Sunday, January 29, 2023

Book Review: Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels

About the Book:

It was just one of those nights. One of those crazy, impossible nights that change your life. Forever.

When guitarist Michael Sullivan gets kicked out of his band (and his apartment), landing a record deal seems an impossible dream. And nothing about Michael's prospects points toward a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year's Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It's addressed to his uncle, with whom he shares both name and living space, but his uncle is going out of town . . .

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989--as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is falling apart, and anything seems possible--Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures.

My Thoughts:

Though Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels starts on New Year’s Eve of 1989, it’s a tale of family, dreams, and responsibility (or lack thereof) relevant to any generation. Michael Sullivan, the main character, is an underperforming, self-focused, immature twenty-something. I disliked him from the beginning which made it hard to enjoy the book. He grows as a character and turns decent for the last 1/3-1/4 of the novel, but I never felt invested in the story.

Opposite Michael, the female lead, Natalie Wheeler, is highly talented, proactive, (mostly) mature, and committed to excellence despite having her own obstacles. She’s quite a foil character to Michael, but their relationship isn’t an enemy-to-lovers tale. Rather, it’s an unlikely friendship that grows out of loneliness and impending loss.

Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels contains some excellent themes about the importance of forgiveness, viewing obstacles as helpful for growth and new opportunities, finding family outside of biological kin, working hard to accomplish goals, and realizing every person has a backstory that affects their actions and attitudes. This story isn’t my favorite of Erin Bartel’s novels, but offers good themes, fun vintage music references, and plenty of depth for readers who manage to like the book’s main character.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad the main character wasn't likeable. This does sound good.