Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Book Release Day and Review: Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass

Happy Book Birthday to this wonderful YA contemporary!

Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon | The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that's when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

Where the Rhythm Takes You is such a joyous read that will keep you up all night and really give you that sweet contemporary YA experience. It is set in the beautiful backdrop of Tobago and I found myself longing to walk along the beaches, try the food, and wanting to experience everything it has to offer. This book deals with the loss of a loved one, learning to let go, and letting yourself fall into your passions. It has really left me with a fuzzy feeling, wanting to seize the day and nurture those passions that bring me joy. 

Ever since her mother died, our main character Reyna has been making sure to look after her family's hotel in Tobago and making sure it meets the standards that her mum put in place. She even put her dream of going to study art with her best friend aside. Reyna is shocked when she finds that her ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is now a major music celebrity, is coming to stay at the hotel and she has to be his tour guide. Throughout the book, we learn more and more about their history and where it went wrong. The slow burn of Reyna and Aiden's romance just killed me... and I loved it. Sometimes I felt Aiden could have shown a little more emotion and having a dual POV would have been really great at certain points within this book, however, I enjoyed Reyna's side nonetheless and the story of their second chance love tied up nicely by the end.

The way Reyna's mother's death is told to us felt so raw and so real it brought me to tears a few times. And her difficult relationship with her father and her best friend also felt realistic. There are also some funny laugh-out-loud scenes that came from Aiden's celebrity friends, who all felt so down to earth that they were a joy to read about. I loved the 'fame' aspect of the book didn't overtake the storyline. I do not think anything in the story really shocked or surprised me, there were no major twists in a sense. I would have liked something like this in the overarching plot, but it also worked fine without it. There may be some things that were seemingly predictable, but there's no denying that this book is such a fun read it did not matter.

I would highly recommend Where the Rhythm Takes You if you're looking for a YA contemporary that has all the classic ingredients but feels fresh at the same time. There is also a brilliant soca playlist at the back of the book, which is a genre I had never listened to before! This book is so easy to slip into. I read it over the course of a few days and each time I picked it up I felt I was returning home to friends. I cannot wait to read more from Sarah Dass because this debut novel hit the spot. 


4.5 Falling Books

Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing an eARC on Edelweiss

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