Book Review: Miss Someday by R. J. Ryker

Happy Friday, Readers! Today’s review is of a new book that I found very interesting, so stick around to learn what it’s about!filligree page divider

Title: Miss Someday

Author: R.J. Ryker

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction

Published: November 1, 2018

Synopsis (abbreviated): It’s funny how one stupid little mistake can change your life forever…I was only trying to save my mother from getting in trouble, again. Somehow, some way, I got mixed up in helping my mom and her loser husband do a drug deal.

A one-time mistake that changed the course of my life forever. It turns out you can’t get student loans if you have a drug conviction. True story. Look it up. 

I have this letter from my mom. It arrived the day after she passed away. She explains everything, who my birth father was, how to find him and–here’s the interesting part–how much money he has. This man I’ve never met just might be my ticket to Vanderbilt Music Conservatory, alma mater of some of the world’s very best musicians.

The only problem is, I have to keep my past a secret from my newfound father.

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Brittany is one of those characters who just can’t catch a break. She’s had a difficult life, to say the least; to start with, she was raised in a rough part of town by a (mostly) single mom with a drug and alcohol problem and string of unwise relationships. However, Brittany is a hard worker, and she has a big dream: to attend the Vanderbilt Conservatory of Music in New York. She manages to get accepted, and she gets a partial scholarship, but a partial scholarship isn’t enough. She can’t afford the rest, and she cannot get a student loan because of that time she took the fall for delivering drugs for her mom.

However, as I have already said, she’s a very hard worker. Somehow, Brittany is instilled with a strong work ethic and drive to chase her dreams. I really admire Brittany’s willingness to work at every opportunity, and the way that she goes after everything she wants full-force, but is also usually pretty logical. She doesn’t rush into (many) things, but she doesn’t let anything deter her. Even when her dreams look completely out of reach, she keeps looking for ways to make them work.

This is exactly the kind of book I loved to read in high school. Small town girl has big music dreams, works really hard for them, drama ensues and her chances of “making it” goes back and forth drastically. There’s also the drama with her family: she confronts the man she believes to be her biological father, which (obviously) causes more drama. On top of that, this man is currently running for a political office, which just adds more stress. Thankfully, he’s willing to take Brittany in and help her get on her feet…but he can’t afford to help her get to NYC, either. And she doesn’t tell him about her past, especially about her drug conviction.

Basically, the plot of Miss Someday is “how much can life throw at one girl to try to derail her from chasing her dream, and ultimately, will it be Brittany or all the drama around her that wins?” If you enjoy reading YA filled with angst, this is for you.

This book held my attention better than a lot have recently. The way Brittany narrated her own story really helped keep me engaged and eager to hear what would happen next. There are no lags in the plot; the story charges forward on every page. And, despite Brittany’s lot in life, she is a solid role model. Obviously, the plot hinges on some poor decisions she has made, but she is not those mistakes. It is clear that her motivation is pure, and the things a parent might be concerned about (e.g. drug use, premarital sex, language, unhealthy relationships) are shown in a negative light, when they are shown at all. These things are mainly a part of Brittany’s back story, just touched on when necessary to the plot, and she personally avoids them at all costs.

Throughout Miss Someday, Brittany learns to navigate life with her newfound family, a new job, and friendships from her childhood. In this season, her life is full of turmoil, from her father’s political rival to her probation officer to the realization that her friend and owner of the cafe she sings at is very sick.

Due to the high level of drama/angst, I am not as excited about this book as I would have been a few years ago. Perhaps, though, this speaks more to the way that my tastes are changing with age than it does to the book itself. For fans of contemporary YA, especially those looking for a clean-but-dramatic story about music, family, and everything that comes along with growing up, Miss Someday is a great choice.

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YA isn’t really my cup of tea anymore, much as I tend to expect it to be. However, there are a lot of merits to the way this book is written and the way that it deals with some tough situations. I can easily see a younger version of me enjoying it more than who I am today does. It was nice to read something in this tone to break up the heavier books I often read. I might try to make it a goal in the future to strategically read a YA book when I notice I’m in a string of heavier reads. It’s not that YA doesn’t deal with the same heavy topics, but it does seem that they often tend to come away with a more hopeful tone at the end.

Miss Someday just released at the beginning of this month, so go check it out while you still have the chance to say you read it before it became popular! Okay, maybe that’s not the best motivation. Still, go show this new book some love. You can find out more on Goodreads, and you can visit the author on his website.

 

Until the next chapter,

Jana

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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