Size Doesn’t Matter (111): The Sound of Us; A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

Size Doesn’t Matter (111): The Sound of Us; A Tragic Kind of WonderfulThe Sound of Us by Ashley Poston
Series: Radio Hearts #1
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on December 19, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 221
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

America's favorite pop band, Roman Holiday, is done, dead, and so totally last year. For eighteen-year-old rockoholic Junie Baltimore, this is music to her ears. But when she discovers their sexy ex-lead singer hiding out on the boardwalk, her summer vacation becomes the cover story of the year.

She's willing to keep him a secret, but when a sleazy paparazzo offers her the cash she needs to save the bar her father left behind, could she sell out for the chance to save her future? Who is she kidding? That's a no-brainer...but she never planned on falling head over heels for the lead singer.

Ash Poston’s been on my radar increasingly, as I’ve been told by Dahlia that Geekerella is SUCH a Christina book. I picked up the second Radio Hearts book off of NetGalley a while back, because I have autoapproval and it has a pretty cover. Then I picked up The Sound of Us in a sale. Unfortunately, I’m not that impressed with Poston’s debut. I think it could have been pretty good, but a lack of editing was the kiss of death.

Honestly, I’m pretty offended that Bloomsbury’s Spark imprint felt this was worth selling. It’s frankly embarrassing how poorly this book is edited, considering that it first came out in 2010 and was picked up by Bloomsbury in 2013. It’s safe to say that, if editing was done, it was only of the spellcheck variety, meaning that there are lots of instances where wrong words are substituted. For example, miniature golf is referred to repeatedly as “put-put” and there’s a reference to “Robert Downy Jr.” There are so many more, and I thought about listing them all out (and may later on Goodreads if I’m feeling motivated). It’s a damn shame, because the whole reason I don’t read many self-pubs is because I want books that have been edited; I expected better out of the Bloomsbury name.

Aside from the atrocious lack of editing, The Sound of Us is just okay. I’m a sucker for celebrity romances, but this one never got me in the feels space. It was oddly hard for me to picture the characters, and the banter was not on point. Again, I think some editing could have made this shine, but here we are. I do appreciate that Roman was actually getting a bit pudgy, since he hadn’t been living the rock star life for about a year. You don’t generally see the hero losing his tone, so that was cool. I also like Junie’s dedication to her father’s bar and the focus on her grief. I just wish I bought into Junie and Roman having a future.

I’ll still be reading We Own the Night and Geekerella, but I’m less excited. And I really fucking hope Bloomsbury Spark edited book two.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


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

Size Doesn’t Matter (111): The Sound of Us; A Tragic Kind of WonderfulA Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
Published by Poppy on February 7, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

In the vein of It's Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places, comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm's length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel's compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst--that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she's been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

In A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, Eric Lindstrom, author of the critically acclaimed Not If I See You First, examines the fear that keeps us from exposing our true selves, and the courage it takes to be loved for who we really are.

Lindstrom’s debut novel was one of my top reads last year, and there was no doubt that I would be reading his sophomore novel. There’s a lot to appreciate here, but A Tragic Kind of Wonderful didn’t capture me the same way.

One thing I admire a whole lot is that Eric Lindstrom’s novels both have first person female protagonists. I don’t see too many men writing books from the POV of a heroine in a contemporary novel with a romance element, so that’s pretty cool. More to the point, he does it very well.

Mel’s voice is nice. Though the book itself is quite sad, with way more lows than highs tonally, Mel herself has a good sense of humor and will get into a banter with the people who will let her. She has bipolar disorder, and people who know, like her mother, treat her with kid gloves. It’s one of those things where you try to so hard to help that it can actually cause more problems. The whole focus of the book is on bipolar disorder, on therapy and meds. There’s a romance, a friendship plot line, and some family stuff, but it’s predominantly focused on mental health.

A surprisingly delightful element of the book was Mel’s job at the old folks’ home. It’s cool how much she loves it and how good she is at it. There are a lot of YA books about teens who are passionate about “cool” stuff, so it was awesome how much Mel genuinely loved her work there. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t get frustrated or struggle some days. Mel has such a great personality and she’s so good to others, and her work really highlights that.

As much as I want to adore Mel and David’s relationship, there just wasn’t enough time spent on this element. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful‘s very short, and basically everyone’s character development takes a back seat to getting all the mental health stuff in. I’d have loved if this book were a bit longer, so I could actually care about Connor, Zumi, Holly, and Declan. It’s actually a bit hard to know why Holly and Declan were in the book because they were such nonentities, despite being her best friends. David gets a bit more development, and I do like their interracial romance; they get a nice banter going when they do have scenes together. It just could have been really shippy, and it was only minorly so.

I definitely recommend A Tragic Kind of Wonderful if you’re looking for mental health YA, particularly bipolar disorder. This would make a nice companion to When We Collided, which takes on the MPDG trope and has an external POV of a girl with manic depression. I’d have loved more depth to the characters here, but still worth a read.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (111): The Sound of Us; A Tragic Kind of Wonderful”

  1. Sounds like A Tragic Kind of Wonderful has a massive amount of characters but that’s a shame that not enough time was spent on them. I can understand the decision to spend more detailing the mental health aspect though. I adore the cover… I’ll have to give this one a shot when I need something in this vein.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…2016 End of Year Book SurveyMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      A Tragic Kind of Wonderful does have a large cast for how slim it is. She has two friend groups and all of the people at the old folks’ home and her family. Some of the secondary characters pop (mostly the old folks), but it’s just too many to actually develop them all. The only ones that are straight up cardboard are her current friends (as opposed to the old friends she’s reconnecting with). It’s a good book. You should definitely give it a go!

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