ROMANCE

The Mixtape

Montlake. Jul. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781542018364. pap. $12.95. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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The roller-coaster relationship between a grief-stricken musician and a single mother forms the beating heart of this far-fetched but emotionally satisfying romance. Oliver Smith is spiraling downhill after the death of his twin brother and bandmate. Then he meets Emery, a single mother who is estranged from her parents and sister and is trying to raise her young daughter on her own. As the relationship between Oliver and Emery grows closer, tragedies from the past are uncovered, but together the pair begin to find the strength they need to move forward. The book has an extraneous subplot or two, but Cherry (The Gravity of Us) weaves a compelling tale with complex, likable main characters who bring out the best in each other. The only real flaw is a cartoonishly evil ex-girlfriend, but she appears infrequently enough that it doesn’t ruin the read.
VERDICT Some readers may balk at the wish fulfillment plot, where a favorite musician falls madly in love with his biggest fan; it feels a little over-the-top. However, romance readers who crave drama, trauma, and tears on the road to a happily-ever-after will devour this book.
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