Published January 27th 2015 by Soho Teen
Format read: ARC via publisher
But soon JJ’s dream is shattered by tragedy, and she must navigate a web of troubled pasts, hidden identities, and tangled secrets—before it snares her, too.
Author/songwriting legend Cynthia Weil introduces us to the burgeoning 1960s rock-and-roll music scene through the eyes of JJ, a young girl who is determined to become a songwriter. After talking her way into an internship at a prominent recording company, JJ becomes working on writing a song that will make people stand up and take notice of her talent.
While she initially struggles, a chance meeting with new friend Luke Silver and a legendary singer helps JJ develop her talent. However, JJ quickly realizes that the music industry is one that comes with its own secrets and often at a price...
What was great about I'm Glad I Did, was that Weil makes it clear from the get-go that this isn't just going to be a book about a girl's music dreams. Instead, she draws upon the rich tapestry of history from the period, and also makes this a story about gender inequality, racial divides and the troubled lives of musical superstars who dominated the period.
Though JJ's own struggles to live up to her lawyer mother's glass ceiling-smashing legacy is a nice nod to the burgeoning feminist movements of the period, it's JJ's relationship with Luke Silver that is the most compelling throughout the book. Weil does a fine job of spinning a convincing look at the magic that JJ and Luke experience when working together - a nod to Weil's own career - while also providing a believable, touching backstory for Luke, and his relationship to JJ.
Though Luke's struggles are complex and multi-faceted, Weil handles them with a patient hand, and shows how his journey of self-discovery helps influence JJ's own growth. All in all, both come out of the story better, and wiser, just like the reader. With an additional mystery and some music industry crime also included into the book, this is one story that readers will not be able to put todwn.
JJ's journey is a melodic one, imbued with a reminder on the importance of pursuing one's passions, but also a nice nod that in every industry, there will be those who will find and support your passions.
About the author:
Cynthia Weil is a member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, as well as the multi-Grammy-winning songwriter of classic songs like “On Broadway,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (the most performed song of the 20th century), and “Somewhere Out There,” which was a double Grammy winner and an Oscar nominee. A New Yorker at heart, she has lived in Southern California for many years with her husband and writing partner, Barry Mann. Cynthia’s and Barry’s younger selves and their songs are featured in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. I’m Glad I Did is her first novel.