Title: Famous In A Small Town
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Synopsis: For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.
The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.
What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.
“Sometimes it’s hard to know if something’s for real? It’s hard to believe it, even if you want it to be real. Even if you want it so badly. Sometimes it seems…safer, you know. Not to risk it..”
Famous in a Small Town follows the main character, Sophie as she’s trying to raise enough money to be able to take her high-school marching band to the Rose Parade in California. Her summer gets turned on end when a mysterious boy moves in with her neighbors down the street. Sophie’s summer plans of apply for college and fundraising did NOT include falling for a mystery boy. But Sophie doesn’t let that sway her. She befriends the mystery kid and continues on her way to get Acadia’s most famous ex-resident,Megan Pleasant, to come and play a benefit concert. But in order to do that, Sophie will have to get to the bottom of why Megan Pleasant left in the first place.
“Sometimes…around some people, I feel like I have to, like…try, you know?…But with you– when I’m with you, I can just…exist. You know what I mean?”
This is the second book I’ve read by Emma Mills, and I liked this one almost as much as I liked her other novel, Foolish Hearts! First off, the characters in this story are all so human and relatable. I could identify with parts of almost all of the characters. Sophie’s incessant college-prep was definitely me in highschool, but there were so many other portions of the characters that were so human and I loved it. She also nailed character development for her major players too – all of them had some kind of growth, even though the story takes place over just a few short weeks.
I also really liked the plot twist in this book – I don’t want to go into too much detail so I won’t spoil it for anyone – but the book seems to be growing to a certain point, and then BAM, Emma Mills pulls a fast one and you realize something that makes the first half of the book so much clearer and you look at all of the characters in a vastly different light. It was expertly done, and I definitely didn’t see it coming, but looking back, there were little clues that let you in on what was coming (but you really won’t see them unless you’re looking for it).
One of the things I didn’t like about the book is that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. With a title like Famous in a Small Town, I was almost expecting one of the characters to either be famous, or to become famous, and that just wasn’t the case. It was all focused on the one elusive person that was famous who Sophie was trying to get to come perform and save her band’s trip. I wasn’t disappointed at all in the story, but I do think that the title was more than a bit misleading.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought that all of the little details that Emma Mills added in really gave the story life and depth. I’ve started to grow out of contemporary novels set in high-school, but with this one, I think that Emma Mills did a really wonderful job of adding in maturity to the storyline so that it didn’t feel like a stock “high school” novel. It was really well done!