Book Review of “Seven Cities” by Jayna Ostler

Jayna always sends me merch whenever I buy one of her books! The pins are on my backpack, and the rest is set on my bookshelf!

I met Jayna about two years ago during Camp NaNoWriMo when we were placed in the same cabin. After NaNo ended, she invited me to be part of her writing group on Facebook, where I was quickly welcomed by the rest of her friends. Jayna and I have been virtual friends ever since, sharing our writing and basically obsessing over books. I’ve bought all four of Jayna’s novels to date, and while I absolutely loved each one, Seven Cities is by far my favorite. I can say 100% that it is one of the best novels I’ve ever read in my entire life.

Seven Cities follows Dee, roller derby queen and member of the up and coming band Margo and the Shock Girls, and world renowned rock star Malcolm, a member of Hell’s Fighters. The two meet in a bar when Dee accidentally breaks Malcolm’s nose, and from that moment on, both Dee and Malcolm are completely smitten with each other.

The only problem is that they are both on tour with their bands, but somehow, by fate or chance or pure coincidence, they somehow seem to run across each other in, you guessed it, seven different cities. Throughout their brief meetings, the two rockers fall more and more in love with each other and quickly realize that they’d be willing to risk it all just to be together.

If you’ve read Jayna’s novel, The Openers, you’ll know that main character Quin Talbot has two parents that were in bands. Seven Cities follows Quin’s parents—a fact that I found fascinating when Jayna first described her novel to me. I can see a lot of Dee and Malcolm in Quin, and it left me in awe because Jayna really knows how to craft her characters.

Like I said, I love the characterization in this novel, especially the main characters. Dee was so quirky and independent, yet she was completely in love with Malcolm. She wasn’t awed by his fame, however. Instead, she was awed by the Malcolm that the rest of the world didn’t see, and to me, that really stood out in the novel. It was as if Malcolm wasn’t that famous, and I never would’ve even thought about it if it hadn’t been mentioned every so often. I liked that Dee and Malcolm’s chemistry was pure and wasn’t based on the fact that he held a certain amount of fame.

Speaking of Malcolm, I loved him. I loved, loved, loved him! He’s definitely the best character that Jayna has ever written, and I love all of her characters. He’s so fun and smitten and sexy and just badass. He’s the kind of boyfriend all girls want. I loved his voice and descriptions of everything happening. Mostly, though, I loved the way he loved Dee. It made me want someone to love me like that.

The writing was also another factor that was above and beyond. The writing was so pure and honest that I connected with it immediately. The dialogue was natural, and the narrative was so easy to follow and relatable. I felt like I was right there with Malcolm and Dee.

I loved the roller derby aspect of the novel. I find it fascinating, and it was a nice undercurrent to the main aspect of music life and bands. I’m not sure if Jayna knows anything about the roller derby life, but from reading this book, it seems as if she’s a pro. It was a refreshing “pause” of sorts from the music and the different bands.

I loved how the characters went through real life situations. I won’t say what happens because it’ll reveal a spoiler of sorts, but I’ll just say that it’s refreshing to know that Jayna’s characters are human, too. They have to pause to go to the bathroom, which isn’t shown much in other books.

The only con I have is that it ended. I could’ve read more about Malcolm and Dee for ages. I began reading this book after my classes ended on Thursday, and I finished that night before I went to bed. It was so phenomenal that I couldn’t put it down.

I’d recommend this book to anyone! Even though it falls under the New Adult genre unlike Jayna’s other three Young Adult books, it’s an amazing read and is suitable for readers from ages 16 and older.

Thank you, Jayna, for writing such an amazing novel! A million stars, definitely!

Available for purchase at the following locations:

Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Lulu