Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
As per usual, Amazon doesn't have the cover I have.
Anyway. this book is about a recent high school graduate named Retta Jones, who is taking off from her small Tennessee town to become a singer in Memphis. Catastrophes ensue, but Retta learns to be true to her dreams and her voice.
Voice is the one thing this book has a ton of. As soon as you start reading you're drawn into the speech pattern of a young girl from Tennessee. Being in Retta's head was definitely one of the best parts of the book! The supporting characters were also very well drawn and her interactions with most of them felt very real, even though some of them were a bit Nashville over-the-top.
Each chapter opens with trivia about a country music singer, which I liked. It helped sett the tone for the book. (Also, did you know Taylor Swift's middle name was Alison??)
My only problem with this book is that it's a little too...real-life gritty. I wouldn't have minded a part-two where Retta is becoming a rising star, seeing her play shows and get a feel for the other side of the music scene. There's a lot of her time spent working in a two garage and going home to small-town Tennessee that worked for the story, but I wanted to see more of her music. Or maybe I just wanted the book to be longer.
There was also a bit of deus ex machina in the way things came together for Retta, but that's how it tends to be even in life isn't it? A kid is spotted by an agent at a restaurant and the next thing they're Sarah Michelle Gellar or Natalie Portman, so I can't fault that too much.
Overall, I really loved the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a book, and a character, with a lot of heart and a lot of song.