Blog Tour + Giveaway: Finding Home - Lauren McKellar

Monday, December 9, 2013

Finding Home - Lauren McKellar
Title: Finding Home
Author: Lauren K. Mckellar
Published Date: October 01, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing

Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit...

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realizes that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

My Thoughts:
This was a story about a teenager’s life that dealt on misunderstandings, mistakes, healing, love and mostly, growth. It covered issues that were striking a chord in every teen. It had the problem yet the author also gave solutions and answers. It was sort of a book wherein a troubled teen could seek comfort and could feel that if he or she was going on teen life, he or she could relate (one way or another).

I could not wrap my head about the story at first. The book rubbed me off in a wrong side. I wanted to fully connect with it. Amy did not come as a good girl yet she was not a bad girl either. She was so closed-off. It was all sorts of wrong – her friends, her ‘boyfriend’, plainly, her life. I was craving for something positive. I did lose some point reading it because I needed something good. Then the story seemed getting clear. It was just like reality, this just showed the bad side. Maybe too much which had left me grimacing at some parts but there were definitely upsides on the story. It showed the bad first before it progressed to a suitable good.

I praised how the story progressed. How the protagonist was on her way to maturity: she, Amy, was growing as an individual. I would not say that she totally matured, but the character enlightenment and growth were things that were definitely needed to be pointed out. Amy was in that process of discovering herself to be open-minded and be responsible. It was focused on that ‘one step at a time’ progress, it was slow but not too slow, it was just right. It depicted that she was learning step-by-step; wherein I applauded the author because it was realistic in a sense that it was not an exaggerated metanoia part on Amy’s side.

The protagonist, Amy, was a confused and lost character. I understood her character but I kept her at a distance (at first), she came wrong in so many ways for me: uncouth, unappreciative (unless it was Luke) and alcoholic. Then as what I had written, she was just a confused character; she was not welcoming any help and she was not able to grieve. That being said, a background about Amy: her mother died and her father was a rock star; her father decided it would be better if Amy studied in a real school (since she was just being home-schooled, she was tagged-along with her father’s band and she was drinking so much *she was not even of the legal age). She did not have any say regarding her father’s decision, she was sent to her aunt and there she started her mid-school year. She also blamed her father regarding her mother’s death because her father loved his music so much.
Was it really her father’s fault?
Or was it she overlooked so she was not able to see the real reason?
It was always easier to do the blame game.

Her Mum rubbed me in all the wrong places. What Mum does that to her daughter? That bar scene and how her mother lost herself. Amy’s pasts were baffling and bleak. I thought it was exaggerated but it was not. It made sense as the next chapter or when Amy remembered her past. The mystery about her Mom resurfaced. How incongruous was it that Amy was doing the reason her mother’s life perished? But she needed to know what the truth was. As for her Dad? Her Dad let her be, he knew the truth but he did not say it. He knew that Amy was becoming the same thing but he did not do anything but think of what he thought was the best. It was not that he was weak, but like Amy, he was trying to cope and trying to fix things he thought he could. But he could not. He was very concerned, he tried really had but it was not enough for Amy to understand.

What would this story revolve with aside from family drama? Of course (let’s pretend you did guess it), romance. There were two guys here, not really much of a love triangle per se but sort of.
Amy was completely smitten with Luke. Luke was a character made to be swooned at but hated harder. He knew his advantages and he used it well. As much as Luke was that sort of jock that everyone fell in love with, he was off-limits and must not be crossed. Yes, Luke had a girlfriend, Coral, but he was cheating on her and told Amy what Amy wanted to hear. Amy was a fool in love and she knew it was wrong. I really hoped that from the start, Amy backed off, that if a guy could blatantly do that to his girlfriend; a girl (even having a mega-crush) should have been turned off. He had that prowess in him: charming, athletic but mostly, calculated. Definitely a guy who could lure through his charisma and could leave a girl shattered.
I was a fan of bassists but since Luke just threw me off, I found myself swooning over a certain lead guitarist (note: they were only in this music class where they need to play as a band of four and create a song but the lead really had a band outside school). This lead knew how to play, knew his passion and held such enthusiasm to music that you knew what something he loved and cherished. I took a phrase in the book: alive with anticipation to play. The name to watch for: Nick. If Amy did not like him at first, I surely did. He was a rocker, but not those with tunnels or piercings (those just made me cringe), though he has a tat. With piercing blue eyes, rocker-bad-boy persona that was oozing of him, and always on a lookout for Amy; a definite book boyfriend to keep.

