Loud Is How I Love You by Mercy Brown - Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ‘90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rule of the band: Don't sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.
When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime? From Goodreads.
I don't read too much new-to-me NA because it all just seems completely saturated with sex, and I find if the characters keep having sex, I get pretty bored. But YA authors Dahlia Adler and Becky Albertalli recommended Loud Is How I Love You by Mercy Brown because of main character Emmylou's voice, among other things, and as it was pretty cheap, I thought I would give it a go. Loud Is How I Love You was so good!
The first rule of being in a band: Don't sleep with your band mates. It makes things complicated, and complicated is not what you need when you're trying to make the big time. So when Emmylou breaks this rule and sleeps with her guitarist, Travis, she panics about how it will affect the band... until she falls into bed with him again. Emmy just can't get enough, but at the same time, she's constantly worrying about her band - especially as she's seen how relationships are causing trouble for her friends' bands. And when they bag a slot on a gig for one of the biggest bands in the area, she knows so much more is on the line - but maybe more than she realises, if she keeps pushing Travis away.
When I first started this book, I was pretty sure it was going to be one of those books that bored me. There is quite a lot of sex at the beginning. It's the day after the night before, and she's remembering what happened - in quite some detail. But on the whole, there's more story than there is sex, and it does cool down after a while. Once it did, I really fell in love with this story. Travis is such a good guy, and you tell from very early on that he has such strong feelings for Emmy. This isn't just sex for him, he wants more from Emmy, but she's scared - scared for the band, and scared for herself. It sounds a bit like Travis is a walkover, but he's not. Emmy keeps changing her mind. "No, no, no, we can't do this!" "Ok, well... maybe we could, if we take it slow..." Travis keeps thinking he's got the green light, only for Emmy to put the breaks on things again. She hurts him over and over, and that's really only going to go one way.
Emmy herself is such a complicated character. She does have the most brilliant, strong voice; it does feel a lot like you're reading her diary, or her mind. Emmy is so passionate about her music and her band. Music is her dream, it's all she wants to do with her life, so when this... thing she has with Travis gets going, she really does lose the plot. Her mind jumps back and forth like nobody's business, not knowing what it is she wants more, or what to do for the best. What she doesn't seem to get is that the way she's behaving is putting the band at risk more than sleeping with Travis is, because things between them get quite rocky. But it's not just her band that she's worried about. There are things from her past that are affecting her judgement, and she just wants everything to go back to how they were before, when everything was ok. But at the same time, she can't get enough of Travis. She's really torn. Emmy is so flawed, and so frustrating, but you can't help but feel for her.
I loved the world this story is set in. I used to be really good friends with an unsigned punk rock band, and I would go to so many gigs, was guest listed and allowed backstage sometimes, so although I'm not a musician myself, this was all so familiar to me. It reminded me of a time in my life when I was having so much fun, making great friends, and dancing to great music. I spent years watching those guys dedicating so much time to their band and trying so hard to make it, I could completely understand where Emmy was coming from, even if I disagreed with her all of the time. Loud Is How I Love You was a nice trip down memory lane.
I have to end this review by saying that I really loved Travis. He was the sweetest guy. Despite the things that happen between them, and how many times Emmy pushes him away, or how many times she hurts him with her careless words... you become sure he's just going to throw in the towel, but the boy just has too much integrity to walk away. There are people relying on him. This is not just about him and Emmy; what happens between them affects the whole band, and he keeps fighting to sort things out with Emmy, one way or another, despite hurting and wanting her love. God, I loved him!
Loud Is How I Love You is such a fantastic story, and there's a lot more going on under the surface than you would expect. I'm so excited to read the sequel/companion novel Stay Until We Break when it comes out in June!
Published: 19th January 2016
Mercy Brown's Website