Everything Is Just Beginning

We rated this book:


As a musician, I wanted to love this novel about a budding romance between a yet-to-be-discovered rocker and mysterious, blind, soulful, folk heiress, but while some musical references struck a chord, the author, Erin Bartels, just couldn’t evoke much emotion from me. There is plenty to consider: a mother dying of cancer, tumultuous band drama, an alcoholic uncle with a tender streak and a secret, even a mastodon skeleton in the backyard, but the author never allows much tension to develop before providing resolutions that fall flat.

In a book with several Christian themes, I found the main character lacking character, which may be why I didn’t like book more. I think you are supposed to see a transformation in Michael from a self-absorbed twenty-something into a more thoughtful and forgiving young adult, but since he spends most of the book as his former self it’s hard to root for him or his uncle.

My mom had to explain a lot of the 1980s references to me, but someone familiar with that period might appreciate the work that went into incorporating so many. In a nod to my generation, it was super cool to listen to the Spotify playlists the QR codes at the back of the book linked to. A highlight of the book was the included original song lyrics, and the descriptions of the song-writing process and performance felt very real.

It’s a quick read, cleverly laid out, and the inclusion of playlists is fun, but I didn’t find myself singing along, which is to say Bartels never got me fully on board or invested in her characters. Like some bands from the 80s, this book looked the part but didn’t have the lyrics or beats to back it up.

Reviewed By:

Author Erin Bartels
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Fleming H. Revell Company
Publish Date 17-Jan-2023
ISBN 9780800741655
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2023
Category Historical Fiction