I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
Just Like a Musical is a YA coming-of-age story. You know that time in life when the blinders come off, and we begin to see everything around us a bit more clearly. Frankly, I wasn't pulled into the story from the beginning. I'm so glad I kept reading. Had I stopped I would have missed an adorable story with one of the quirkiest cast of characters I've ever read.
Ruby is a very sheltered teenager with a mom who's over-the-top protective. It's obvious early on that Ruby's mother is coping with and trying to atone for past sins with her mother hen nature. She never recovered from her guilt over the harm she caused by not caring for herself and her unborn baby during the pregnancy. It's only a matter of time before Ruby rebels against such smothering attention. Ruby is an unusual girl with a somewhat quirky nature. She feels like she was born out of time and wishes she was alive during the golden age of Hollywood.
Joshua is the troubled leading man, handsome but brooding, adorable quirks and all. He has Tourette's Syndrome which can lead to some very unfortunate situations. Joshua lost his sister to cancer and his family moved to California to escape the memories. His family is broken, not coping with the loss because they probably don't know how. But I think Joshua ends up lost without emotional support from his parents.
This novel features a long cast of quirky characters; from the fortune teller in Arizona to the old man in Oklahoma City. In some way, everyone in this novel is different from the standard clones we consider the norm. Following Ruby and Joshua on their adventure from California to Oklahoma was enjoyable every step of the way. I never knew what would happen next, and that's the true beauty of this novel. I laughed and I cried... and I think I may have snorted a few times.
I recommend Just Like a Musical to ages 13+, with a warning that there is some mature language. Not Joshua, he shouts, "Moron," when he's stressed or excited. It makes for some interesting scenes.