Monday, February 4, 2019

Syncopation by Anna Zabo

Rating: ★★★ + .5 | 295 pages | Contemporary Romance | Carina Press | Release Date: 4/19/18

Ray Van Zeller, the lead singer of Twisted Wishes, needs a new drummer and the last person he expects to walk into auditions is Zavier Demos. Zavier is a Juilliard trained timpanist--and the guy who rejected Ray when he asked him to join the band in high school. But underneath the orchestra suit and tails, Zavier is a tattooed, Dominant, Twisted Wishes fan looking to get away from drama caused by his aromanticism.

Zavier falls in perfect rhythm with the rock band and as Twisted Wishes tours across the country and deal with rumors, abusive managers and press Ray discovers he needs Zavier in more ways than he’s ever imagined.

Rockstars are one of my favorite tropes in YA and I haven’t found a romance book with this trope that worked for me until this one. The first half of the book was slow but once the characters and backstory were set up I was all in. I liked the relationship between the bandmates and I think Zabo, who is nonbinary, made a point to show the kind of relationship fans would have with a band made up of non-straight members.

Part of the reason I chose this book is that I was curious to see how a romance would work with an aromantic character. Zabo effortlessly weaves Zavier’s aromanticism, Ray’s emotional issues and their BDSM relationship into a cohesive narrative that feel emotionally satisfying even though the romantic arc doesn’t end with the typical I love yous. In some ways, I think it is a greater challenge for a writer to show a change in the relationship between two characters without having one character say I love you as a shortcut to getting there. 

Syncopation is a super sexy rockstar romance that moves to a beat all its own. These books are pretty short so I’ll probably finish the series. 

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