t light my fire though. Not one bit.

I still enjoyed reading The Way Back Home and, like the others, devoured it in one sitting. The series as a whole is very easy to read, but it doesn’t make a real impact, and I doubt it will be particularly memorable. It came to me at a time when I really wanted/needed the ultimate in fluff, so I very much am glad I found it now, but, despite the strength of Bird’s family’s characterization, the books are pretty weak. I probably liked them more than I should have, but eh.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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