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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

*Warning: spoilers and mentions of addiction are included in this review*

My oh my, what a book. Though she has quickly risen to fame, I was holding myself back from reading any novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid to save for a rainy day or to get myself out of a reading slump. But I couldn’t stay away from her any longer; the rumours of the novel turning into a TV show had me bite the bullet and finally read this masterpiece.

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book, but I’m still here to give a full review — with critiques — to let you know what you’ll be diving into once you open these pages.

Plot Summary

This novel is all about the classic era of 70s rock ‘n’ roll. Sex, drugs and music are the enveloping themes that braid this story together. Daisy Jones, a young adult who is finding her way through the music scene in LA, is trying to find a way to be herself and live her life to the fullest. Through her natural talent and good looks, Daisy is quickly signed to a record label — a label that also signed a rock band that is quickly rising in popularity: The Six. With the mix of talent between Daisy and the lead singer of The Six, Billy Dunne, it’s clear to the label that they need to bring these singers together.

Told through a series of interviews with Daisy, the bandmembers of the Six, as well as managers, journalists and agents, this book goes through the entire history, beginning to end, of the band that rose the charts and changed rock ‘n’ roll as we know it.

The catch? This is a work of complete fiction.

Compelling Characters

When I got to the end of the book and realized this wasn’t a real band — I’m embarrassed to say, I was very confused. Reid had created these characters in such as phenomenal way, giving each their own personality, history, and ideas. I was in complete disbelief they weren’t real people.

If there’s one thing that shines out of this novel, it’s that Reid was able to piece together integral facts and details into all of her characters. She changed the way each interviewee spoke and acted, and gave them true independent personalities.

She even had some of the characters act as though they didn’t want to be interviewed and that they gave quick emailed responses to be put in the book. Her ideas and presentation were seamless. They instantly grasp you into wanting to know the littlest details behind the lives of each bandmate.

Daisy is a clear frontrunner in this novel and is the epitome of the drug-using, sexy, natural singer that is just there to party till she drops. While at times I got bored of the obvious patterns Daisy was following, I think her struggle with addiction was well laid out and gave a sense of just how many drugs were out there and easily available at this time for people like her.

However, I didn’t like how easily she went to rehab and cleaned herself up by the end of the book. It seemed like too easy of a fix and a little lazy of Reid to finish as such. That being said, Daisy’s actions and repeated mistakes, along with her trouble finding her identity, allowed the readers to easily connect with her.

Billy Dunne, another primary character in this rock scene was equally, if not more, developed and interesting than Daisy. Instead of focusing so much on his looks or how he dressed, we got to know the real Billy: the troubled, micro-managing, bossy, caring, loving Billy who struggles between addiction and taking care of his family.

I really enjoyed getting to see where Billy went, what would push him over the edge, and how far he’d go to make his wife and girls happy. Though he may not have been the most likeable person, I was truly invested in what would happen to him. I’m not ashamed to say that the part where Billy is at the bar — and a man asks him about his family, slowly taking the glass away from Billy — made me tear up.

Though each of the band members could easily get their own paragraph, to save you from too many spoilers, I’ll quickly say that each of them was really well written. There was not one that seemed less detailed or meaningful They were each portrayed in a way with their own characteristics that I could easily identify and learn from each one.

Karen, the keyboardist, was the ultimate girl-power rocker who put herself and her needs before any man. I loved how she continued to be unforgivable herself and especially liked her views on Daisy’s actions. Being the only two girls in the band, it was really interesting to see their different views on their bandmates.

This may come as a surprise, but I also really liked Warren, the drummer of the band! I loved his laid-back point of view on things. His quiet yet forwardness about the events the band went through… I think he may have resembled the true rockstars of the 70s the most.

Critiques

As mentioned previously, I felt that the end of the book was too rushed. The entire novel seemed to be culminating into this one last show in Chicago, and while the pages dripped with anticipation and the explosion of plots weaving to an explosive end, the actual ending where we learn more about what happened to the bandmates years after their time together was…disappointing. I couldn’t help but feel that we were missing something, that there was one final itch Reid just couldn’t scratch.

Daisy’s ending was, in my opinion, rushed and too happy. A girl like that, with the troubles we learned about, hardly ever goes to rehab and comes out with the drive and passion to make the world a better place. It takes time and relationships to try and piece yourself back together, so I feel her ending was too easy. I did like Billy’s ending, though I wasn’t too impressed with Camilla’s (his wife’s) last email.

STOP READING and skip to the next section if you don’t want the ending spoiled!

I didn’t enjoy the “will-he-won’t he” section about whether he would call Daisy’s number or not. If Reid wanted to end the book with the possibility of Billy and Daisy meeting again, she should have had the two of them meet up years later and end it before we know what they’ll say to each other. That would have been a much more interesting and passionate ending, rather than us ending with an email hinting that Billy could visit Daisy.

overall rating: 5/5

I usually reserve 5 stars for books that are life-changing or change my perspective on something — however, this book grasped me into a reading frenzy. I could not put it down! I think the simple fact that Reid had convinced me this was a real band deserves five stars for the novel. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy fiction and non-fiction since it relays the past of the 70s so well and seems so true!

Rachel Fiset

Carleton '23

Rachel is a Journalism and Political Science combined honours student. She loves to write, read, and learn any way she can! Rachel enjoys keeping busy, and along with HerCampus is involved with The Charlatan, CKCU 93.1 FM, Book Ravens, and the Campus Activity Board.
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