It Goes Like This – Book Review/Blog Tour

In Miel Moreland’s heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.

But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

Content Warnings: primary trigger warning–Misgendering and none of it is done maliciously (although it’s still obviously harmful to the non-binary character) and hospitals.

Minor mentions of: biphobia, homophobia, substance addiction, eating disorders/body image, grief/loss of a parent.


There’s a part of me when I started reading It Goes Like This that thought, yeah, this isn’t going to be for me because I’m not sure I’m going to care enough about four spoiled teenage popstars, complaining about spoiled teenage popstar type things. But, unless a book is offensive in some way, I have a hard anti-DNF rule, as in I’ll always finish the book, whether I’m enjoying it or not, so, I pressed on.

Then, a funny thing happened; I got to know Eva…but more on that in a bit.

It Goes Like This from Miel Moreland, her YA debut, is as the summary states, a mixed-media story about friendship, family, love, loss, and the entertainment business. It takes the point of view of four characters, Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph who went from childhood friends, to popstars, to more than friends, to broken-up, to solo-success, to reforming, all before the legal drinking age.

We pick up the story after the group has disbanded, but with occasional flashbacks, begin to piece together the past handful of years. Eva stayed in Los Angeles doing her thing (we’ll get to that), Celeste has a huge solo act going, Gina’s career as an actor is on the verge of exploding, and Steph moved back home to be with their family, choosing no spotlight at all. They’ve stopped communicating as a group, with Celeste and Gina the only ones having kept in touch, but even that is sometimes staged. But, Mother Nature has other ideas and after a storm wreaks havoc in their hometown, the wheels begin to turn and a reunion, while complicated, finally seems possible. For the Moonlight Overthrow fans, when the rumors turn into maybes and the maybes turn into realities, well, que the squeeing, tears of joy, and head explosions, all in emoji form of course.

OMG!!! Could it finally be happening!?!?! #MO #moonlightoverthrow #reunion #Eva #benefitconcert

There is absolutely zero water under the bridge at this point, especially for Eva, who was the one hit hardest by the unceremonious breakup. So, performing on stage is the least of their worries, simply being together in the same room might prove to be the biggest challenge facing Moonlight Overthrow. This part of the book is everything you’d expect it be, awkward, painful, searing, as the wounds are still fresh and Eva coming in hot.

With the other three at least willing to meet, the success or failure of this reunion hinges on Eva, and I think even her friends are disarmed by how much resentment she still has, which is totally justified in my opinion. Whether or not this can actually happen, and in a short amount of time, takes up most of the second and third acts, and while the ending isn’t much of a surprise, how they get there just might be.

An important part of this book, and really the beating heart of it, looks at fandom, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I will say mostly the good. Miel steers clear of any really nasty stuff, with surface level gossip and “who wore what at what party” being the worst of the worst.

We’re connected in ways that are almost inexplicable and don’t allow for people, things, bands, to simply just go away, and a rabid fan base can  keep careers alive long after they were put to bed. I’m old and shitty so I had to rediscover that muscle memory about what it meant to be a hyper-fan of something. And although I was never accused of being fanatical, I have put my heart and soul into many things over the years. So, once I rediscovered that sense of community, it was easy to dial in and get some perspective, and once you’ve gained that, empathy should never be too far behind. And that’s the name of game here, you have to care about these four and Miel does everything she can to make just that happen. Does she succeed? Mostly.

A lot of what goes on won’t make sense necessarily, as it’s kind of a whirlwind of timelines, rapid POV switching and unnecessary family drama. All are meant to set up an ending that I suspect will please a large percentage of the readers but satisfy non if they were to give it some thought. We really don’t get to see the group at their best in the past so; do we really want them to get back together if all we’re exposed to is pain? At this point, we’d welcome any reunion if it meant putting a hold on the infighting, the bitterness, and the resentment, so is this really the reunion we want? Or did Miel do such a great job of establishing them as individuals that having them concede a reunion in the first place is perhaps not the best ending imaginable?

The answer is yes and no, but that’s where I think we have to factor in the mixed media aspect of this story, taking into account the fans overwhelmingly positive opinion of the group, and what Moonlight Overthrow means to an awful lot of people. Perception is everything in this business and is something that comes up time and time again this story. What appears to be isn’t necessarily what is, so a big part of this reunion for the group is controlling their own narrative and self-image, perhaps for the first time in their careers.

It’s this sit back and enjoy the ride approach that definitely works well for Miel, and is made considerably more palatable thanks to Eva, the de-facto main character and anchor of this book. It starts and ends with her as we get most of the bands tumultuous days through her eyes. The reason for that is she was the one most hurt (and surprised) by the bands break-up which was doubly hard for her because it also meant the end of her romantic relationship with Celeste. For Celeste, a clean break from all of it was needed as she was looking to forge her own path, her own identity away from Moonlight Overthrow.

Post break-up, Eva struggled to find her footing feeling both the pain of her losing her band, but also the heartbreak over losing her first love. In between crying on the floor underneath her grand piano, Eva writes songs for others, spends time with fans online under an assumed name, and makes the important decision to go to school. This would prove fateful because one day at school, during a particularly vulnerable moment in a stairwell, she met Lydia, a no-nonsense student who asked Eva to straighten her back and be the best version she can be. They form a tight bond and Lydia fills a hole in Eva’s life at a delicate moment in time that no money in the world could buy.

So, between school, Lydia, writing songs, and masquerading online, Eva bravely carves out an existence for herself. Man I loved this version of Eva, bent but not broken, still nursing a broken heart but using that pain to find a different way, a better way. And as I’ve said, so much of this book, the in-universe appeal, is from the fans perspective, and Eva is that bridge, making her POV not only vital, but incredibly practical from a writing standpoint. It’s through her we meet a fan on Tumblr called “Kaystar” who in a lot of ways is the soul of this story and represents a side of fandom we forget exists sometimes, a healthy love and respect for the artists and their work. It’s through their passion that the reunion is not only possible, but that Eva has also found a new perspective for herself.

The downside of stannig Eva that hard, is that a lot of her part of the story concerning redemption, forgiveness, and reclamation, comes up a little short. I won’t lie to you and say the ending was entirely pleasing, in fact, I think it derails all the good/great work Miel put in up to that point with that character. I can’t specifically say why or what I think should have happened because that would be spoilery, and much more importantly, this isn’t my book, nor my story to tell. But let’s just say happy endings all around are on the menu for the #MO fans.

It doesn’t matter what I think or how the book should’ve ended, it only matters that Miel got to tell the story she wanted to tell, and it is a good one. And also, this is a subjective criticism not a mechanical one, although I could argue she abandons something important in the end, but that’s for another day. And yes, it occurs to me that with my affinity towards Eva that I’m behaving like one of the #MO fans on Tumblr who has their favorite, and anything less than an ideal outcome isn’t a favorable one. I can only offer this concession humbly and with a tip of the hat to Miel who clearly roped me in with strong character work and good writing.

The bottom line is It Goes Like This is a nice bit of representation with a mixed media overlay, together making this book a fun read that should leave most anyone with a general sense of euphoria, and who doesn’t need more of that?

Book Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Bookshop | Indigo | Indiebound

About the Author

Miel Moreland writes character-driven contemporary Young Adult novels. Born and raised in Minneapolis, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston.

Author Links: 

Author Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Tour Schedule: 

Click HERE or the banner above for the complete It Goes Like This tour schedule!

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