The driving force behind Quinn McCallister, the youngest brother of rock star Jake McCallister, is that he is determined to be better and more famous than his older brother. Kind of hard to do when your older brother was a kidnap victim who escaped after a month of captivity only by killing his captor. Then there’s the fact that he’s uber talented. Quinn grew up in Jake’s limelight, wishing for his attention but not getting it. No surprise because his brother has some horrible trauma to work through. As Next in Line begins, Quinn is a candidate on a singing competition show and despite promises from the producers not to use his family to garner ratings they, of course do. In return Quinn sings a heartbreaking song that goes viral, and walks off and out of their lives. Enter Jess, the uber/Lyft driver who picks him up as he’s being chased down the sidewalk by one of said producers. He gets in the car and her sass immediately gets him out of his own head. Who is this girl who he has told to take him someplace fun, but not too much fun?
I am a big fan of the Cake series. J. Bengtsson’s witty dialog always keeps me reading despite knowing she’s going to make me relive Jake’s torture for the sixth time. Next In LIne, while still dealing with the trauma the McCallister family went through because of what happened to Jake and subsequently them, does seem slightly watered down. Maybe in part this is because Quinn was only six years old when his brother was kidnapped. Just as with the other McCallister kids, they use humor to hide behind and Jess, who also has a difficult childhood does the same. This means I chuckled, laughed, and cried my way through their interactions.
There was one point in the book where I turned to my sister, who had already read the book, and asked if Quinn and Jess’s stories will twine back together again because i was reading this for the romance, not for Quinn’s journey into rock and roll. I did stick it out, but I really wish I’d been reading the book instead of listening to it because I could’ve skipped over some of the less interesting (to me) parts and gotten back to the romance. The narrator’s BTW did an amazing job. Andi Arndt should read all contemporary books and as much as I love Zachary Webber normally, I think she outshone him in her interpretation of the characters, even Quinn’s. She was incredible.
I bet you’re trying to figure out if I liked this book. I’ll admit, I waffled a bit. Yes, I did like it but I wish it was more Quinn and Jess, and less Quinn the rock star. I wish that Jake didn’t have to relive his trauma every time one of his brothers or sisters fell in love. I feel bad for the guy! I also wish that Andi Arndt had more audio time. However, if I break it down, this series is one that I’ll keep coming back to read and listen to again and again. Yes, I do have my favorite books (Kyle’s and Emma’s), and Quinn’s probably falls at the bottom of the list but it was still good. Some Others were just better. I’m sure you have your own favorite too.
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