Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review.
“You are my fucking world.”And he was mine.My lover, my friend, my beginnings, my ends. He was everything I wanted to have and everything I had thought I’d never witness again.
They were just sixteen when they first decided to do more than pass each other along the halls of their public high school. Neither Elliott Adams nor Jasmine Greene had a father growing up, but each one had a man that stepped in and stepped up. Elliott had a mother who loved him unconditionally and a sister who would have gone to the ends of the earth for him. Jasmine's mother did everything in her power to make her into a star--the same star that would bring to fruition the dreams that she forever lost when she got pregnant with Jasmine. The bullied boy with a love for jazz and the badgered girl with a passion for soul--theirs was a friendship that took even them by surprise, and it evolved into a love that would be challenged by distance and loss. Music brought them together once before; will music be the catalyst that will rekindle Eli and Jazz's love and restart their long dormant hearts?
Le sigh. Could this novel have been any better than it already was? Behind the Bars, which is the first in Brittainy C. Cherry's new Music Street series, knocked me off my feet and took my heart hostage. I'm still waiting for it to be returned to me, by the way. The author's Elements series remains one of my all-time favorites, and if this new series starter is anything to go on, maybe I should consider reserving a slot for the Music Street series on that list of mine. I'm addicted to angst and Behind the Bars has quite a bit of it, so consider me thoroughly sated. Eli and Jazz do not have the easiest of lives. As strong as their respective support systems may be, the obstacles that are thrown their way would have brought anyone to their knees, and as much as those closest to them could insist that they weren't alone and could overcome anything, in the end, Eli and Jazz needed to believe it for themselves.
My heart broke yet continued to hope for these main characters. They were both victims of bullying--Eli by his peers and Jazz by her own mother. Remember, bullying need not be physical for it to be considered so. But while Eli had his mother Laura and older sister Katie by his side, along with Theodore James (Eli's "uncle" TJ), Jasmine only had her pseudo stepfather, Ray Gable, a session musician who was more parent than Jasmine's mother. What they had to go through isn't anything new nor are they reserved for some imaginary, fictional world, and that's what makes it even more heartrending--that their journeys strike a familiar enough beat or tone to them, whether it be something we've seen in the news or heard from someone we know. So, empathizing with Elijah and Jasmine wasn't difficult. Parts of them were reflections of parts of me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that sentiment.
Led by Eli and Jazz, this novel had a highly memorable cast of characters, regardless if they were a villain or not. Aside from the peripheral characters I mentioned earlier, there were also Jazz's lecherous record producer and ambitious mother plus Eli's best friend Jason (whose last name I can't recall). Each one had a role to play, their words and actions setting certain events into motion. They've made this book a character-driven read, and the author didn't skimp on the development side, but then the same can be said for the actual story. Behind the Bars was about love and music, but it was also about letting go of the bad and embracing the good. It was about the importance of family and how family isn't always the one we're born into. This five-plus-starred book hit every note perfectly, never losing its rhythm while making my heart beat at its every whim. Consider this a 2017 favorite. ♥
Date Read: 13 December 2017
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