Cover Image: Somebody That I Used to Know

Somebody That I Used to Know

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3.5 Stars. My feelings towards this book changed throughout. While there were some elements I did not love, overall the core characters and theme won me over. I’ll break my review down into what I loved and what I didn’t love.

What I Loved:
- Dylan’s musical talent remained at the forefront of the plot. It was beautiful to see her love of the violin from her perspective and how it has shaped her life. I lived with a music performance major in college, so that aspect of the story felt genuine to me. The hours of practice, the kind but intense teacher, and the stress over choosing an audition piece were all familiar.
- Dylan as a whole was an excellent main character. She had a deep character arc and it was lovely to see her blossom and accept all parts of herself.
- Legend was a very sweet and nuanced character. No toxic male love interests here!

What I Didn’t Love
- In light of the Britney Spears controversy, the conservatorship subplot did not sit well with me.
- Some of the teen dialogue felt awkward and outdated. I’m not sure teenagers (particularly Legend) talk like that.
- It was hard to tell what year it was. There were copious references to girls wearing fuzzy Ugg boots, which felt very 2013 to me.
- Dylan’s parents were obsessed with Legend to the point of it being weird.

All thoughts expressed in this review are my own. Thanks to NetGalley for the ebook to review!

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I was a little worried at first. I felt the book started a little slow and I wasn’t really into it. I’m glad I kept going because mid way through I was invested.

Dylan Woods is a high school violinist with dreams of making it to Juilliard. She’s very dedicated and focused but that focus is interrupted when Legendary, a childhood friend turn superstar (who she hasn’t heard from since he made it big), comes to visit.

I think the thing I enjoyed most of how Dylan was unable to keep up a facade with Legend. Dylan is Black and was adopted by a white family. She hides parts of herself to fit in with her family and classmates which Legend often called her out on.

I won’t give the entire book away but I can saw that overall I enjoyed this book. Even got teary eyed a few times towards the end.

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Thank you NetGalley and Skyscape for this eARC and the opportunity to read and review it!

As a music fan and a second chance romance trope lover, I really enjoyed this book! I'm not a trained musician so I couldn't connect to some of the music references as well as others might, but it was still a joy to read and is an absolutely perfect book for people who are musicians or just love music alike.

It was a lot of fun following Dylan's arc as the story progressed and I related to her dedication to following her dreams and applying to Juilliard to be a musician. I would say that it might be a bit unrealistic in the grand scheme of things to have her only goal be just to get into one school, but I also only applied to one college and just crossed my fingers that I would get in, so it was relatable and realistic enough to me.

I wasn't a fan of the idea of how the love interest, Langston, essentially ghosts her for several years and then resurfaces into her life, but other than that, I had fun reading this!

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Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Somebody That I Used to Know is a story about Dylan, a violinist who’s only school she applied to for college is Juliard, and Legendary, her mega-famous childhood best friend who ghosted her for no reason after he moved to LA. But now he’s coming back to their hometown—and even staying in Dylan’s house—and he wants to go through and complete their bucket list they started when they were kids before he leaves. Will they be able to reconcile their old selves with their new ones? And will they be able to rekindle their old friendship (and perhaps something more)?

Things I Loved:

LEGENDARY!!! It took me a while to warm up to him, but I was probably in love with him by the end of the book. Yes, he has flaws, but I’m in love with those too. He, and the other characters as well, were all so complex and well-written, and I absolutely adored that. Even side characters who barely appeared had more than one dimension.

Dylan’s struggle with her identity really captivated me while reading. I cried multiple times. Bravo.

Also, the way music is described is just so wonderful. As a musician myself, I felt so seen in those moments, and those feelings you get when you’re into the music were so perfectly described that I’m sure non-musicians will be able to easily put themselves in Dylan’s shoes while reading.

