Welcome to the book review tour for Just Shelby by Brooklyn James. This really was a most intriguing coming-of-age novel that I won't soon forget. Read on for an excerpt as well as more of my thoughts and then follow the tour to find out what others have to say. Be sure to let the author know what you think along the way! Best of luck entering the giveaway.
A secret note square found in a handmade guitar proves that small town gossip is not only ubiquitous but occasionally true. This gossip comes with strings rivaling those on Ace Cooper’s guitar, the safest strings he will ever have around his heart.
Ace’s father warns him to stay away from the Lynn girl. Daughter of a deceased bootlegger and a barely living addict, Shelby Lynn is no stranger to small town contempt. She keeps her nose in the books and feet to the ground, a college scholarship the only escape from her tumultuous life.
As Ace’s heartstrings unravel, so does his family’s role in Shelby’s broken past. Thrust into a precarious journey of their roots brimming with music and betrayal, the two have never been closer…to the truth of how Shelby’s father died. One truth transforms every facet of their lives forever.
A dual POV friends-to-first-love story, Just Shelby is an unsuspecting mystery that depicts how growing together can sometimes hurt worse than growing apart.
From male—Ace—protagonist POV (269 words):
I close my eyes and breathe meditatively. With the wren feather in hand, Shelby fans over me the smoke—or the smudge. Then she starts chanting in a language I cannot make heads or tails of. I don’t think she’s got it down either. But I love her for trying. Talk about courage!
“Do you feel anything?” she asks sounding hopeful, breaking from her chorus.
Cold. I feel cold. Underdressed for the light snowfall the higher elevation is about to receive. But I know that answer won’t do. I dig deep and at least tell the truth. “I feel like I could be a better son.”
“Oh. Okay. Cool.” She fans faster. “What about colors or images. Do you see any?”
Feeling isn’t enough? I’m supposed to see, too. Smudging, feather, wren—too obvious. Birds, feathers, owl—“I see an owl.”
“An owl!” she screeches, much like the feathered avian. “I think that’s a bad omen. A symbol of death?” She extinguishes the herbs, crushing them and their embers to bits. “I must have done something wrong. Unelanahi, disregard everything I just sent you!” She shouts into the sky, as innocent as the stars.
I chuckle, sitting upright and sliding forward on the hood, my legs encircling her hips. “Yes, death. If you don’t kiss me, I just might die.”
Her lips, so alive, are the perfect antidote to the grim reaper. The smudging may have been a flop, but she is a healer.
Spending time with her has begun to heal things within me that I didn’t know needed healing. My future aspirations, my relationship with Mom, the emptiness—she fills it.
Her latest speaking engagements centered around accessibility, rights, and choice in birth, as well as writing workshops on how to put pen to paper composing one's own birth story with the release of her birth memoir, Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth.
Just Shelby gifted both the challenge and the thrill of this author's primary exploration into the Young Adult genre. She cherishes reader reviews, if you should be so inclined.
Moonlighting occasionally in voice-over and film, Brooklyn played a Paramedic in a Weezer video, met Harry Connick Jr. as an extra on the set of When Angels Sing, appeared in Richard Linklater's Boyhood for all of a nanosecond, and was a stand-in and stunt double for Mira Sorvino on Jerry Bruckheimer's Trooper pilot for TNT. Although reading, dancing, working out, and a good glass of kombucha get her pretty excited, she finds most thrilling the privilege of being a mother to two illuminating little souls and a wife to the one big soul from whom they get their light.
Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science, and lives in Texas Hill Country.
Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brooklynjames7?lang=en OR @BrooklynJames7
a Rafflecopter giveaway