Famous in a Small Town
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.
The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.
What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.
Famous in a Small Town is one of those books that is hard to assign a rating to. Emma Mills’ writing is so good. She always keeps me captivated with her words, stories, and characters. I loved reading it, yet there were a few things that bothered me.
The small town setting of Famous in a Small Town was a lot of fun. I loved how I could imagine the businesses and houses as if I was there with the characters. The close-knit but also stifling feel of a small town came across well. I could feel the ups and downs of living somewhere so small in each and every character.
Sophie was a great main character for this book and its setting. She loved living in Acadia. I understood her fear of the future, of leaving home and everything changing. Sophie didn’t want to lose the close connection she had with her friends and family. I loved her, but I also became annoyed with her. Her involvement and dedication to her marching band was something to commend her for, but it was almost too much at times. She became extremely fixated on things, and it took me a very long time to understand it.
As in every one of her books, Emma Mills created a cast of memorable friends for her main character. Brit and Flora complimented Sophie is different ways. Flora was a sweet, simpler friend for Sophie. Brit was the rougher, blatantly honest one. Terrance and Dash were the male counterparts that evened out there group. I loved how they all interacted with each other and the closeness they shared. I do have to admit that there were a couple of times I wanted to throttle Brit. I didn’t feel like she was being the best of friends to Sophie, but I think we all have one of those friends who doesn’t know when to keep their mouth shut.
Then, there was August. August was new to town. Sophie baby-sat for his brother and brought him into her friend group. August and Sophie had an instant connection. They got each other’s humor and had instant chemistry, but they were just friends. I didn’t always love the way August treated Sophie. He abused their friendship at times. Sophie handled it well, but she also was more forgiving than I hope most of us would be. Probably not, but I want to believe so.
But wait? What about Megan, the famous hometown singer? What happens with her and getting her to come back to town? Well, that’s something you will just have to read this book to find out yourself. There are some surprises I didn’t see coming with this part of the story. Actually, there were several things I didn’t see coming that threw me off a bit. I couldn’t decide if I loved them or not.
Overall, Famous in a Small Town was a great YA contemporary read. It had memorable characters, a touching story, and a group of friends I would love to revisit.