I have told you on numerous occasion how much I love and adore Emma Mills. I think she writes the best YA contemporary out there and her books totally made me fall back in love with the genre. I have read all of her books (there are 4 but still) and I have loved every single one of them to bits. I have reviews for the first three books HERE and now I am going to tell you how her latest one ruined my life. In the best way possible.
Famous in a Small Town follows Sophie, who is in her high school’s marching band and she is desperately trying to raise money for the band to go to a Parade, all while navigating her senior year with her best friends and a closed-off new boy in her small town.
Emma Mills excels at writing great, amazing friend groups. All of the characters in here felt fleshed out and like they stood on their own. And the friendships they shared are just superbly done. I love how Sophie’s relationship with her friends was portrayed, both in a group and also separately. I feel like she and Brit had this AMAZING bond and while they weren’t perfect and they fought, they are just ride or die friends and I saw so much of my own friendships and my own friends in this book. I think the way Emma Mills writes female friendships, especially teenage ones is superb and something I have never seen done this well before.
And on top of the great friendships, we also get so many lovely characters. Brit is a bisexual icon, I absolutely love her, and how prickly and cynical she is and how that contrasts Sophie and her outlook on life. I loved Dash, I loved Terrance, I ADORED Flora and I also really enjoyed August. There wasn’t a character in here that wasn’t done justice and I just, I really loved that. A lot.
Also, Emma Mills doesn’t write perfect relationships or perfect friendships. She gets it. People make mistakes, they hurt each other and she doesn’t shy away from that. I just loved everything about this friend group.
I have an issue with YA books not portraying teenagers realistically or making them exaggerated, almost caricature-like figures. Emma Mills does not do that. She writes teenagers so well and so realistically, from the way they speak to the way they interact to the way they text and behave. She gets it and she transfers it to paper so well. I think that’s why all of her characters are so amazing because they feel like real people, like real kids and books that do that will always be on my favorites list.
The plot was also really engaging. I loved the addition of country music and this small town star that doesn’t want to come back to it. It was super fun and engaging and added a quirky, light-hearted note to the story. On top of that, the book had great pacing and it really kept me involved at all times. I read it in one sitting which speaks volumes about it.
This was one of Emma Mills’ more serious books. All of her books explore more serious topics, for sure, but this one felt like it went the furthest and really broke my heart a couple of times. But I think grief and guilt and anger were written so well in here and there’s a scene in here that made me literally choke up and gave me goosebumps like no other book before.
If you want to read a book with fantastic characters, the best friendships and with realistic portrayals of teenagers – please pick this up. It’s gonna be one of my favorite books of the year. It’s fantastic.
Final verdict: 5 stars
I hope you enjoyed the review and I would love to hear from you – do you like Emma Mills? Any other YA contemporaries you would recommend? Let me know!
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