Cover Image: Every Time You Hear That Song

Every Time You Hear That Song

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"Every Time You Hear That Song" by Jenna Voris is a unique blend of Dumplin' and Daisy Jones & the Six, offering readers their own love song. The novel introduces us to the world of aspiring journalist Darren Purchase and the legendary country music duo Decklee Cassel and Mickenlee Hooper.

While the premise of the book promises an intriguing scavenger hunt and the uncovering of long-buried secrets, my experience with the novel left me with mixed feelings, warranting a three out of five stars.

One of the main stumbling blocks for me was the choice of character names. The names felt unrealistic and, at times, distracting, making it challenging to fully connect with the characters. Unlikable characters further compounded this issue. However, I acknowledge that personal taste plays a significant role in one's enjoyment of a book, and some readers may find these characters more endearing than I did.

The narrative's alternating perspectives, switching between Darren's modern-day journey and Decklee's past struggles in the 1960s, adds depth to the storytelling. Voris successfully weaves a queer coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of country music, celebrating the complexities of women and the quest for authenticity.

The exploration of Decklee's rise to stardom and her evolving relationship with Mickenlee provides a captivating glimpse into the challenges faced by women in the music industry during that era. The novel beautifully captures the essence of country music and its profound impact on the characters' lives.

It's worth noting that my reservations about the book may stem from personal preferences. If you enjoy stories with a focus on character development, queer themes, and a nostalgic nod to the country music scene, "Every Time You Hear That Song" may resonate more strongly with you. While the characters didn't strike a chord with me, they might find a harmonious connection with readers who appreciate a different flavor of storytelling.

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Every Time You Heart That Song is about reckoning with where you come from and who you are. It's about realizing your idols aren't who you think you are. It's about knowing when it's time to move on.

I really enjoyed the novel. The writing was very readable and easy to breeze through while still invoking emotions and making you laugh.

Darren, Carla and Markell were very likeable characters who you sometimes wanted to shake but their actions were always understandable. I don't really have any specific feelings about Kendall. He was a nice, sweet guy but the relationship between Darren and him never worked for me. It was very rushed and the fact that they had stars in their eyes after spending a day with each other on a road trip made me roll my eyes. I'm sure there are people who will make excuses for Decklee Cassel but to me she was selfish and honestly just sucked.

I can recommend Every Time You Hear That Song to people who love music, road trips, people who want some good bi rep and those who tend to form parasocial relationships with the celebrities they admire.

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This is the first ARC I've ever been able to read early and I'm so glad I requested. This sweet, queer summer road trip story buried its way into my heart. I love Darren's tenacity and Decklee's ambition. They're such interesting, complicated narrators that play off the rest of the cast so well. I already want to read this one again!

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The cover is what drew me in and I’m so glad I was able to read this, it had a great story that had everything that I wanted from the genre. I was invested in what was happening in this story. Jenna Voris has a great way of creating characters and their story being told.

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First, thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the arc.

This was an enjoyable book in the vein of other YA books. Told in two narratives, in the present day we follow Darren, a soon to be high school senior with aspirations to leave her small town and never look back. She is a huge fan of country music star, Decklee Cassel and it is on the death of Decklee that the book begins.

Going back and forth from Darren to Decklee and her rise to fame, Jenna Voris manages to weave a paralleling narrative where we follow Darren in the present day following clues about Decklee’s career and life and we get to see how it actually happened starting in the 60s when Decklee first decided to leave in pursuit of fame.

In many ways this book is a coming of age story for Darren who’s world gets turned around when she decides to go after the clues Decklee has left, her only possible ride a co-worker and friend, Kendall. With their friendship growing into more and Darren being able to figure herself out and open herself up to Kendall, Voris creates an interesting parallel in what happened to Decklee and how her ambition colored all her decisions when it came to her friends and her love and Darren’s initial plans to leave the small town and everyone in it behind.

The book is well written with interesting characters that keep the story moving. Voris makes a good effort to keep both storylines connected in small ways and the slowly unravelling of who Decklee was in comparison to what Darren and the reader knows about her. It makes the end of the book that much more impactful when it all comes together and we get the big reveal.

