I read my friend Jennifer Echols' new book, MAJOR CRUSH, yesterday evening. I'm not normally a fan of YA stories, but since it was my friend's book, I sat down to give it a read. Funny, sweet, delightful book! As a former band geek myself (flute and baritone horn), I had no trouble getting into the whole marching-band-as-society metaphor. (Though in my marching band, EVERYBODY was a geek, there were no cool girls or guys, and we didn't compete much in competitions because we reeked so badly).
The setting was very familiar (small town Alabama, with which I'm well-acquainted) but to be honest, the southernness wasn't as prominent as the small-townness, if that makes sense. It could have as easily been set in Iowa or Kansas or anywhere in flyover country.
The characters were interesting, really well-drawn and familiar in that all-important "I know someone just like that!" way of really good books. And the teen-age romance managed to be sweet and sizzling at the same time, without crossing into "ick" territory.
Kudos, Jennifer! Can't wait to read the next one!