You Really Got Me
Have you ever read a book, liked it, and gone back a day (or a year) later and wondered why? That’s how I felt when I sat down to write this review. I read the bulk of You Really Got Me all in one evening—a testament to how engaged in it I was—and yet looking back on it I could only recall it as being a clichéd story of a rock star and his girl.
Then I casually flipped through the book, and suddenly remembered what I liked so much. You Really Got Me is essentially two stories. One is the tale of Emmie Valencia and Slater Vaughn falling in love, and it is brilliant. The other is a stereotypical rocker romance about a severely insecure woman and her perfect rock star boyfriend who is away on a tour.
Emmie Valencia is determined to make it big in the world of Artists & Repertoire (A & R). When her boss is hesitant to promote her, she decides to visit her brother in Austin and spend a few weeks trying to “discover” a band. In return for the free room and board, she agrees to help her brother and his band pull their act together, although she never considers them as the stunning new group she’s going to discover. But then, Emmie misses a lot of things that are right under her nose.
For instance, Slater Vaughn has been very interested in Emmie since he first laid eyes on her. She’s off-limits as the sister of a bandmate, but that doesn’t stop him from lusting after her. As the two become friends and Slater learns that Emmie was recently betrayed by her boyfriend, who cheated on her while touring with his band, he comes to realize that if and when they do get together she might have a harder time trusting him. The great thing about Slater is that he accepts that—having understood the reasons behind Emmie’s insecurities, he does his best to be tolerant.
For her part, Emmie is also very good with Slater. He has a love-hate relationship with music, which is tied to the love-hate relationship he had with his father, and she constantly tries to support him and help him work through the problems—first as a friend, and then as his lover. Watching this pair grow into a real relationship was wonderful, and if the book had ended shortly after everything was official, I would have been strongly tempted to give it an A-.
Unfortunately, the book continues with Slater and the band going away on tour, and it’s not a pretty development. Emmie, who arranged the entire tour, gets more insecure and worries about the woman they’re touring with, who is constantly hanging around Slater. This last chunk of the book turned it into a stereotypical rock star love story, which was painful to watch.
At the end of the day, though, I have to recommend You Really Got Me. It may not have been my favorite story, but most of it is very worth reading. All things considered, I have to color myself impressed and hopeful that Ms. Kelly has gotten the stereotype out of her system—enough that she is now ready to write novels resembling the first part of this one. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work.