You never really know what someone might be dealing with behind closed doors. The arc of the romantic plot line was perfect. I adored the chemistry between Darcy and Grey. They had so much in common that I immediately knew I wanted them to remain in each other’s lives either as friends or a couple. As they got to know each other better, I became even more convinced that they’d make the perfect match. Not only did they share the same hobbies, they had the same values as well. That is, they were both far more interested in quietly doing the right thing no matter who noticed than in getting credit for it. Their strong senses of integrity were well matched and also made me love both of these characters even more than I did when I first met them. Darcy was such a relatable and interesting protagonist. Most high school students don’t need to worry about helping their moms pay rent or keep food on the table. As tough as these added responsibilities made her life, they also shaped her into a hard-working and trustworthy young woman. She took life seriously in a good way. When she did have opportunities to relax, she dove into those experiences with joy. I wanted her to finally get a happy ending after everything she’d been through. I was also impressed with how sensitively and honestly Ms. Ouimet handled Quinn’s substance abuse. He was Darcy’s only sibling, their family was low income, and they honestly didn’t have much of a social safety net at all. All of these things made an already difficult situation even harder to cope with. There was simply not enough time, emotional support, or money to deal with all of the negative consequences of his addiction. I’ll admit to blinking back tears a few times while I read this story because of how much empathy I had for this family. They were facing awful circumstances, and the author did an amazing job of showing how Quinn’s choices affected not only his own life but the lives of his mother and sister. (Not Quite) the Same Old Song is a must-read for anyone who has ever had personal experience with substance abuse or who wonders what it feels like to love someone who is in such a self-destructive cycle.
When her brother relapses—again—and disappears with the rent money, Darcy Andrews is forced to pawn the one thing that means the most to her. Her guitar, Darlene. Suddenly the plus-size teen’s plans for a stress-free summer before senior year are washed down the drain. Now she must earn enough money to get her brother the help he needs and to buy Darlene back.
Enter Grey, the pawnshop owner’s son. Popular, annoyingly hot, and inexplicably on stage with Darlene in his hands. Not only is he playing her guitar, but he kind of sucks at it. Before she can stop herself, Darcy is offering Grey guitar lessons, adding yet another complication to her plans—a summer romance with the last boy she ever thought would be interested in her.
It’s all sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Except, not quite. She’s down one guitar, the drugs are her brother’s problem, and once school starts back, Darcy is afraid Grey is embarrassed to be seen with her. But when an opportunity to win money for her brother’s rehab arises, she won’t let all that stand in her way.
14+ due to sexuality, drugs, and adult situations
I was going to kill my brother.
Yep. Kill, as in maim brutally until he succumbed to death’s cold, dark embrace. Because a slow death wouldn’t do. No, he deserved to suffer. I didn’t know much about Chinese water torture, but I could learn. And the leaky faucet in the bathroom, the one he’d promised to fix months ago, would do the trick. A couple of hours of that would surely drive him insane. His brain might even start to liquefy. Maybe dribble out of his ears a bit.
I wondered if that would be painful enough. Or painful at all, considering he’d killed most of his brain cells already, taking hit after hit of whatever his crackhead friends put in front of him.
I hoped wherever he was at that moment, whatever he was smoking was laced with some bad shit. I didn’t even feel bad thinking it. This always happened. He’d disappear, lifting cash from Mom’s purse and leaving her sick with worry instead of anger. One day turned into two, three, eight at the most. He’d stumble in eventually, visibly worse for the wear, but with a sheepish I’m sorry, Mommy. I’m sorry, Darcy. I promise I’ll be better from now on smile plastered on his face. And then he’d do it all over again a couple of months later.
Getting clean was part of Quinn’s regimen. Staying clean was a different story.
Eventually, he’d fall back off the wagon. He’d get picked up in the alleyway behind a bar or hanging out at one of the other trailer parks in town, the ones far worse than our own. He’d spend time in the county jail but would never be dumb enough to call us from it asking for bail. He knew we wouldn’t have it. Mostly because he’d pocketed what we did have to score whatever shit landed him there in the first place, but also because … well, the residents of Whispering Oaks Mobile Home Community weren’t exactly rolling in dough in the first place. And even though Mom had started doing clients’ hair in our poorly lit kitchen on the side, we were barely getting by.
Really, he was no worse off than half of our meth-addicted town, but it was bad enough to make Mom cry at night when she thought I couldn’t hear her. Our trailer walls were paper thin though, and I hadn’t slept soundly since I was thirteen and woke up to find one of my brother’s acquaintances rifling through my dresser drawers at three AM. Junkies were the goddamned worst.
Beating the snot out of him always crossed my mind. I’d tighten my fists at my sides when he inevitably made his reappearance, or when I’d find him sitting at the kitchen table in the mornings before I left for school, smiling nervously as he pushed a plate of apology pancakes—dusted with powdered sugar the way I liked—in my direction.
Every time, I’d bite my tongue and forgive him. Every time, I’d wonder if one day those apologies would actually mean something. I hoped they would.
Whatever apology he offered this time, though, it was going to have to be good. And it damned well needed to mean something.
The guitar case slipped in my sweat-slicked hands and I nearly lost my hold on it as I pushed through the heavy glass door, the bell jingling to signal my entrance to Addams Gold & Pawn. My fingers tightened around the handle of the battered and beaten-to-hell case. The leather was cracked, torn, and covered in stickers from dozens of different bands—some long-forgotten, others legendary. And it held my favorite thing in the world. When I was little, my father let me have the honor of opening this case for him each time he played the guitar inside it. Later, he taught me how to play it myself. Letting it go, even temporarily, was going to hurt like a bitch.