Things I Didn’t Love:

The ending. It makes me sad to say, but I think the ending could’ve been fleshed out more, or better yet, cut down. Without spoiling anything, I will say that what I’m referring to is the reason there is a time skip between the last chapter and the epilogue. I don’t think that added conflict was necessary, and it did take me out of the story. The way it was tied up, while cute, felt a bit rushed and didn’t really make any sense when considering the reason for the conflict in the first place. I still loved this book, but I was disappointed at its end.

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I'm very impressed at how this book turned out to be to be honest. The writing was very well thought of and crafted and I'm looking forward to the author's future projects!

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Thank you so much Skyscape and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

TW: racial microaggressions (focused on hair), car accident (mentioned)

Omigosh, if I could I would have read this book in one sitting (instead it took me 3 days)! As an amateur pianist, I loved every music reference, the book hitting just the right spots. Now all I want to do is just play piano ALL. THE. TIME.

Dylan Woods, a violinist whose main goal in her teenage life is to get to Juilliard, spends every free second practicing her instrument to make her dream come true. All this is disrupted by the arrival of Dylan’s ex-friend from her childhood. Six years ago Langston left for Los Angeles, where he became one of the most famous music stars and… never contacted Dylan again. And now he is back with their childhood commandment list, bringing up in Dylan all the nostalgia and emotions connected to the ex-friendship’s sudden end.

- As I already mentioned, I loved EVERY music reference. All Dylan’s practice, contests mentions and stuff just made me chills and brought up memories of me playing contests and exams during my time in music school.
- The representation of Black people, including Black female violinist!
- Rainy Day Cafe – I wish I could visit there! Sounds like a perfect cafe.
- Pop culture references, especially Dungeon & Dragons! It made me want to play D&D right away!
- Dylan’s parent as an example of interracial adoption. They do not pretend that they know everything, but do research and seek mentors to actually support their daughter.
- I love how Dylan’s relationship with herself changed throughout the story, her hero journey. And that is thanks to Langston.
- Aunt Edith. Just Aunt Edith.
- Kiyoshi and some Japanese phrases embedded in dialogues.

- This whole Dylan-Langston relationship. I mean, okay, not all of it – I loved the chemistry between them, they were really great together. However, him being silent for SIX YEARS and then his “apologies” that were not really apologies was what made me think he did not really care for her. It all felt disingenuous.
- Dylan’s parents being SO EXCITED about Langston living in their house. I mean, they knew Langston for years when he was a kid, so why were they so obsessed with him?

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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I loved the banter between Langston and Dylan. I think that the bucket list was genius and an amazing way to rekindle their old friendship. Langston is now this super bad boy R&B music star that came up really fast but was forced to stay with Dylan's parents for a little while.

Throughout the story, we see Dylan battle to want to talk to him and be around him, all while trying to stay mad at him and unfriend him. But when she finds out that Langston kept their bucket list and wants to start marking things off the list, she finds that her feelings go just a little bit beyond friendship.

The only reason I gave this 3.5 stars is that YA just does not resonate with me anymore, and this one was no exception. It felt childlike and too convenient for my liking, even though I really enjoyed the overall story and rekindling between Dylan and Langston. Unfortunately, YA just doesn't tickle that little scratch in my brain simply because it feels too juvenile, but that's not at all the author's or genre's fault, it's simply not what I like anymore.

Thank you NetGalley and Skyscape for allowing me to read an advance copy of "Somebody That I Used to Know" in exchange for my honest review and thoughts.

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SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW by Dana L. Davis has so much potential. The main character Dylan and her friends are talented, ambitious teens who are interesting, diverse characters. However, I struggled to connect with the book almost immediately because the banter among the characters felt so stiff. It was also hard to follow--not because it was too fast, but because it was not rooted in place or character. From there, it was also very difficult to believe Dylan had only applied to Juilliard; what musician with that much dedication and ambition would risk applying to only one school? And, as other reviewers have mentioned, it was hard to believe Dylan's parents were so over-the-top about Langston/Legendary staying with them that her parents would insist she miss meeting a prestigious violin player because they wanted her to buy green tea.

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Overall, I enjoyed the story of Dylan and her growth. The author touched on many points in this novel about Dylan's journey of a young Black girl adopted violinist who uncovers herself while working towards a dream.

