The Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott is two books deep, and by the end it is likely that each member of the fictional world-famous rock band Stage Dive will end up with his one and only. I saw Malin’s review of Play, the second book in the series, and thought it sounded like fun. I don’t read a lot of straight-up contemporary romance, possibly because it’s easier for me to process these happily-ever-after stories in worlds that don’t exist or that I don’t have context for, like in paranormals or historicals. Like, how cynical do I have to be that I have no problem imagining demons, vampires, and all manner of other supernatural beings, but I don’t believe in rock stars falling in love with random normals that they meet in Vegas or at parties?
In any case, despite my steadfast denial of the possibility of courtship between celebrities and plebeians, I have enjoyed what I’ve read so far of the Stage Dive series, particularly Play. Lick, the first, was all right, but not revelatory; it seemed like Scott may still have been finding her footing with this one. The plot here is drunkenly married, now what to do? The interactions between Evelyn and David bordered on cruel when they were at the “I don’t care I swear I really don’t” stage, and it kind of soured me on their inevitable reconciliation. In short, I didn’t really believe their love as depicted in this book was really anything beyond attraction, and they’d have a lot of off-screen work to do before I believed them as a couple. Lick also had the devious, slutty ex and all-women-are-jealous tropes in play, which are devices I am so fatigued by that, owing to my personal preferences, it knocks the whole experience down a few pegs whenever I encounter the newest crazy shrew. (TO STATE THE OBVIOUS: “crazy shrew” is the stereotype here, not my choice label.)
Play, on the other hand, had a refreshing and amusing hero in Mal, as well as a grounded and relate-able — if not completely remarkable — heroine in Anne. The plot here is also amusingly fanfiction-y: Mal needs a girlfriend for appearances sake so that he can clean up his rakish reputation, and in exchange he’ll help Anne pay her rent. But they’re not gonna sleep together, so she’s NOT a hooker, y’all. Whatever is gonna happen to this amicable and professional relationship when sparks fly? Well, you’ll just have to read and find out! In all seriousness though, I liked the two of them together. Unlike Evelyn and David, I actually felt like Anne and Mal grew together and learned from each other. I unreservedly rooted for them.
These are fast, entertaining reads, and I’ll probably read the rest of the series when they come out.