Review: Ballardvale Blues

Title: Ballardvale Blues
Author: Rachel Veznaian
Published: 2017
Page Count: 311
Rating: 2/5

I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.

The story of Ballardvale Blues takes place in Ballardvale, Massachusetts and follows a group of friends who grew up there. Kate and Sam are brother and sister and are both back home to visit. Sam is older and lives in New York and Kate has just finished college and is going to be moving with her brother to New York. Addie is working at her parents diner and also going to school online and is almost finished. She works during the day and does school at night so she has no time to do what she wants. Danny went to technical school and works in a mechanic shop and has been friends with Kate and Addie since they were kids. Jessica works at a bar and did not grow up with everyone but became good friends with Addie and Danny. But Kate and Jessica don’t like each other. Kate is excited to be moving to New York and Sam wants nothing to do with Ballardvale. Addie wants to make something of her degree but her parents seem to think that working at the diner for the rest of her life is what she should have planned. But it’s not what she wants.

This story has a lot of flaws. The main issue with this book, for me, was the conflict between Kate and Jessica. They seem to hate each other for no apparent reason. They both are very good friends with Danny and they both feel that the other is stealing him away from each other. It makes no sense to me why they are still bickering like middle school girls when they are adults. They have both graduated from college and yet act so immature. Another issue is with Addie and her parents. Addie is grown adult and she is terrified to confront her parents on her future. She basically had to beg them to let her go to college and she HAD to go to a college at home. Her mom argues with her a lot and wants to pass the diner business to her one day but Addie will not stand up to her mom. I also had an issue with the friendship between Addie and Jessica. Jessica was always saying mean things about Addie behind her back. Saying that she’s lame and loser for not leaving home. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t talk about my friends like that behind their back. She’s not a genuine friend and Addie needs some good friends to help her get out of her parents house. Danny is all over place. He likes to sleep around but he finally settles down with a girl named Maggie and we don’t see them that much through the story. They kind of go quickly from fling to a relationship and we don’t get to see that relationship grow. We get to hear Danny tell his friends that he hung out with her and that’s it.

Sam’s character is probably the most boring. He is 28-years-old and he seems to hate Ballardvale. He acts miserable the entire time he is there and he wants to get back to New York. His dad gifts him an old Camaro and Sam doesn’t want it because he thinks his dad is only giving it to him so he will settle down and have a family. Which Sam doesn’t want. A lot of time while I was reading, I got confused on who was saying what. I would be reading about one character and then all of sudden we were on someone else. The main story line is whether or not Addie will finally leave her parents or stay working at the diner forever and I just feel like it’s not a very interesting story. The conflict between Kate and Jessica was never really settled, which I didn’t like. I was hoping they would settle their differences (whatever those were) but it didn’t happen.

I think the story was there but it needed more. Too many times I felt like I was reading the same dialogue over and over. The scenes seemed to be like repeats. “What’s up?” “Nothing much.” “Have you seen so-and-so?” It was like that a lot and I was bored. Honestly, I don’t think that I would recommend this to anyone. There is a bit of profanity, which I’m not a fan of, and overall I just didn’t enjoy it.