I straightened my shoulders and walked to the front counter.
This time… Well, this time I really was going to kill my brother.
I'm the world's oldest young adult. I read YA fiction because I write it, and it makes me really happy when I get to read a story that grabs me at the beginning and keeps me flipping pages to the end. (Not Quite) The Same Old Song does the job. Lindsey Ouimet has given us a novel with wonderful characters, a plot that keeps you riveted, and a real sense of suburban Georgia in the depths of the summer, the book's setting. It's all there: The Waffle House, the miserable pizza-joint summer/after school job, the insufficient AC chugging away in a single wide trailer. Darcy and Grey, the book's main characters, are pretty irresistible, Darcy especially. Tough but vulnerable, she has pawned the thing she loves the most, a vintage Les Paul left behind by her run-away dad. Her brother Qulnn, mired in drug addiction, has once again cleaned out the cash in the trailer she shares with her single mom. By the way, Darcy's pained love for Quinn, a nicely drawn character himself, is one of the many things that keeps this book from indeed being Not Quite The Same Old Song. His story is too common these days, and seeing it so well written into a YA book is a very good thing. No spoilers, but when Grey, the son of the man who owns the local pawn shop, shows up playing Darcy's almost-lost guitar (and badly), this story really takes off. Yes, there will be a love affair, but it might not be the one you expect. Plus-sized Darcy needs to learn to love herself first, and embrace her deep musical talent. Bullying cool kids need to be put in their places. And Grey, who seems initially to be a pretty boy with not much depth, needs to grow up. There’s a happy ending coming, but everyone’s got some work to do! As someone who has both eaten Varsity hot dogs and felt the weight of a Les Paul hanging from her own shoulders, I loved (Not Quite) The Same Old Song. Les Pauls are not for wimps! Ouimet’s description of the guitars in this book makes me think she’s got some calluses on her left hand, too. This clear-eyed young adult novel tells its own deep and heavy truth. It deserves a wide audience.
Lindsey Ouimet’s writing style gets better with every new book. She writes realistic, flawed characters who grow throughout the book. Expect great things from this author!!
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Evernight Teen, for sending me this ARC. So, once again, this was a book that I went into knowing nothing about. The only reason I picked this one up was because the title sounded cool and I was in the mood for a contemporary. You know what I’m talking about: a new guilty pleasure book. While this one wasn’t as strong as the most recent music book I’ve read, it was still very well done and very well written. I really enjoyed Darcy’s character. She comes from a poor family from the rougher side of town, is being raised by a single mom, and has a brother who is a drug addict. Her family barely gets by and it takes everything that they have just to make it. Plus, Darcy also struggles with body image and her own confidence. The only thing that she thinks she is good at is music and her prized belonging is her dad’s guitar, which she is forced to pawn to help her family out. Darcy is the kind of lead that we need in contemporary. Sure, she is mature, but still acts her age. What I admire the most about her is that she will do anything for the people she cares about, even if it means giving up everything. We also get to see just how much she struggles with having a positive outlook on herself. It really isn’t until we met Grey that we get to see this change. Grey is our led guy. He’s popular, rich, and pretty much your high school superstar. He has jerks for friends and has a history with the queen bee. Oh yeah, he wants to break into music and his dad just happens to own the pawn shop where Darcy pawns her guitar. So, he ends up playing it and this is how he and Darcy met. Like with Darcy, we get to see just how much Grey struggles. On the outside, it looks like he has it all, but once we get to know him, we see that everything is not a prefect as it seems. Lindsey’s writing was also very engaging. Like with so many authors, she has this gift with being able to pull you in and make it next to impossible to get out. I found myself reading huge sections of this book in one sitting. The only problem that I really had with this book was the ending. It felt so rushed and left me with so many questions. I really do wish that we could have had a just a little bit more to bring it home. I don’t know if there is a second book coming out or not, but I really think there is enough here to do it. Anway, not a bad fast read. If you like music books and want a guilty pleasure, pick this one up.
I loved this book! Darcy is such a fun main character, and I love love loooooved the chemistry between her and Grey!
This book is everything I've come to expect from Lindsey Ouimet-- flawed-but-deeply-relatable characters, swoon-worthy romance, and heartbreaking angst that's soothed by a happily ever after. I particularly enjoyed the focus on Darcy's worries about money, which ring far too true for many of us. A wonderful read by a very talented author!
There aren’t enough words to describe how sweet and funny and loveable this books is! Darcy has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her addict brother has disappeared again and stolen the rent money. So to get by Darcy pawns her beloved guitar to make ends meet.convinced that she can’t rely on anyone and that she won’t get a better deal in life. To blow off some steam she agrees to go to a concert with her best friend and that’s when she she’s him- Grey Addams, with her guitar! After the initial meeting and criticism he asks for her help and she agrees. After a while they grow to be much more and she soon learns to have a little faith. This book had so many great loveable characters in it. I absolutely loved Darcy and can totally see some of myself in her. Grey is a doll, absolutely brilliant. The rest of the supporting cast, the band and Maddie, are wholly relatable and funny and real. I really wanted to be part of their group! I can’t rave about this book enough! I’m so happy to have read it. It’s a perfect read for pretty much everyone! It’s got great humour in it, sweet romance, and it just makes you feel good. It hooked me from page one and I will definitely be reading it again soon!
I loved this book! Darcy is such a fun main character, and I love love loooooved the chemistry between her and Grey!