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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Headstrong is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, romance, and coming-of-age subgenres. It is intended for young adult readers but can easily be enjoyed by adult readers too, and contains some mild sexual references and the occasional use of explicit language. Penned by author L. B. Carl, we enter a world of bad boys, music, and high school drama in the year 1975. As the renegade Matt Jerue does his best to improve his popularity status and achieve his dreams of rocking out in a guitar band, he and his forever-crush Taryn McIntyre are thrown together by mutual friends. And when Taryn needs help, Matt finally sees his chance to change her opinion of him for the better.
Author L. B. Carl has penned a fantastic recent-history YA drama that captures all of the same emotional drama as a modern classic but throws us back into a time of emerging rock bands and the dreams that kids of the seventies had about making it big. I found Matt to be an immensely likable and relatable antihero, misunderstood by many but with a true heart that finally has a chance to emerge. His emotive journey is well supported by the narrative and dialogue skills of the author so that we never feel bored or spoon-fed by his emotional exposition but feel it emerging naturally through the challenges and conversations of the plot. I loved the energy of the piece and the sense of music, atmosphere, and nostalgia that leaps from it. Overall, I would highly recommend Headstrong for YA romance and drama fans everywhere, and I can’t wait to see what more comes from this brilliant new series.