When you were a teenager, being open-minded to what was happening around you was very difficult – the thing was: you did not think you were selfish but it was the truth. Teenagers try to focus on themselves and thought that if things did not go on what the supposed plan was, it would be unfair.
Adults always want to talk things through, to reach out and to communicate. But teens did not want that, the awkwardness feeling. There were often times that I disliked Amy – her rudeness sometimes was just overboard: to her Aunt and Dad. I knew she had issues but that did not excuse her to be so crude. I was happy that she still felt guilty, at least hope was not lost and that she had still the decency to be ashamed of her actions. Let them make their own mistakes then let them learn from it.

I was in search of a positive note and I searched two paradoxes: Music and Nick.
She blamed her father’s music. But Amy had that innate knack for music. She loved it and it healed her. Like her father, it was how her father coped after everything.  How music was the subject Amy felt ruined yet it was the escape and freedom she had held on to and made her feel alive. I was hoping to catch the song. I could imagine the melody but words would have been better. A lyric would be nice so I would have known how she felt and what those words meant and made an impact to her.
Then there was Nick, I liked how it was easy and how Amy and him connected. Though, Amy had this twisted thoughts about people in a band because she felt how she became second through her Dad. She already had made a stereotype and judgment about Nick. But there were a lot more about him. Nick was that guide for her; that wise guy for her. He had been through a lot but it matured him. He was the person Amy could have confided with. It was true: you could give the best advice if you experienced it yourself; Nick did so he knew what to say – not what Amy wanted to hear but what she needed to hear.

I was pretty judgmental and I thought Lily was a bad influence. She, Lily, had become a real and true friend. You would know if you have a real friend when he or she knows how to call your sh*t:
‘Snap the hell out of it.’
“Light shone into my room for the first time in days. I didn’t want to see it, but I let it come in, anyway.”
She did snap out of it and it was a breath of fresh air. There were concerned people: her Dad, Lou, Nick, Lily; and she did not listen. Mostly at Lou, where she just borderline was such a pain. She was at that point wherein she was full of herself; but when she got all her fuzzy brain to clear up, she began to realize things. Then she started to apologize to her Dad (and Lou). She just needed to face her past. She needed to learn the happiness, the betrayal, the craziness, the regrets, to overcome what was next. She was being held back by these. To be able know her true friends and to be stronger. It was that she learnt it the hard way. That made her a human and real to me, those mistakes. It was an added bonus that she realized that every little and big thing that was happening and had happened to her was all worth it. And sorry for the overrated but very true depiction of a teenager: The feeling of invincibility.

She lost everything just to found out that things would be going back in place – not the same but with a scar that would let her learn. I felt sorry and humiliated for her; Amy’s firsts were just horrid and I cannot but felt sorry for her: first kiss and how she had swiped her V-card. Kudos, Amy. You regained my belief in you. Aside from facing your past, called after the BS (yes, the curse word); it was about time to file a complaint. It was hard to say and to prove but at least you did it! Amy just needed to face all that past, difficulties and insecurities before she could totally move forward. And found her home.

Rating: 3.5 - 4 out of 5.

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Author Bio:
Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, will be released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013.

As well as being a magazine editor for a national audited publication on pet care, Lauren works as a freelance editor for independent authors. She is also a Senior Editor for digital romance house, Entranced Publishing.

Lauren is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is obsessed with words--she really likes the way they work.

She lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with her fiance and their two fur-children.

Author Links:
Website     |     Goodreads     |     Twitter     |     Facebook

-     Jassie

1 sprinkled sunshines:

Camelle Rogando said...

very detailed review :D Thank you Jassie! :D

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