Tegan Lockwood lives in England, settled in a village of snooty and rich neighbors who look down their noses at her and her family. Ever since her parents had bought Lockwood Manor, they have been deep in debt despite the shiny exterior of their home that screams riches. During the summer, Tegan spends long hours laboring keeping the family business alive, a vacation spot for tourists in her own home. Each summer, there is a constant stream of people in her home and she is used to it.
That is, until Mason Keane comes to live with them. He’s an American pop star, loved by his many 12-year-old fans, and Tegan despises him for his cocky attitude, repetitive songs, and long history of romances. But, like any unlikely pair, they find themselves drawn to each other, despite their outward differences, because they might not be that different at all.
I loved this book from start to finish and couldn’t bear to finish it. Think of it like tea- I sipped it, rather than shooting it down like a shot, and each page left me satisfied. Dallas’s writing is full of imagery and his characters are so well developed that I felt like I knew all the characters personally. I smiled at their successes and laughed at their humor. I even felt second-hand embarrassment, like when Mason caught Tegan staring at him working out (I would do it too, no one blames you girl).
The book synopsis sounds cliche- famous pop star falls in love with the one girl that isn’t his fan. But this book’s imagery, characters, and inside information on the music industry made it not at all the cliche book you would expect. Hidden away from his fans, Mason isn’t a popular singer and is just the raw and hurt person hidden inside. As you progress through the book, you see his painful history and his lonliness and he becomes just another person with a broken soul instead of a face on the front of magazines. Once Mason became a regular person, the differences between him and Tegan disappeared because of her own personal painful history- why she is distrustful of men and her secret hopes and desires.
Tegan and Mason are a perfect pair. They are both singers and songwriters, but one ended up famous and singing lyrics that aren’t even his own and the other hides away her songs. When Tegan finally started seeing Mason for who he was, a sweet guy with a sense of humor to rival her own, she started to cast away her barriers. The times when they sing together, I can almost feel the electric intensity between them and imagine the sound of their voices intermingling and the feel of Mason’s fingers under Tegan’s as she helps him play the piano. Sometimes in romance books, it feels like the romance was forced down our throats (*cough cough* Tamlin and Feyre from ACOTAR) by the author, but their love comes so smoothly and naturally as if they are soulmates. I particularly liked their “seduction battles” where they tried to seduce the other in public settings under the oblivious eyes of Tegan’s family. If they were real people, I wouldn’t even crush on Mason, no matter how hot he is, because I wouldn’t be able to bear the idea of him being with anyone else than Tegan. However, even in their perfection and chemistry (think the chemistry of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling), they are nearly pulled apart because of Tegan’s internal distrust of both Mason’s history as portrayed by the media and men in general.
I found the details about the music industry to be the most interesting. As a singer himself, Dallas Coryell has a lot of details that he put to use while describing Mason’s musical history. Mason is in debt, far more than Tegan’s family, despite what the public believes. His songs he writes are given to other artists who sing that type of music, while his boss gives him repetive pop music that apparently the teenage girls will love. Even his personality and attitude is changed in the sake of making teenage girls fall in love with him and bringing more money to the music industry. He is unhappy, unloved (the girls are only in love with the idea of him- his portrayed personality- but not the person he is inside), and he can remain that way if he only signs to work for them for 5 years and as a result signs away part of his life. However, he will be free of debt and have enough money to live on for the rest of his life. Facing a difficult desicion, he is sent to Lockwood Manor to hide away and contemplate.
Tegan’s family was a detail that made the book for me. I love books that give the main character’s history with their family and connects the reader with the family. There is her rambunctuous sister who has a history of trading pranks with Tegan, part of their close relationship. Then there are her brothers, her “wanker” (“” because Mason called him this with a fake British accent and it cracked me up) brother Noah and her much less wankerish brother Joseph. Then, there are her parents, who are fulfilling their dream with their business, but live in fear of losing it.
There is one last detail that I would like to mention- letters that Tegan found in her home’s attic between Violet and Jonathon. Violet, who had to marry another man instead of her true love Jonathon, and Jonathon, who went to war while still pining over his lover. These letters are the extent of Tegan’s love life, and although they aren’t incredibly important to the storyline, they, with other details, add a special touch to the book that doesn’t leave any boring moments.
You may be tired of cliche books, but this is not your typical one. Even the ending is unexpected for a seemingly cliche book. It is a love story, one full of breaking past barriers and past pains. The fact that Mason is famous only adds to his personality instead of making it a major part of the story. I challenge you to get rid of your fear of cliche books and dive into this one.
Thank you to Dallas Coryell for sending me his book! This does not at all impact my obsession with this book or any opinions I have.
Fun Fact: all of the songs by Mason and Tegan in this book are sung by Dallas Coryell. You can find the song “Into You” here.