I've always been a sucker for a good coming of age story, and a coming of age story for a group of friends in their twenties, sign me up! While I was super excited about this book, I think my expectations were just a bit too high.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Ballardvale Blues by Rachel Veznaian. Thanks so much to the author for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.

This story follows a group of five friends who are stuck in a suffocatingly small town. Siblings Sam and Kate are ready to move on with their lives away from their parents - Sam already has a life in New York and Kate is moving out to join him there. Her friend Addie is faced with a future she has no say in, taking over her parents diner. Danny isn't sure what he wants to do with his life, but he's finally met someone he might be able to have an actual relationship with. Jessica is friends with Addie and Danny, but Kate's dislike for her begins to eclipse these relationships. In the end, they will all have to make a choice, stay or leave.

First of all, I think that the premise of this book sounds really good. I'm all for stories about getting out of small towns, especially when the characters are a little older and I don't have to deal with high school drama. There were some moments that felt a little bit overly dramatic, but for the most part, really realistic to their situation.

The book was divided up into chapters, each spanning one day. Then, throughout each chapter, the story would switch third-person narrators. I was a little worried about this setup initially, and it took me a minute to get used to it, but once I did, it really seemed to flow nicely. It was a good way to get all the characters perspectives and keep the story divided into days.

Plot-wise, I'm not sure there was a lot going on. The middle seemed to drag a bit, and I ended up skimming some of it to get to the ending. I read the last two chapters and had no difficulty following the story, despite skimming a few chapters, so I would say that a lot of what happened didn't have a huge impact in the end? I'm sure there were details I missed but nothing that seemed too substantial.

I think Sam and Addie were the only characters I really liked; I didn't feel like I knew Danny enough about to form a real opinion, and Jess and Kate were just so mean to each other for no real reason other than old high school days drama (which we all know, I haven't been here for lately).

The pacing was a bit slow, but you could definitely feel that suffocating small town vibe in the writing. I think with a few tweaks, this could be a great book.

Overall, a decent book that just needs some fine-tuning.