CHARM CITY ROCKS by Matthew Norman

I adored this laugh-out-loud love story about how a cardigan-wearing piano teacher steals the heart of the legendary rock ‘n’ roll chick who was once his celebrity crush.

Billy is happy (happy enough). He likes his job and his students, his Baltimore neighborhood, his rented apartment over a record store, his Steinway piano, his complicated expresso machine, and his vintage station wagon with issues. But the love of his life is his brainy teenage son, Caleb.

Only twenty when Caleb was born, Billy co-parents amicably with his ex and her hubby, a corporate power couple.

Father and son have an easy relationship aided by life lessons that have covered everything from not being a bully to how to play the theme music for Jaws. But Caleb worries that his dad will be lonely once he leaves for college. One night, with his dad passed out asleep on the sofa, Caleb mistakenly consumes three weed gummies. (How was he to know they weren’t misshapen gummy bears?)

And his stoned shenanigans bring Margot out of his dad’s dreams and into his life.

Margot, once famous for hitting things, is now a recluse living alone in her New York apartment. As a drummer, she never thought of herself as the talent in her band, even though she composed their iconic song. She misses creating music, but the world of celebrity nearly destroyed her. Burned by people she loved and trusted, she never smiles and avoids the public eye.

Then she meets Billy, a nice guy who believes she’s the greatest musician of her generation–not a has-been. And he makes her smile. In public. She even starts writing songs again …

But what does the future hold for them? When Billy starts fretting over that question, he is far from happy.

Add an impromptu performance in a neighborhood bar, rock fans with cellphones, and Margot’s movie star former husband who doesn’t like to be sidelined, and anything could happen.

CHARM CITY ROCKS is the perfect summer read with a full cast of quirky characters. Buy it, read it, thank me later.

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