BOOKLIGHT: In the Band


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In the Band is a book in the New Adult genre.

Julie Bauer, Staff Writer

Jean Haus’ In the Band is a cute story of rock-star romance, as long as you’re not expecting too much out of it.

Eighteen-year-old Riley Middleton is torn. She abandoned the percussion scholarship of her dreams in order to stay at home and support her family, which is crumbling apart in the wake of divorce. To compromise, Riley becomes the drummer for college band Luminescent Juliet, which proves to be an escape from the responsibilities of her life.

In the Band is a piece of New Adult fiction, meaning that it is stuck between the Young Adult and Adult genres. ”

What Riley does not plan on is a romance with the band’s brooding guitarist, Romeo. As their relationship transforms from mutual dislike to attraction, Riley is faced with a decision—does she nurture this budding romance or does she abandon it for the sake of her mother, who is slowly slipping into depression?

The novel’s strongest point is its characterization of Riley. Part of this is, of course, that she is strong and tomboyish. But Riley’s ability to put her emotions aside in order to protect what she truly cares about is far more memorable. Her realism and sensibility sets her apart from other heroines in the genre.

Some merit can be given to the characterization of Romeo. He is, on the surface, dark and brooding. But those who he lets in find that he is actually a sweet guy with a troubled past. In other words, he’s just your typical swoon-worthy Young Adult love interest. Some readers love this trope while others are tired of it. To top it off, he is at times possessive of Riley—another trope that just needs to die.

Riley and Romeo’s romance is somewhere between “meh” and “compelling.” Luckily, they have enough chemistry that their attraction seems realistic.

In the Band is a piece of New Adult fiction, meaning that it is stuck between the Young Adult and Adult genres. New Adult fiction usually addresses more mature themes, where protagonists are typically college aged.

This brings us to one of the biggest reasons why I simply cannot take this book seriously—the writing. With quotes from Riley such as, “Romeo exudes sex” and “Sex drips off my table partner the entire time,” it becomes evident that the author does not know how teenagers talk and think about each other. The protagonist describes Romeo in this way just about every time they encounter each other in the first half of the novel.

Luckily for the reader, it’s silly and inoffensive in its incompetence. If you’re anything like me, you may even get a few chuckles out of this aspect of the novel.

In summation, readers who go into this novel with low expectations like I did will likely be pleasantly surprised. Though In the Band falls on its overuse of tropes, it picks itself up in its characterization of Riley.