Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU
Free On KU

All the Love Songs by Nicole Pyland


Super-famous straight girl meets famous (closeted) girl, falls in love almost instantly and doesn’t fight the attraction.

Peyton Gloss (a barely veiled version of Taylor Swift) has a ‘squad’ of women friends – all famous in their own right – and has a week-long July 4th celebration with them in her version of a summer camp. Lennox Owen, a mega famous actress and America’s Sweetheart is Peyton’s best friend, ergo, an automatic invitee. Lennox’s parents are both successful actors and acting is all Lennox knows since almost birth. She has a younger sister, who she has almost brought up single-handedly, on the autism spectrum. The fallout of her fame is that Lennox’s personal life is fodder for media and her three relationships with men have been widely reported, though no one really knows the details of what happened in the relationships or why they ended.

Mackenzie (Kenzie) Smyth auditioned for a TV show on a dare and landed the job. Unexpectedly, the show was successful and when it was cancelled after four seasons, Kenzie got more offers for TV and in films. She is now starring in a zombie show which is also successful. What is not known about Kenzie is that she has Asperger’s which makes her socially awkward. Kenzie has also nurtured a long-time crush on Lennox. She is a new addition to Peyton’s squad. When Lennox and Kenzie meet at Peyton’s camp, there is an irresistible attraction between them. While this should’ve scared Lennox, she is brave enough to embrace it and strong enough to recognise Kenzie’s problem and take care of Kenzie tenderly and gently.  

As the week draws to a close, the new couple are avoiding thinking about how their relationship will work when they are out of the bubble but the question looms large. Particularly since both have successful careers and said careers will put them in different cities and continents almost as soon as they leave from the idyll of the camp.

We were totally into Lennox and Kenzie’s relationship. Completely invested in the growing emotions and closeness. And then at around 65%, it all completely fell apart. Up until then we were appreciative of Kenzie’s efforts to deal with her condition and be in the relationship. Yes, mostly it was Lennox doing all the heavy lifting in the budding relationship, but Kenzie was at least trying. Then Kenzie discovers that Lennox has been offered a fantastic role in a series which will require her to be in New Zealand of eight months each year for four years. Lennox hasn’t accepted the offer that comes with a huge salary plus almost certain awards in the future – it is still only an offer. Kenzie discovers about this offer when she reads incoming texts on Lennox’s phone while Lennox is sleeping. And Kenzie runs away. All of Kenzie’s behaviour up until this point was somehow not so awful because it was a result of her Asperger’s (at least that’s how it’s explained). But this? This running away? It is only self-preservation so that she doesn’t have greater heartbreak in future. It is completely selfish, inconsiderate and hurtful. What makes it worse that Lennox’s best friend (and almost sister), Peyton, makes it possible for Kenzie to run away.

And then Kenzie ghosts Lennox. Not answering text messages. Not replying to voicemails in which Lennox is clearly falling apart. How is that okay?

Later, when Lennox flies to London (where Kenzie is shooting) to at least have a conversation with Kenzie, Kenzie’s actions out them. The price of this outing is way higher in Lennox than on Kenzie because Lennox is the mega-star and she’s had past relationships with men so she is vilified endlessly. Yet, it is Lennox who holds the relationship together and returns to London to be with Kenzie. Once again, Kenzie’s actions are responsible for the media getting details about their relationship resulting in a media circus because of which they are practically under house arrest.

Justifiably, Lennox needs time to deal with all this and flies back. And here is the other huge problem in the book. Lennox taking the time to deal with her life basically falling apart is equated with Kenzie running away for self-preservation and Peyton actually guilts Lennox about it. Kenzie also plays victim though her autism starts feeling more of an excuse than a reason because she knows exactly what she is doing.

Past the 65% mark, this book actually hurt us. It broke our heart that someone with the ability to love as deeply and as tenderly as Lennox is ultimately alone in the relationship – without even her friends having her back. She works on the relationship single-handedly with nothing coming from Kenzie. Lennox carries the entire burden of making the relationship work – emotionally and practically. Lennox first lets go of the amazing show she’s been offered and the completely sacrifices her career. For Kenzie. Lennox deserved so much more.

This book is very well written, has some great lines (including the title phrase which is beautifully explained in the book), some wonderful moments but clearly, this one didn’t work for us at all – in fact, we are still physically hurting for Lennox and don’t see this emotion ending anytime soon. 


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