Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.
But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.
Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.
I don’t think I’d been waiting so impatiently for a book than I was for this book. I mean sure, I anticipate new releases within an active series a lot, but this book was really special. It had such an interesting synopsis that pulled me in immediately, it came from a publisher that I support and believe in, and honestly it’s written by a debut author who couldn’t be more of a gem. Everything about You’d Be Mine was screaming “perfect for me.” And it was. I always remember a time where I was so against reading contemporary and past me was a fool because contemporary is fantastic. Not only did this book put a smile on my face and give me the warm and fuzzies but it reminded me how amazing YA contemporary is and why this genre deserves all the love and respect. I expected it to be good, but it still managed to surprise me and show me that this book is better than I expected. Erin Hahn created such a lovely, magical book that anyone is guaranteed to fall in love with.
- The thing that really drove this story, for me, was the characters. We have our two protagonists, Annie and Clay, who are both dealing with a great loss and both have their fair share of baggage. Annie is the daughter of country music royalty while Clay is the latest big name in country music, both with the talent and charisma to back up their fame. But what’s interesting is to see how both characters go through the same kind of traumatic experience, both dealing with grief and loss, and are on totally different sides of the spectrum. Clay suppressed his grief and consciously chose not to acknowledge it or deal with it, while Annie did experience her grief but moved past it rather than letting the situation, and her parents, define her. I liked how this topic made both characters look and how it shows that everyone deals with grief and pain and loss in such different ways. You can let it define you or you can let it consume you, you can become stronger or you can fall apart. That’s not to say that Annie didn’t have her demons because she did. But I liked how she chose to deal with it and chose not to let it get to her all the time. With Clay, you could see how everything that happened in his life just kept building on top of everything to the point where it was suffocating him. I kind of came into this thinking he’d simply be the sour country bad boy who wasn’t all too happy of some girl coming in and stealing his spotlight but Hahn proved me wrong and showed me how deep his character ran. But he had all the classic bad boy tropes that made my heart just pitter patter and I loved everything about the development he went through and would gladly stick with him through all the highs and lows. Annie was such a great female character and I borderline bow at her feet. She comes off as being so down to earth, even though she already has a huge familial reputation, but she does everything in her career because she wants to. Not for her parents, not for the fame, not for anything. I loved seeing these two characters leading a great YA contemporary and I’d love to see more like them. I also want to give a quick shout out to the side characters who barely felt like side characters and again, I think that’s another spotlight on Hahn’s talent. Both Annie’s and Clay’s bandmates and friends felt so important and integral to the story that I don’t think it would’ve been the same without them. And, because I’m greedy, I’d love books about all of them please and thanks.
- Am I a country music fan? No, not in the slightest. The only country I’ll listen to is my boy Hunter Hayes because he’s such a talented little bean. But this book and the lyrics that Hahn wrote really made me wish I could listen to these songs. Some of them sounded like they’d be a fun time to bop along to and other songs just got me right in the feels. I never really paid attention to book lyrics before, mainly because they didn’t really matter that much, but I paid the most attention here and I’m so glad that I did. It not only showed me how well Hahn understood her characters and what they were going through so that they could write these lyrics, but it showed me that Hahn is actually a great songwriter in her own right. I constantly see on Twitter how proud she is of her lyrics and wishes they could be real and I do too. She has every right to love her lyrics and feel pride in them because they are some of the best (fake) songs I’ve ever heard. Or, well, read.
- In the past, when I’ve experienced characters who are both dealing with the same kind of issues and baggage and a complicated romance sparks between them, I’m not really into it or happy about it. But I really like what Hahn did with Annie and Clay and how their baggage wasn’t what got in the way of their romance. If anything, I think it was what brought them closer together, which is what you’d expect to see happen. I think because they both understood what the other was going through, though maybe it was more Annie than Clay for majority of the book, it was what allowed them to sympathize and talk to each other and really see who the other person is. And I liked seeing how Clay actively tried to change his attitude and his life to not only be better for Annie but for himself, and that’s what gets me every time. They both got problems, yeah, but even though they both expected to be each other’s downfall it was never in the cards. They’re too damn cute for that.
- I wanna talk about Erin Hahn for a second because who she is as a person, not just an author, makes this book that much better and more special. Way back in September, I had an assignment for a class where I had to go to an event in Toronto and interview an author or someone in the industry and write something on it. I couldn’t go to that event so my teacher said I can contact someone who writes a genre I like. I saw someone on my feed promoting a giveaway of this book and I was like “hey, maybe this author will talk to me.” And she did! And she was so kind about it! I sent her about 20 questions to answer and she gave me such great answers that I really got to see who she was as a person. She’s a gem, really. There was no reason for her to agree to doing this for me, since it was just a school assignment and not for any kind of marketing or Big Deal promotion, but she did. I will always remember how Erin Hahn took time out of her day, where I’m sure she was so busy, to help me with this assignment. That alone can make her a favourite author of mine and this book solidified it.
- This book is too short! I want so much more! It’s funny because when we were doing a sales conference assignment for a class, we pitched a 350+ page book and one of the panelists thought it was too long for YA, which I thought was crazy. And this one is JUST under 300 and, in my opinion, is way too short. To me, a nice solid YA book is 350; that’s the sweet spot. Who thought that was too long for YA is wrong. I feel like this could’ve been longer and we could’ve seen even more of the romance between Annie and Clay and if it was just 50 pages longer, it’d be perfect.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Obviously if you love YA contemporary this is a must read. But it’s more than your typical YA contemporary and deals with real issues and doesn’t shy of diving deep. I am so glad I had that assignment all those months ago, even if I hated it, because I don’t think I would’ve been so excited for this book and had such a great time reading it. Erin Hahn is a gem of a person and an amazing author and I’m so happy that her debut novel was this great. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us but if it’s more books like this then we’re in good hands.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: You’d Be Mine
Author: Erin Hahn
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Until next time,
What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!