Overall, I liked it. It ultimately is your average YA. It’s not a perfect book and it doesn’t make any deep commentary, but it is entertaining. I think that the romances fall short at times for both Decklee and Darren and that there was definitely room to explore a few things more deeply such as the LGBTQ aspects for both the main characters. 3.5/5 stars.

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this book is such a love letter to queerness and dolly parton, which to me are almost the same thing to me. alternating timelines have the potential to either be amazing or terrible and this book's was AMAZING!! i wasn't bored or annoyed at either timeline, but wanted more each time it switched. i could have a full book of either perspective which is a sign that they are both strong. this book was just so beautiful and i truly don't have the words to express how much how i loved it!! read it as soon as you can!!!

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I was excited when I requested this title because I’m always on the lookout for sweet sapphic reads. And then it turned out to be glorified Kaylor fanfiction and yeah, no.

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4.5 stars! Thank you to Viking Books and Penguin Young Readers Group for an advanced copy of this book! You can pick up Every Time You Hear That Song on April 9, 2024.

This was one of the best YA contemporary books I've read in a long time. I loved Jenna Voris's writing and how she balanced Darren and Decklee's stories. The dual POVs never felt jarring, instead enhancing the stories as we watched these two young women navigate life from such different perspectives.

Darren represented so many girls who grew up in a small town but dreamed of something bigger. Her desires never felt cliche or contrived -- they were honest and authentic. Despite going through a similar experience, Decklee's approach to small-town life differed so much, and Jenna captured that duality perfectly.

I loved both romances, but that ending gouged my heart out. I honestly give so much credit to Jenna for taking the story in that direction and not being afraid to represent real fears and loves and emotions at that age. I can't wait for this to hit the shelves next spring!

If you're any kind of music or road trip fan, please don't hesitate to pick up this book!!

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Oh My Goodness! When I say I inhaled this book, i’m not kidding! “Every Time You Hear That Song” was a book for the dreamers, for fans of The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and the queen herself, Dolly Parton, the story of both Darren and Decklee was irresistible and utterly beautiful.

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“maybe there’s something beautiful to being known like this. maybe being seen isn’t a curse.”

decklee cassel is a mega country star who keeps her fans begging for more. darren purchase is a 17 year old from a small town she feels too big for, searching for answers and a way out.

the physical description of decklee cassel reminds me of dolly parton, her character reminds me of evelyn hugo, and her relationship with fans reminds me of that between taylor swift and the swifties. darren purchase felt like me - it felt like chapters of my own journal taken out and published. her yearning for answers while feeling so unsure of herself felt sooo personal.

i’ve found out this year that i looove the “beloved celebrity with a big secret” trope, and ETYHTS delivers on that. it also hits home reading about a well-known, beyond loved celebrity who *still* doubts herself, questions if she’s loved, and feels alone in the world.

as someone who grew up in a midwestern town i felt too big for and dreamt of getting out of, as someone who’s constantly questioned who and how she loved, as someone who has grappled with the ache of “will they love me for me?” - this sophomore novel by jenna voris really hit home and felt personal. an EASY five star read for me that i can’t wait to reread in april when it’s released. 🫶🏻

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Darren has grown up with the music of Decklee Cassel and shares a love of that music with her mother. When a contest to discover a lost song with a big cash prize comes up, Darren wants in. She heads out to follow the clues on a road trip with a coworker. Along the way, the true story of Decklee is shared as clues and important moments are shared. Darren also learns a lot about herself as she goes. This was a unique story, and I loved the overlay of past and present, as well as the connections between Decklee and Darren that came up in a variety of ways. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this April 2024 release!

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Thanks to NetGalley and the published for an early copy of the book

This was my first time reading this author so I went into this completely blind but the mention of Daisy Jones and the Six in the precis intrigued me plus I was in love with the cover since the moment I laid my eyes on it.

What an incredible journey this was. Told in alternating POVs for Darren in the present and Decklee in the past , I was enthralled by how these two lives came together and what success meant for these two. Decklee's self preservation was a prominent theme throughout the book and Darren shared those traits too which at first kind of made me see them as villains but it didn't take me long to realise that they were simply being human and the price they paid to make their dreams a reality was a steep one.

