Just Sing by René Gilley

Seven Oaks Series, Book 1

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a topnotch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.
He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

Review: Lily O’Brien loves to sing and has her whole future planned out. She’ll finish her two remaining years of high school and then will head out to the Berkeley’s music program. But her perfect plan quickly unravels when her high school’s music program is cut off due to financial issues. Without any musical background for the rest of her high school years, her chances to get into Berkeley are seriously jeopardized. Lily’s only hope is to apply to private schools and keep her fingers crossed that she’ll be accepted with a scholarship. On top of that, the sixteen years old girl also needs to considerate her family’s situation. She lives with her dad, little brother, her aunt, cousin, and grams in the family’s ranch and has to juggle between her dad’s alcohol problem and the new neighbors who invaded the ranch when her grams had to sell lands to pay taxes.

Just Sing evolves mostly around Lily’s struggle with her family, the reality of her dreams, and her first relationship issues with the neighbors’ son Aiden. Honestly Lily is a truly amazing character and she is very easy to like. She is strong-willed and her loyalty and love for her family is admirable. I totally got where she came from and was astonished by how well she is handling everything. She has much more in her plate than any average sixteen years old girl but she never acts like a victim which I loved. I was also particularly moved by her relationship with her grams, and all the problems her family is going through during the book made me weep quite a bit.

Of course, Just Sing is also a book about first love. Lily and Aiden are tiptoeing around their relationship’s statute most of the story and walk the very tiny line between love and friendship throughout the summer that is covered by the book. I, as a reader, had a very love/hate relationship with theirs. Aiden is complicated, he makes lots of mistakes for which he always has a very convenient excuse, and he always oscillates between being cocky and kind. I get that he has some sort of shield to protect himself from others but the guy honestly seemed bipolar at times. At the end of the day I think I let him get away with a lot of things, just like Lily did, mostly because I was moved by his family’s issues. To be honest I would be curious to see some insight in his life and some scenes from his point of view. His family has major resolving to do and even though he comes out as an annoying brat at times I think his parents have a part to play in his attitude. I would also love to read the scene where Aunt Susan goes out to confront him on Lily’s behalf. I wasn’t too warm about Aunt Susan before that but I was a total cheerleader for her at this particular time 😉

Overall I think this one was a good first novel. If the writing seemed a bit hesitant and shaky at times, the characters were compelling and Lily is impossible not to care about. I’m curious to see how the sequel will play out even though I’m worried that the love triangle will make an appearance. The Jeremiah’s thing is way too big to ignore and even if I had my issues with Aiden I’ll still root for him no matter what.

Anyway Just Sing was the fresh read I was looking for and that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much despite its flaws.




34 thoughts on “Just Sing by René Gilley

  1. This sounds so good. This girl Lily seems like someone I’d enjoy being while reading this book. She is too young for all of that but I’d admire her loyalty as well. I’m not happy that there might be love triangle in the sequel. Great review 🙂

    • Thank you ! I’m not happy with the possible love triangle either but I’m curious to see how the author will juggle with it, so we’ll see how it’ll turn out.

  2. “To be honest I would be curious to see some insight in his life and some scenes from his point of view.”

    I know I would want some chapters from his POV as well. The hot and cold thing is hard for me to forgive if I don’t fully understand why the character is acting the way they are, and usually the only way I can understand enough to forgive it is to be in their head. Aside from that issue, this sounds like a solid read and one’ that’s new to me, so thank you for the review!

    • Apparently the author is planning some insight in the guy’s head for the sequels, hopefully it’ll help understanding him more. Otherwise I totally agree with you, the hot and cold thing gets quickly tiresome.

  3. This seems like an emotional book and I love first love stories. At least the guy in this book has a reason behind his actions, Dylan in French Kiss didn’t have any (based on the first book at least) and he annoyed the living hell out of me. I’m glad you enjoyed the first installment and I hope that there won’t be a love triangle in book two 😀

  4. Hmm Aidan sounds like a wounded animal and Lily his savior. Unsure about that dynamic but I’d be curious to see how they balanced each other out. First loves can be intense and fun so that may be a plus for me.

  5. I have to admit this one does sound interesting, I have a feel id really enjoy the characters in this one and the whole “music” thing has me intrigued! I’m glad you enjoyed this one and it sounds like it was the kind of read you needed!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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