Book Reviews Books

Book Review: TURN IT UP! by Jen Calonita

TURN IT UP! was the kind of book you read simply to have fun. It was cute, fast-paced, and will most likely make you want to break out in song at the top of your lungs.

The main characters are best friends with plans to revive their school a cappella singing group, The Nightingales, that has fizzled out over the years. The two captains, Lidia and Sydney, cannot wait to implement their plans and make their leadership what turns things around. But, as so often is the case, there is a complete misunderstanding, the girls trust what they think they know instead of honestly talking, and that leads to a cascade of imagined and real hurts, putting the a cappella group in a downward spiral.

If you’re a fan of really mature characters who make wise decisions and think wise thoughts, this book is definitely NOT for you. Avoid it at all costs. The novel starts out with a pretty petty fight between Lidia and Sydney, two of our main characters, all because of a boy. I instantly felt distant from these girls as their actions were very immature and as supposed best friends, they were keeping tons of secrets from each other. But I kept reading because no matter how much I deny it, I always enjoy drama.

Sydney was… I have lots of thoughts on Sydney. Even if she was nice and determined, it was incredibly grating to see how self-centered she was 85% of the time. All she cared about The Nightingales and never anyone else like, their feelings don’t matter. She had some good moments but I couldn’t help but be annoyed by her attitude. Lidia was super sweet, even if she overreacted a bit at the beginning. I thought her decisions were very bold, and it was kind of inspiring to see her chase the dreams she wanted, not the ones her family wished for her to follow. Julianna was the most adorable human, and I just want to give her a gigantic bear hug. She was so talented, and even if she went through some tough times, she still stood up and kept going.

I could care less about Sydney and Griffin’s relationship status, to be honest. It’s not like I hate them, they go very well together actually, but I couldn’t bring myself to care that much about the King & Queen of DramaLand. Lidia and Jack, however… I want to start a petition for Jen Calonita to write a 500-page book all about them. They were the absolute cutest. So nerdy and always hungry for chocolate. Actual relationship goals right there. In summary, I’m obsessed with them and I want a Jack in my life.

The plot was super fun and the pacing, I’m still in shock. This is one of the physical books I’ve read the quickest since I became a bookworm. It was really fast-paced, and I couldn’t help but keep flipping the pages. Before I realized, I had read 95 pages in an hour and a half, which is a huge high for me. I was gripped from the start, and when a book accomplishes that, I will never forget it.

The writing was pretty basic. Your typical early-2000s YA writing that is very descriptive (which I like) but it exaggerates a lot (which I don’t particularly like) and it is mega witty and quirky (which I don’t mind). It was written in third person POV and I wasn’t bored or distracted or wanting to bash my head into a wall, so that’s a plus.

Turn It Up! is the book you read to get out of a reading slump or to completely escape a book hangover. You can pick it as your beach read or let it be a part of your annual summer contemporary marathon. It is a quick and fun ride. It incorporates friendship, love, music, and teeny bits of diversity here and there, which I highly appreciated.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Turn It Up! by Jen Calonita releases this January 2nd, 2018, on online retailers and stores everywhere. You can pre-order it now via Amazon.

The Nightingales are in a serious funk. Bradley Academy’s all-girl a cappella group used to be the pride and joy of the sunshine state, but the Nightingales have fallen out of harmony. Best friends and co-captains Lidia Sato and Sydney Marino aren’t speaking. A boy has come between them — none other┬áthan Griffin Mancini, the obnoxious lead singer of Bradley’s smug all-boy a capella group, the Kingfishers. The Nightingales have no chance at winning the big state final if their captains are at each other’s throats. Their only hope is new girl Julianna Ramirez. She’s super shy, but she has some serious pipes. The three girls — and the whole group — will have to come together if they want to beat the Kingfishers and their rivals from Julianna’s old school. Told from alternating points of view, this novel explores the ups and downs of friendship, romance, competition, and finding the perfect song!