I loved these flawed characters with all my heart. Traveling through different states for the treasure hunt Decklee organised, it was a great way for Kendall and Darren to fall in love and made this a beautiful heartwarming read.

5 stars.

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an earky copy of this book.

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2024, I'm so glad i got to read it early it did not only reacg expectations but surpass them. I'm a sucker for celebrity/musician novels and this was just so good.

Every time you hear that song is about Darren who wants to leave her town behind, it's Decklee Cassel and about listening, about loving music and healing .
Jenna Voris writes a really compelling story with a witty and quick style, I absolutely adored this book, it made me swoon and laugh and just feel seen, i felt so connected to the characters and I was hooked by the first line and never let go till the last line.

"They say to never meet your idols. But should you upend your life for a quest designed by one?

Seventeen-year-old aspiring journalist Darren Purchase has been a lifelong fan of country music legend Decklee Cassel, who's as famous for her classic hits as she is for her partnership with songwriter Mickenlee Hooper. The same Mickenlee who mysteriously backed out of the limelight at the height of their careers, never to be heard from again.

Now, Decklee's televised funeral marks the unveiling of her long-awaited time capsule. But when it's revealed to be empty, a long trail of scavenger hunt clues unfolds, leading to a whopping cash prize for whoever finds the real thing. Darren knows there's a story there-and she's going to be the one to break it. Even if it means a spontaneous road trip with her annoying co-worker, Kendall.

Flashback to 1963, where a young, runaway Decklee has her sights set on fame and glory. She claws her way to the top over the years that follow, but it's Mickenlee's lyrics that help rocket her to stardom. But as their relationship evolves beyond the professional, it threatens everything Decklee has worked for. What else will she sacrifice to hold on to her dreams? "

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"She told me it was okay to take it slow, that everyone learns at their own pace, but my pace is wildfire. My pace is lightning and luck and all the desperate longing of the universe." (loc. 161*)

In the early 1960s, Decklee has a dream, and she'll do anything to make it come true—even if that means losing everyone she loves.

"People never talked about Decklee Cassel being from Mayberry unless it was to compliment her for getting out, because here's the truth: no one cares about towns like this until they're behind you." (loc. 238)

And in the present day, Darren is convinced that she's made for more than Mayberry, the same small town Decklee grew up in. She won't destroy everything in her path to get out...but she will go on a quest to find Decklee's last album, which could be enough to jumpstart her dreams.

I'd just listened to an interview with Dolly Parton when I read this, and so that's the voice that I heard Decklee's sections in (yes, yes, I know that a Tennessee accent is not the same as an Arkansas accent). Decklee is not Dolly Parton, though: she may have faced some of the same barriers—poverty, being a woman in a male-dominated industry in a male-dominated culture, people assuming that a Southern accent means lack of intelligence, people assuming that being blonde means lack of intelligence—but Decklee's stratospheric rise is, by necessity, grasping and calculated. She has the goods—but she needs every advantage to deliver on them.

It keeps Decklee from being an entirely sympathetic character, but that's what I loved most about the book. Darren's story is much more standard YA fare: there's a boy, a minor identity crisis, a journalism dream, some family concerns. Darren is much more easily likeable because we've all been there, one way or another. Decklee, though, raises hard questions about just how much a dream is worth—are there things you would not willingly give up? Is her dream worth it, in the end?

I would have liked to spend more time with Decklee, because there's an extent to which her voice is more distant, less possible to get a full read on. I wouldn't mind a follow-up book about Mickenlee, either—she's far more sympathetic but also less fleshed out, and there is much about her story that remains a mystery in this book. I can hope...

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.

*I read an ARC, and quotes may not be final.

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This was one of my favorite reads this year, truly, and a favorite overall. Everything about this book worked for me.

I'm a sucker for a good road trip book and the scavenger hunt aspect was so fun and kept things interesting. I was rooting so hard for Darren! The romance was cute and Darren's character arc throughout the book was extremely well done and believable.

For me, though, Decklee's chapters might have been my favorite part of the book, because boy could she be a little shit, but she really was fire. The ambition she had is exactly the kind of ambition that people love to read about when it comes to cis men, so I was rooting for her success, even when it hurt the people around her. I always understood her decisions. Because I hungered with her. And I knew her successes were coming because the book opens with her obituary, but also Decklee herself knew what was coming the same way I did. That's how confident she was. She's a fascinating character to read about.