Because the story had many layers, I found humor, empathy, and self-awareness throughout the story. I appreciated the author displaying numerous perspectives about artists even though some could be considered stereotypical. I also appreciate that the story was mostly realistic, but there were some parts that reminded me that this was definitely a fictional story. I liked the fictional aspects because they caused me to use my imagination and dream a bit more.

I think this story could be enjoyable for teens who want to unwind with a good book that doesn't have too much drama.

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Thank you so much to netgalley for this arc. This review is my own thoughts. Dylan is an 18 year old violinist whose dream is to attent Juilliard. She's been practicing her whole life when suddenly a blast from the past comes to town. Big music star legendary is back after 6 long years of silence. At first Dylan is irritated and hated the thought of him being there again. She felt hurt that he and his mom had left her in the wind without a word for so long. While he's there he brings out a list of commandments they had written together when they were young. It was a list of things they had to do together before they turned 18. Legendary wants to complete the list while he's there, but will Dylan go along with it? There's a lot of ups and downs with their relationship and also Dylans relationship with herself. She hides behind colored contacts and hair extensions because she thinks that will help her fit society's standard of beauty. I liked reading about her growth and finding the beauty she possessed all along. There are mentions of racism, especially concerning her hair and a car accident. The pacing felt a bit off in some parts, but overall I enjoyed the story.

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Whether it's in the library, in the bookstore, or browsing for ARCs, I simply must pick up every music related romance that comes into my line of sight. So, when I saw Somebody That I Used To Know I just had to request it. Thank you @netgalley for the chance to read and review this book.

Things I loved:

🎻 Second chance romance / ex best friend trope
🎻 The focus on Black musicians and composers in history
🎻 The beauty of Black women is a conversation threaded throughout this story that I loved for our female MC Dylan
🎻 Dylan's parents serve as an example of thoughtful and loving interracial adoption. They do their research and seek mentors to best support their daughter, admitting to what they do not know.
🎻 The coffee shop is so cool and I want to go there!
🎻 Representation of Black female violinists!! We need so much more of this in schools (I could go on a tirade here)

Things that didn't work for me:

🎻 I was not invested in the love story. Langston's reasons for ghosting Dylan for YEARS, and later his "apologies" feel disingenuous and honestly condescending to me.
🎻 Some of the violin / orchestra content was strange. Many high schools are different, but I found myself confused with seeing a band style seating battle as a main plot point.
🎻 This book really feels like it pushes perfection over nothing. Dylan ONLY applies to Julliard. As a prior high school orchestra director and private violin teacher, I really struggle with the idea of telling my high schoolers to place all of their dreams on one school. It is far too much pressure and stresses that the only way they can become a great musician is through Julliard. This is simply untrue. I think the point that Dylan is destined for greatness could have been achieved in a better model for high schoolers reading it.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Exceeded my expectations. Characters were easily to relate to. Plot was believable, and dialogue was realistic. Will recommend to others.

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Loved it! As a Black woman who plays piano, I also have a strong connection to music that was beautifully shown through the main character in this book, Dylan. The author did a great job of incorporating various cultures and genres of music into the story. Dylan's relationship with her family, her friends, and Legend warmed my heart. This is definitely a book I would recommend to young readers!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Skyscape for this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I'm giving this a 3.5 rating but please take into consideration YA contemporary is just not my genre. I tried it out and it's not for me. If this were a movie though, I'd watch it in a heartbeat!
CW: racial microaggressions, racism
I really didn't want to be the first to review this on Goodreads but it looks like I will be. I haven't posted it yet because I want to include a summary. I think the biggest thing working against this book right now is that it doesn't have a summary or a picture of the cover on Goodreads. It's already on Amazon, so I really think someone should fix that soon.
The story itself was nice, not too deep. Some of the dialogue was kind of cringe (which, who wasn't at that age?) It kept you on your toes at the end I really was about to be mad if they left it like that 🤣
This was a really fun read! Also the cover is stunning, show it off!

