Title: Leaving Amarillo
Series: Neon Lights #1
Author: Caisey Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 17 March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt road in Amarillo with her ailing grandparents and overprotective older brother. Thanks to her grandfather, Dixie learned to play a mean fiddle, inspired by the sounds of the greats—Johnny and June, Waylon, and Hank. Her grandfather’s fiddle changed Dixie’s life forever, giving her an outlet for the turmoil of her broken heart and inspiring a daring dream.
Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.
Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.
The ties that bind us together can also shackle our hearts, the perfect description for Leaving Amarillo. There is an instant connection between Dixie and Gavin from the moment they meet, however, Gavin doesn’t want to lose Dixie if things go wrong between them, keeping her at arms length and promising Dallas he won’t touch her. Although here is only so much a heart can be denied, Dixie takes matters into her own hands. Realising the repressing of emotions is unhealthy 🙂
I admired Dixie for her down-to-earth attitude and ability to roll with the things life throws at her. She is very self-aware, such a loving, compassionate person, you can’t help but fall in love with her.
I desperately wanted Gaving perspective during the story, in order to understand him better and his actions. Memories woven into the present narrative add depth to the characters as well as the plot. There are a number of past events allude to, important information required to provide a complete picture of past events, adding to the tension within the plot. Gavin, is the very definition of tortured drummer, his lack of nurturing as a child has left deep emotional scars that continue to pull Gavin into the dark. He is a very tormented boy beneath the hotness.
Dixie might just be the only person that truly understands Gavin, her love for him is occasionally messy and often hurts her beyond belief. You have to question whether one womans love is enough to mend a very broken boy hidden inside the tough man he has become.
Music is at the heart of Leaving Amarillo (something I relate to a lot) The narrative skillfully portrays the way in which music can tame emotions and fill the void in our lives.
I have to say that I did find the constant back and forth between Dixie and Gavin a little frustrating. While it was understandable at times, I felt as if the ground was constantly shifting beneath my feet. I honestly did not know what to expect next.
Leaving Amarillo is a very emotional story with music and character development at its heart.