Series: Boston Classics, #3
Release Date: April 29th, 2021
1988 doesn’t end well for Jessica Abraham. In just one week she turns thirty, loses her day job, and loses the role of Ophelia to a younger actress. Rallying, she goes after a part at a theater outside of the city, but the director’s plan to hide her beauty behind hair, makeup and wardrobe from Cosmo’s “Don’t” column shakes her confidence to the core.
For the first time in her acting career, she won’t be able to rely on her carefully managed physical charms. Only her craft will count.
On a snowy night early in January 1989, a woman calls into DJ Callihan Alonso’s alt-rock radio show at the end of her commute. He asks her to call back the next night, and the next, just so he’ll know she’s home safe. There’s something about her voice that has him wanting more, but the longer they talk, the closer she gets. Compromising each and every wall he’s built around his heart.
If two lonely people fall in love over late-night phone calls, will meeting face-to-face make them, or break them?
In this heartfelt, slow burn retro romcom, it may be the end of a decade, but it’s the beginning of a love story.
“How can I be half in love with someone I’ve never met? Obviously, it’s more of an obsession, which probably would end as quickly as it started if we actually met.”
It’s the 80s. A time when there are no smart phones or the internet. An actress is trying to make it in theatre in Boston while struggling with her dyslexia. And a radio DJ is doing the best he can with the life he’s been handed and the scars that haunt him. And when they come together, it’s a beautiful love story.
I have been completely in love with Karen Grey’s Boston Classics series. Not just because I’m a product of the 80s, but because it’s such a wonderfully crafted series with memorable characters, struggles and of course all of the 80s references that you’ll never get anywhere else. I still stand by the fact that this is such an original concept and Karen does an incredible job of taking you all the way back to experience these characters’ lives all over again.
“When he laughs, the rumble rolls into my ear and rushes all the way to my lower belly, flooding me with… I don’t know. The vibrations are like a massage from the inside.”
“A world that teases me with the voice of a woman that I can’t stop thinking about, even as I know that there’s no way I’ll ever be able to meet her in person.”
The third book follows Jessica Abraham and Callihan Alonso as they navigate Boston in 1989. Turning 30 shouldn’t weigh on her so much, but with how the world views older women and how the casting directors seem to overlook her because of her age, Jessica is struggling to find good jobs. Till she finds a role that is fun and exciting. This job takes her an hour away from home and the only company she has on her drives back after rehearsals is the voice of DJ Cal as he spins his favourite tunes on the radio. For Callihan Alonso, this DJ gig is perfect because he gets to use his voice and play his favourite songs and discover undiscovered artists all at the same time. After a horrible fire related incident, he’s left with scars that run deeper than what you see on the surface. That means, he enjoys using his voice instead of his face to win people over. And boy oh boy, does he win Jess over or what!
Their friendship and relationship builds over phone calls. They don’t know what each other looks like, but their voices are soothing and comforting and it gives them exactly what they want in life. It comforts them in ways that neither of them expected. They fall in love over Cal’s music and Jess’ love for acting and they start depending on each other in ways they never imagined. And of course, eventually it leads to them meeting in the most awkward of ways. But watching their relationship grow from daily phone calls to something more was so lovely, because they both have their own struggles and issues and they’re working towards sorting out those troubles, but not able to lean on each other to do it.
“My letter thanks you. For breaking through the armor I’d built up. For waking me up. Shaking things up. Rocking my world and spinning it round. You spin me. In all the good ways.”
While the relationship is a vital part of this book, what I really enjoyed was all of the bigger issues that these characters faced. In tackling Jessica’s struggles with learning, her eating disorder and feeling like she’s never going to find the perfect role, we feel for her. I love how deep we dive into her life and what she deals with and how she overcomes these struggles. It’s all very relatable and you can connect with these characters no matter which era they’re based in. You Spin Me covers so many topics through politics, racial discrimination, gender equality and mental health struggles that it sort of makes you forget what timeframe this book is set in. But that’s just an added bonus of the talent of Karen Grey’s writing.
Like the first two books in the Boston Classics series, this book takes you on a journey. There’s great music (that I’m now listening to), a host of interesting characters, a world that some of us lived in and storytelling that is absolutely wonderful.
Thanks to Karen Grey and InkSlinger PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.