Every Time You Hear That Song

You’ll swoon for this country music-fueled, summer road-trip romance.

Raegan’s Book Review of Every Time You Hear That Song

A dual-POV love song to country idols, summer road trips, and queer love…that also happens to be chock-full of Taylor Swift easter eggs. 🙂

They say never meet your idols. But what about digging up their long-buried secrets?

Seventeen-year-old aspiring journalist Darren Purchase has been a lifelong fan of country music legend Decklee Cassel, who’s as famous for her classic hits as she is for her partnership with songwriter Mickenlee Hooper. The same Mickenlee who mysteriously backed out of the limelight at the height of their careers, never to be heard from again. Now Decklee’s televised funeral marks the unveiling of her long-awaited time capsule. But when it’s revealed to be empty, a trail of scavenger-hunt clues unfolds, leading to a whopping cash prize for whoever finds the real capsule. Darren knows there’s a story there—and she’s going to be the one to break it. Even if it means a spontaneous road trip with her coworker Kendall.

Flashback to 1963, when a young runaway Decklee has her sights set on fame and glory. As she claws her way to the top over the years that follow, it’s Mickenlee’s lyrics that help rocket her to stardom. But as their relationship evolves beyond the professional, it threatens everything Decklee has worked for. What else will she sacrifice to hold on to her dreams?

I especially loved this book for the portrayal of complicated, unapologetically-ambitious women characters. They have flaws, and make mistakes, and it makes them feel so real and human on the page. 

“I only have one more year of high school left. One more year of being told what to write and how to write it by adults who never pushed the boundaries of this town far enough to see if they would bend.”

Every Time You Hear That Song

Discussion Questions

☆ How does the use of dual perspectives enhance your understanding of the characters and their motivations in the story?

☆ What role do country music idols play in shaping the characters’ identities and aspirations throughout the narrative?

☆ How does the author incorporate Taylor Swift easter eggs into the story, and what significance do they hold for the characters and plot?

☆ Discuss the significance of the time capsule and scavenger hunt in driving the plot forward. How does it symbolize the characters’ journeys?

☆ How does Darren’s aspiration to be a journalist influence her decisions and actions throughout the story?

☆ Explore the theme of sacrifice as it relates to Decklee’s pursuit of fame and success. What does she sacrifice along the way, and at what cost?

☆ Analyze the portrayal of female ambition in the novel. How do Decklee and Darren challenge traditional gender expectations in their respective pursuits?

☆ How does the setting of a summer road trip contribute to the overall atmosphere and themes of the story?

☆ In what ways does the novel explore the complexities of queer love and relationships, particularly within the context of the country music industry?

☆ Consider the portrayal of flawed, multidimensional female characters in the story. How does it contribute to the richness of the narrative?

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