I can't wait to preorder this one and read a physical copy, preferably during a road trip. I'm ready to take the journey again with both of these characters ASAP and yes I will cry again and yes it will be amazing.

Thank you to Viking and NetGalley for the eARC.

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no my usual genre and maybe this is why it didn't really click with me. the premise was amazing and the writing was so good, but i just couldn't connect to the story. i'd love to come back to it, i think, because i feel like a second read will make me appreciate it more.

They say to never meet your idols. But they never said anything about upending your life for a quest designed by one.

Seventeen-year-old aspiring journalist Darren Purchase has been a lifelong fan of country music legend Decklee Cassel, who’s as famous for her classic hits as she is for her partnership with songwriter Mickenlee Hooper. The same Mickenlee who mysteriously backed out of the limelight at the height of their careers, never to be heard from again. Now, Decklee’s televised funeral marks the unveiling of her long-awaited time capsule. But when it’s revealed to be empty, a long trail of scavenger hunt clues unfolds, leading to a whopping cash prize for whoever finds the real capsule. Darren knows there’s a story there—and she’s going to be the one to break it. Even if it means a spontaneous road trip with her coworker, Kendall.

Flashback to 1963, where a young, runaway Decklee has her sights set on fame and glory. As she claws her way to the top over the years that follow, it’s Mickenlee’s lyrics that help rocket her to stardom. But as their relationship evolves beyond the professional, it threatens everything Decklee has worked for. What else will she sacrifice to hold on to her dreams?

Told in alternating perspectives, Every Time You Hear That Song is a queer coming-of-age story celebrating country music, complicated women, and living authentically. There’s more to Decklee’s story than Darren ever could have guessed, but the real story she has to tell is her own.

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I absolutely loved Made of Stars, so I was super happy to see that she wrote a regular romance novel that ended well! This was so sweet and perfect and made my heart happy. I loved the back and forth and dual POVs, and a great commentary on big dreams and loving the wrong people. I hope she writes more romances because they are so good!

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This was such a moving and brilliantly written book!

The book is narrated by (1) Darren, the MC of the present time, as she follows the treasure hunt left by her beloved singer from across the grave, and (2) the singer herself in the past timeline, as she navigates her life into stardom.

The author has done a brilliant job of writing both the good and the bad (emotion-wise) about two young girls who dream big; I loved the parallels between the two of them, especially as the story went on further, and the reader can clearly understand where they both are coming from, and how one eventually follows the right path whereas the other goes deeper into a hell of her own making. I would not say no if the author writes a sequel for Darren a few years or a decade down the line 😭

Also!! The bi-rep had me screaming, it was done perfectly ❤️ the confusion, the "oh, bisexual means this? I was this all along but somehow I didn't connect the label and myself" was so perfect 😭

TWs - homophobia (as experienced by celebrities in the industry)

-- ty to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy!

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For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. Darren, the main character, really radiates heart and that fearsome desire to be more than what can be found in a small town. The story is split between the current POV (Darren's) and the POV of her favorite country music star, Decklee Cassel. Decklee is a complicated character and, honestly, difficult to fully like, even as you understand her and her motivations. The parallels between Decklee and Darren and where they diverge are really excellently explored, in my opinion. And, although I wished for a little more build-up, I did think the romance between Darren and Kendall was very sweet. The highlight for me was the banter the two of them had.

The one thing that I'm not sure I really liked (no spoilers) was the ending. Narratively, it made sense, but I'm not sure that it satisfied me as a reader. I wanted something a little different from it that I'm not sure I got. Again, it falls in line with the overall theme of the book, but it makes the entire book feel a bit bittersweet. That may work for some people. I'm just not sure it worked for me.

Overall, I'd really recommend this is you want more books about queer teens navigating queerness (especially in a small town in the south) and the feeling of being trapped by the expectations that come with a small town.

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It was lyrical, sweet, and beautifully written. I love the "treasure hunt" theme, the country music and small town vibes, the underlying sweet tone of romances... everything! Decklee, Mick and Markell journey was amazing, BUT Darren and Kendall owns my heart. LOVE this book so much!

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