Review: Loud is How I Love You

Loud is How I Love You by Mercy Brown
Acquired how: bought ebook

I read what feels like a lot of the rock romance novels, because I like romance and I like music, so I tend to assume those two things will go great together. In practice, a lot of those books are really dramatic New Adult novels (and I’m not overly eager to relive my late teens and early 20s) and/or about the bad boy fantasy. I’ve never understood the bad boy fantasy, so I can’t get into that.

This book is definitely not about the bad boy fantasy – it’s a friends-to-lovers story (that’s the stuff I love) and Travis tries to portray himself as more responsible than Emmy.

It is definitely a New Adult novel about people in their early 20s making ill-advised choices due to hormones, misunderstandings, bad communication and back-and-forthing because the heroine feels she can’t have all the things she wants and dicks the hero around a little. And yet I liked it anyway.

Why? Well:

  • Emmy was worried that if she continued giving in to her passion for Travis that various horrible things would come true – and then they did. The heroine’s fears seemed founded in reality and given that these fears revolved around important parts of her identity, it made sense to me.
  • Unlike most rock romances, this book is actually about the music. The writer, Mercy Brown, is a musician from New Jersey just like the characters, and so the description of life in a college band felt true. The characters know about and care about musical instruments, they rehearse, they play gigs, they are part of a scene and so forth. This is the kind of stuff I read these rock romances for.
  • This is one of the ways in which New Adult can shine – this book was as much a coming of age story as it was a romance. Emmy’s internal turmoil about reconciling her admiration for her late father with feeling abandoned by him and the way she dealt with revelations regarding same was integral to the book. It made sense that there could be no romantic resolution with Travis until she’d dealt with her unresolved issues about her father, because that was a huge part of what was holding her back. That made her refusing to commit to Travis even though she loved him less annoying.
  • This is a comedy and the wacky hijinks and description of the other players in the music scene really lightened things up.
  • There’s a small but wonderful moment about the power of stories and the way they connect to things in our lives.

There were also some issues with the book that kept me from truly loving it:

  • Sometimes the wacky comedy hijinks got too much.
  • And the romantic drama really was dragged on for a long time.
  • There were some things I thought may have been anachronisms, possibly intentional, but to be fair my memory of the 90s is a bit shaky. But I do remember coming of age in the 90s meant growing up in the shadow of the AIDS crisis so the moment of (spoilers) unprotected sex without long discussion beforehand shocked me.

Still, I enjoyed it, and I think a reader who wants a book that captures the zanyness of the American college experience as well as the highs and lows of an indie band, with a sexy romance to boot, could do a lot worse than to read this book.

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