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Thank you Netgalley for an opportunity to read this book

OMG THIS BOOK IS LEGENDARY (no pun intended). This book is beautifully written and nicely paced. As a music lover and an amateur violin player (I'm so amature that I'm not even gonna say "violinist"), this book hit me at just the right spots. Dylan and Legend's love story arch with its constant ups and downs had me on the edge and made me finish this book in a week. I loved how the book even detailed the side character stories. Even Dylan's past story and her drive was captured with such delicacy. Though I have to admit that my favourite character was kooky Aunt Edith. Everyone needs aunt Edith in their life. This book is amazing and a must read.
Reasons to read this book
1. Music lovers where you at
2. Diverse characters with a few tragic back stories
3. Best friends to half hearted enemies to something complicated to lovers pitch
4. Crazy best friends, aunt, teacher and family!

This book is an absolute must read so grab your green tea with ginger (i know it sounds gross but it's Legend's drink so i tried and it's ok) with Mushroom burger (another gross thing but hey try for legend) and dive in the book!

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2.5/5 stars (rounded up to 3)

CW: conservatorship, racial microaggressions (focused on hair), car accident (mentioned)

I would like to thank NetGalley and Skyscape for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

All Dylan Woods wants to do is practice and get ready for the biggest audition of her life for a spot at Julliard. However, Dylan gets a flashback to the past after her family finds out that the world famous R & B artist and Dylan’s former best friend, Langston (Legendary), is staying with them for a couple of weeks. But Langston, who brings up the bucket list he and Dylan created before he left for Los Angeles, Dylan considers if it’s worth giving him another chance.

From when I was reading the book description for Somebody That I Used to Know, I was fascinated to read this book. However, after reading this title, I didn’t really meet my expectations for what this book could be and I was only able to read a little over 50% before skimming the rest of the book.

When I first read this book, I didn’t feel sucked in. It kind of felt like I was just there watching in the background and not like I was with them (if that makes any sense). Additionally, reading into the plot more, it almost sounded like something I read before but they changed the circumstances around the characters’ backstories and the book’s plot. Yes, I know that it’s part of how tropes work, but there wasn’t anything new added to it. I just wished that there was something in the book that would make it more original and not so trope-y or cookie cutter.

I also didn’t like how Dylan’s parents were portrayed in the book. They seemed so weirdly obsessed with Legendary, even though they knew him for years before he got big, and wanted the entire family to spend time with him while he was living with them. Even if it meant making Dylan compromise her dreams of meeting world-famous violinists who could help her get into Juilliard. That being said, it was definitely something that irked me about the book.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some parts that I liked about this book. I loved having Dylan as a main character for this book. It was comfortable getting to know her and reading her perspective as you go throughout the book. I also felt some of the side characters were good and helped balance out the cast of characters for Somebody That I Used to Know.

I just don’t think that this was the book for me. Maybe if you’re an avid classical musician who likes to go on adventures you might like this book, but it’s not something I would recommend and there are probably other reviewers who have much better insights about the book than me.

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Somebody That I Used to Know was a fun read, with an interesting plot and engaging characters. My one complaint was that a lot of the dialogue felt really unrealistic, like it was clearly an adult trying to write the way they think kids talk. Other than that, though, a good choice for anyone who enjoys teen drama-type books.

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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Skyscape and by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

One friend has moved on to fame, one college. Coming back together, will they’d be the same? It plays out nicely.

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Somebody That I Used to Know is a YA contemporary romance. The main character is Dylan, a violinist. Awhile ago her best friend moved away and became famous, and she didn't hear from him since. But now he's going to be moving into her basement for two weeks. And he wants to be friends again. Dylan's putting herself under a lot of pressure for her college audition, and the added drama begins to tip her over the edge. I really like the relationship between those two characters, the black representation, the lovable side characters and reading about Dylan playing music. I didn't get all the music references, and Legend's behavior pissed me off a few times, but overall this was an enjoyable read.

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