‘Loud is How I Love You’ is the first book in the Hub City series by Mercy Brown. This books drops you straight to the ’90s music scene and you realize just how cool it really was! Grab your copy today!
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I don’t understand it yet, but this is exactly what love feels like.
Loud is How I Love You is the first book in Mercy Brown’s Hub City series about young rockers, struggling for stardom in the mid-90s. This book follows Emmylou as she deals with her feelings for her guitarist, Travis, and whether or not a band romance is a good thing.
Don’t fuck anyone in the band.
That’s the rule, and rules like this one need to be followed. Otherwise, the band could fall apart and with it, Emmy’s dreams of becoming bigger than the New Brunswick music scene. Sure, she’s got a fallback plan. She’s majoring in English at Rutgers. That’s mostly to make her mom proud since she’s not into Emmy’s band activities. Still, that’s where Emmy’s heart lies.
Then there’s Travis. He’s the guitarist for their group, Stars on the Fall, and for the two years he’s been with them, Emmy’s maintained a pretty steady crush. One night that all comes to head, and somehow Travis and her wind up in bed together.
This can’t happen, though. It will make the band tense, the music will stop flowing, they’ll fight and split up and the whole world will go to hell in a hand basket.
Or at least that’s what Emmy’s brain tells her. Will she ever be able to get her heart and brain on the same page and make some awesome music and fall in love at the same time?
I really, really wanted to love this book. I just had trouble getting into it.
It reads very much like a journal or even someone sitting down and telling you a story. There’s no illusion of the reader seeing everything play out because Emmy talks to the reader as if you’re sitting beside her. At times, she can be great. Emmy’s funny, hardworking, and extremely talented. There’s no doubt in my mind at all, that she would succeed in the music industry because she wants it so badly.
Then there’s the Emmy that I want to shake until she finally sees reason. She and Travis are best friends who slept together. Afterward, she’s naturally freaked out and pushes him away. I understand why. The band is her life, and she really doesn’t want to mess up the way they all fit together in the group and a romance can do just that.
It’s when she starts pushing him toward another girl in their circle of friends that I got a little frustrated with Emmy.
“And if you’re with her, I’ll get over you. Eventually. And then everything can go back to the way it was.”
He’s not laughing now.
“It’s not like I’m happy about it,” I say, and I try to take his hand into mine, but he pulls it away.
“And why would we want to be, you know, happy?” he says. “When we could be miserable and perpetually frustrated instead?”
“But still in a band together,” I say. That’s the most important thing.”
“That’s the most important thing?” he says. “Go inside and go to bed, Emmy. Your mouth is talking without your brain’s consent.”
She and Travis hook up again later, declare themselves in such a branding way that’s totally hot, but something HUGE happens right after.
One of their closest friend’s band is split down the middle when everyone finds out that Julia’s long time boyfriend and fellow band mate, Matt, has been cheating on her for months. They try to make it work, but the band implodes. This spooks Emmy like crazy, and she doesn’t just push Travis away, she shoves him with her words.
Travis walks off, shaking his head, muttering, and I know I’ve done it again, this thing that I’ve come to learn I’m very good at—hurting his feelings.
My heart really hurt for Travis in this book. He’s a good guy who genuinely loves Emmy. He wants to find a way for this to work out between them, but Emmy is so focused on the band and the big show that’s coming up, that she doesn’t see beyond it.
Thank goodness there are lots of funny parts in the book that bring levity to all the drama that’s happening in Emmy’s head. My favorite part of the book was when she and Travis have to hitch a ride with a trucker to get her back in time for her Modern Novel exam after a gig when their van breaks down.
“Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here finding Jesus,” he says.
“You’re a praying man?” Montana asks.
“I am now,” he says.
That part made me smile so much because I could feel some pieces of Emmy stitching back together. Then the trucker even has a story about band mates messing around and screwing everything up, so Emmy freaks out again.
Most of the book vacillates between Emmy and Travis hooking up and Emmy pushing Travis away. It was like a yo-yo for the poor guy.
“Yeah, well I’m not a metaphor. I’m real and I’m right here in front of you, waiting for you to figure your shit out.”
In the end, Travis does the only thing he can think to do that will get Emmy to see him in a different light, but instead, she wallows and blames herself for finally being such a terrible person that he got tired of her antics.
Emmy is well aware of how she’s played around with his feelings, but she has so many underlying issues. Her father left her when she was very young, he died when she was fifteen, and he was a musician, too. This music is what connects her to him, so she doesn’t want to lose that.
She stands to lose Travis, though, and that thought really cuts her deep, too.
Overall, Loud is How I Love You takes a bit of time to get used to because of the narration and Emmy’s voice. Despite my many moments of frustration with Emmy, I appreciate her refusal to see her dream disappear, and I’m so happy that she has a man like Travis, who not only encourages that dream, but helps her pursue it, too.
You don’t turn me down, no, you turn me up some more
Loud is how I love you
Loud is how I know you’re there
Stay loud so I don’t lose you
I will follow the sound of you anywhere…
Many thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy.