*Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may have been changed as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.
You'd Be Mine reads exactly like a country music festival! I know that many people will say, "well yes, it is about a country music tour," but I am talking more about the vibe of the whole book. It is fun, emotional, and it feels like the middle of summer!
You'd Be Mine is precisely what a YA romance contemporary should be like! It checks off every one of the requirements for a great contemporary. There is an excellent cast of characters, a dramatic storyline, a great pace that keeps readers reading, and the bad boy, good girl trope. While this trope may initially turn people off of this book, I think that it is one of the times when the trope is done well. Annie is grounded, has her own opinions and voice. Annie is also not begging Clay to notice her; she is confident and knows her worth. Too many times I have put down a book with this trope as the girl is too helpless and just blindly falls into the relationship. To me, that's not what the trope should be, but unfortunately, that is how it ends up being for the most part. Besides, it makes for a much better read when there is some friction between the characters; one character shouldn't be falling over to please the other.
To begin, the characters are done exceptionally well. The characters' personalities balance each other throughout the novel. The easiest way to explain this is by imagining a spectrum of character personalities, with one side being perfect and making good decisions and the other side is making bad decisions and being far from perfect. On this spectrum, Annie is on the good decision-making side while Clay is on the other end. Their band members are sprinkled throughout it.
Additionally, all of the characters are messed up in some way or other. Throughout the novel, the pasts of the characters come up, contributing to a more authentic feel. Their problems are relatable which makes their growth feel more realistic.
I also read the dialogue as something teenagers would actually say. Sometimes, YA books have dialogue that doesn't make sense for the age range, which can throw me off.
There were also two POVs in this novel. It switches between Clay and Annie, and for a story like You'd Be Mine, it is almost necessary! The changing perspectives give the reader valuable insight into Clay and Annie's growth throughout the book, as there is often more going on than what is externally shown. The POV differences also provide additional reasons for the characters' actions, something that is more important as the tour progresses.
The pacing also worked perfectly with the storyline. As I've mentioned before, the story feels like one big concert. There is an intro that sets the reader up for a fantastic book, downtime between acts to enhance the read, and electric, heart rate increasing moments that leave the reader needing more!
Hands down my most favorite part of this entire book are the performances that Clay and Annie put on. Their dynamics during these times are constantly changing, providing a look at their relationship and personal issues. It is during times like these where I love the changing POVs. As it switches between Clay and Annie, I can feel the confusion, anger, and hurt that they are feeling. Hahn also includes songs during the performances, and they are AMAZING! I want to get the soundtrack!
While this is a YA romance, the primary focus isn't the romance. There is much more of a slow burn that occurs while the music and the friendship between the bands is center stage.
In conclusion, I couldn't recommend this book more! As a country-pop music fan, a lover of YA contemporaries, and a supporter of the bad boy, good girl trope (done well of course) this book was practically made for me! You'd Be Mine has a slow burn romance, friendships, mistakes, and country music. What more could you want? The female MC, Annie, is a strong and independent character who isn't falling heals with Clay, the male MC. The other supporting characters are well developed and are not just in the book as filler. They have their own backstory and secrets that are shown throughout the book. There were two POVs, Clay and Annie's, that helped me to fully understand their motivations and fears. In a book like You'd Be Mine, the dual prospectives are so crucial as the MCs are often complete opposites of each other. Hahn also included their performances, complete with songs! These performances were undoubtedly my favorite part of the book. The dynamics between the bands are constantly changing and their performances reflect it. This book is superb, and I will highly recommend it to everyone!