Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Out of Tune by Michelle D. Argyle • contains 376 pages • published by MDA Books on 30. November 2013 • classified as Contemporary, Music, New Adult • obtained through NetGalley • read as eBook • shelve on Goodreads
Out of Tune is the last book I finished reading before the new year, and I am glad that it is also the last one I get to review this year because it’s a good book to remember the end of 2013 by. I thoroughly enjoyed it for the depth it offers alongside the roller coaster ride of a life that Maggie is faced with as she transitions into adulthood. Also, I loved the music aspects, even though I’m not a country music fan. It’s a shame, really, seeing how I spent my childhood hearing my dad blast country music. Though who knows? Maybe I’ll connect with it after all when I listen through the playlist that Michelle Argyle added at the end.
Twenty-year-old Maggie Roads’ parents are legendary in the country music world. She wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps, but the limelight isn’t reserved for singers who can’t carry a tune, let alone keep a rhythm.
When her parents tell her they’re getting divorced, Maggie decides it’s time to leave home and take her future into her own hands. Moving in with Cole, her best friend and sometimes boyfriend, might not be the best of ideas, but she’s got to start somewhere. Their off-and-on romance gets even more complicated when Maggie crushes on her new voice teacher, Nathan, who unlocks her stunning potential. A sensational music career of her own is finally within reach, but Maggie might need more than perfect pitch to find what she’s really looking for.
I should start with a warning: Out of Tune is one emotionally packed book! It is also so much more than Maggie’s romantic interests in Cole and Nathan. Before you dismiss it for the love triangle, please hear me out! There’s a lot more to the book than the romance. Maggie is set on pursuing her dreams while trying to keep things together as her world crumbles. Her parents divorcing, her best friend moving away and realizing that the time has come to fend for herself all add different layers to the story. As much as I wish that only Cole or only Nathan would’ve been part of Maggie’s life, I liked her approach to both these men. She knows that singing is her primary goal. Whatever confusion may cloud her mind, it cannot detract from her plans and for that I must applaud Out of Tune. It is first about self-actualization before love, even if love matters a great deal to Maggie.
What struck me was the growth that is evident in Maggie from the beginning to the end. The Maggie we start out with is a vastly different one from the Maggie we end with. She gains mature through all her trials but remains a believable 20-year-old who occasionally still slips into self-absorption yet has a good heart, wanting to reach out to those she loves. For all her insecurities, she also learns to become more self-assured and to appreciate the good things that she still has. Watching Maggie grow throughout the pages is what adds to the depth and to the strength of Out of Tune. For me, it also encouraged me to reflect on how I have grown myself over the past year, think about what I want and how the people I love fit into all that as well.
Interestingly, it seems that this book has been a little under the radar but I do hope that that will change in the coming year. I think it’s a wonderful book for music lovers and for readers looking for New Adult books that are not primarily concerned with explicit romance but instead are concerned with strong characters that fill the void between teenhood and not quite adulthood.