Sep 12, 2023SCL_Amy rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
Only the best kind of books make you root for an escaped murderer with a ridiculous mustache. The small town of Crow Valley is anything but quiet and boring on the night of the karaoke championships. The story bounces between the perspectives of different community members, including an escapee from a nearby prison, as they face this important evening. Forest fires tore through the town just a year ago and stole the life of an admired local man, Dale, who loved karaoke. While a large cast of characters and jumping viewpoints can often be difficult for readers, the author builds the timeline skillfully, revealing more about the relationships between the townspeople and drawing readers into the community with each short chapter. Each character has unique (and often funny) peculiarities, with flaws and dreams and reasons that they *need* tonight to go well. Roxanne needs to learn to move on, Val needs to make it to 41 days, Marcel needs to make it home, Molly needs to escape motherhood for a moment, Brett needs to sing for Dale, and they all just might need to belong. Ali Bryan has filled the pages with moments of hilarity, empathy, and hard truth, accelerating to a conclusion dramatic enough to be worthy of the karaoke championship. This unpredictable novel is an exciting ride that will leave you feeling more than you ever expected.