Adiós to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer
Ever since this book won the RITA for Best Single Title Romance on Saturday, there has been some controversy in romanceland about a YA book winning. Ignoring those people who think that this marks the end of civilization as we know it, the question of “Is this a romance novel?” is a valid one. Me, personally? I would call it a YA book with a romantic subplot, not a YA romance (for one thing, YA romances seem to have nothing close to sex or anything controversial), but, hey, if the contest criteria is “Romance woven throughout the story with an emotionally satisfying ending”, then, yeah, it does meet the requirements. If anything, all the critics are doing is encouraging people to read this book. And Adiós to My Old Life delivers.
Ali Montero and her father both have music in their soul. But while her father is satisfied as a music professor who plays gigs on the side, Ali knows that she wants more. She wants to perform, and auditioning for the reality show Oye Mi Canto is just the start. Ali is not expecting much from the audition. Sure, she’s a talented singer and guitarist, but she knows her sound is not typical for a show that’s being billed as the Latin American Idol. So she’s shocked when hot college intern Jaime tells her she made it to the final round. Now all she has to do is deal with her father, who didn’t know she’d auditioned in the first place, some backstabbing competition, adoring fans, and a blossoming relationship with Jaime. Oh, and try to win the show, of course.
There’s lots to like in this book. Ali is a likeable narrator, the secondary characters well-drawn, and did I mention the hot romance? Caridad Ferrer’s writing is fast-paced and often funny, while clearly showing us Ali’s connection to music and her close relationship with her father, which is strained for the first time. And even though my knowledge of Spanish is pretty much nada, I could still figure out gist of the Spanish that is interspersed throughout the text.
Romantic, yes. A romance, well, not in my opinion. Ali and Jaime’s relationship, though important to the story, is not the main plotline. But regardless of how you classify it, Adiós to My Old Life is a great read.