Addie, Kate, Sam, Danny and Jessica are a group of friends from Ballardvale, Massachusetts. Having finished college, they start to change and go in different directions. As Addie witnesses the lifestyle choices of those around her, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than working in her parents’ diner. Should she stay in her small hometown, like Danny and Jessica, or go to New York, like siblings Kate and Sam?
Thank you to the author, Rachel Veznaian, for providing me with an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Ballardvale Blues is a multiple POV novel and the narration moves from one character to another which took a little getting used to, but I soon got the hang of it. It’s a coming-of-age story about millennials and looks at what happens after university. Some of the characters spend their free time drinking or smoking recreational drugs and you get the sense that they’re pretty directionless. A number of the friends from the group begin to drift apart. Kate articulates it really well:
People changed as they grew, but not at the root of who they were; they only became louder versions of themselves.
Cracks start to appear in the friendship group as change becomes inevitable.
Whilst this New Adult novel is about moving on and leaving childhood behind, Kate and Jessica seem to do the opposite. They revert back to acting like teenagers and whine a lot about the other one stealing their friends.
The focal point of the story revolves around Addie and she is the character I felt most sympathetic towards. Her mother is very harsh with her even though Addie always listens to her parents and stayed at home during university. She’s caught in the middle of what her parents want for her and how her friends think she should live.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I liked the sarcastic humour in the dialogue. I think that millennials can relate to the issues surrounding the characters in this book, such as uncertainty about the future and what it means to be an adult.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