Falling for Trouble is a small town romance between a rock star and a librarian. I found it to be light as a feather, which was great because I was too stressed at the time to handle any high angst levels, even with the promise of an HEA. If you need a comfort read that is funny, big on female friendship, and mostly angst-free without being dumbed down, this book should do the trick.
Joanna is a punk rocker who left her small town of Halikarnassus, New York to pursue a career in music. Alas, Joanna’s music career hits a snag and Joanna flees to her hometown, ostensibly to take care of her grandmother, who broke a leg. The grandma, whose name is Peggy, broke her leg by tangling it in her dog’s leash and falling while she (Peggy, not the dog) was admiring the running shorts of the cute new librarian, Liam. Did you get all that? I hope so. It’s the most complicated thing that happens in the book. Frankly I shipped Peggy and Liam much more than I shipped Joanna and Liam, age difference be damned.
Joanna meets Liam for the first time when Liam is engaged in what he calls “Casserole Tetris” at Peggy’s house. This refers to the moment during a crisis when everyone makes casseroles and sends them over and you have to fit them all in the fridge. Liam does this with patience and care and appreciation for the kindness of the cooks. Joanna immediately reads the label on one and throws the whole thing away. “She uses fat-free cheese,” Joanna explains. Joanna is not “nice” but she is a badass. I liked that she was truly rude, not just a little tactless or abrupt. She’s relatable but not “likeable.”
Liam is wonderful but perhaps he’s a little too wonderful, because there’s not a lot to say about him. He recently became the head librarian, he hates being called “Liam the Librarian” but seems resigned to it, he’s patient and good with people, and although he is not a musician he also loves rock music, especially punk rock. He revamped the library, making it more of a community center with books than a book jail, and according to Peggy he has great legs. He is locked in a semi-permanent battle with the mayor, Hal, over library funding.
As long as I’m describing characters: Peggy’s dog’s name is Starr and her contribution to the book is to trip Peggy, bark a lot, and expose Joanna’s softer side. The worst thing that happens to Starr is that people keep taking her for walks, and she would rather stay home. Being a dog is a tough gig.
I like Liam and I like Joanna. They make a cute couple, but as far as relationships go I was more interested in the relationships between Joanna, her best friend (Trina), and her nemesis from high school (Kristin). The conflict between Liam and Joanna is basically “Will Joanna learn to trust and also will she decide to stay in Halikarnassus?” The conflict between Joanna and her friend and archenemy is a lot more complicated. It involves years of history. It involves major life and career choices. It involves Joanna having to accept that she was jerk in high school and it involves the release of old grudges. Best of all, it involves starting a band in the garage, which I am ALWAYS in favor of.
I was not completely satisfied by the ending. For one thing, Kristin is clearly being emotionally abused by her husband (Hal, the jerkass mayor) and that never gets resolved. So now in addition to worrying about the epic list of things I worry about I have to worry about Kristin. Perhaps I missed a line? Something like “Kristen, recently divorced, walked by” would have done it for me. If it’s in there, I didn’t catch it.
Also, the end goes for a weird twist that did not make sense to me. Where did it come from? No idea. What is the future of her band? Again, no idea. I ended the book a little confused.
Overall, I loved this book. It’s not complicated, angsty, and intricate, but it’s exactly what I needed. Joanna’s rude demeanor is a wonderful antidote to sweet, kind heroines. I didn’t realize how much I needed some rudeness in my life until I read this!
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