Discovering Kaylee, by Stu Kane and Hannah Wilkerson, is an angst-filled teenage drama that will hold the reader’s interest until the end.
Kaylee, a high school junior, is popular and successful. She has good grades, friends, drive, and is attractive. Sam is the opposite. He’s withdrawn from his peers, school activities, and classes. When the two of them start a rock band, it drastically changes both of their lives. The question is will the two of them survive the changes?
Teenage drama is just that: drama. It’s one of the appeals of young adult and new adult fiction. Young readers will realize that they aren’t alone, feeling miserable, misunderstood, and confused. Older readers will remember their high school days and more than likely say, “thank goodness those days are in the past.”
The teenage years are vital to who and what people become. These are the years of self-discovery, self-destruction, or a mixture of both. This doesn’t mean that if a person implodes as a teenager, they’re lost forever. Albeit, many decisions made during these years do have a lasting impact on someone’s life. Stu Kane and Hannah Wilkerson realize the importance of the teen years and treat Kaylee and Sam with the respect they deserve. And readers will applaud their efforts. While the pages are filled with teenage anxiety, the situations the characters’ grapple with never feel forced.
Kaylee is at a crossroads. Her mother wants her to be one way and Kaylee wants to be her own person. Many readers can relate to this dilemma. Sam is a genuine guy and the perfect companion to the impulsive girl who feels like the world is against her most of the time. Many could use a friend like Sam, and at times he almost seems too good to be real. Hopefully that isn’t the case, because the world needs more people like Sam: sweet, understanding, intelligent, and loving no matter what.
Discovering Kaylee includes many real teenage problems and the authors have decided to include the good and bad aspects of the rock and roll lifestyle. That means this story contains certain aspects that might make some uncomfortable, such as drinking, drugs, and sex. However, writing a novel about two young adults living on their own and trying to make it in the music business without these components would more than likely ring untrue. And these issues are prevalent to most teens, not just those in the music business. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also a fact of life.
For the most part, the writing is solid. There is one quirk that is difficult to get used to. Dialogue is usually separated by who is speaking at the time, however, the authors frequently include long paragraphs that have two characters speaking and at times it’s difficult to distinguish who is actually speaking. It gets easier, but still can trip up the reader when new characters are introduced in the story.
Overall, Discovering Kaylee is filled to the brim with drama, angst, self-discovery, heartache, and triumphs. If you enjoy teenage stories with a roller-coaster of emotions, this novel is right up your alley.