Blog Tour Character Interview, Dream Cast, & Playlist: Just Sing by René Gilley

Welcome to my tour stop for Just Sing by René Gilley! (You can see my review here.) This is such a fun stop!! Lily and Aiden, the two main characters of Just Sing, are stopping by today for a short interview. We also get to see who the author would choose to act as her characters with a dream cast. First let's start off with some theme music and the book info...


Same Love ft. Mary Lambert– Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Here Comes the Sun – Beatles
Cruise (Remix) ft. Nelly – Florida Georgia Line
Kiss the Girl – Ashley Tisdale (Disney Princesses)
Daylight – Maroon 5
Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Over my Head – Fray
I Don’t Care – Iconic Mix
I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD)
Life is a Highway – Rascal Flats
Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons

I just have to note here that Daylight by Maroon 5 is a perfect song for Lily and Aiden. I've always thought of it as a perfect song for someone in the military who is leaving to go on tour, but it definitely fits the situation in this story too. Wanted by Hunter Hayes, I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz, Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson.... Oh goodness! The whole playlist is perfect for the book and includes several of my favorite songs, especially I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons! ;)

Just Sing
(Seven Oaks #1)
by René Gilley
YA Contemporary, Performing Arts, Music
Paperback266 Pages
June 5th, 2014 by The Writers Coffee Shop


“Follow you dreams, follow your heart, love your family and Just Sing."

Sixteen-year-old Lily O’Brien has one goal in life—to sing. Her dream is to get into a top notch college vocal program, but the summer before her junior year, her high school cuts their awarding-winning vocal ensemble. She might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When the snobby new neighbors move into their mansion up the hill, Lily is positive summer can’t get any worse, and she’s determined to hate and ignore them—until she meets Aiden.

He’s broken and beautiful, and they become reluctant friends. Through her newfound friendship, she finds the strength to step outside the comfort of her plan and follow her dream.

But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts her wishes aside and finds the answer to save their generations-old ranch in the last place she expected.

Praise for Just Sing

Just Sing evolves mostly around Lily’s struggle with her family, the reality of her dreams, and her first relationship issues with the neighbors’ son Aiden. Honestly Lily is a truly amazing... She is strong-willed and her loyalty and love for her family is admirable. -Between Dreams and Reality Blog

With the popularity of shows like American Idol and The Voice, Gilley's Just Sing promises to bring high engagement to any YA reader who dreams of the stage, lives the stage, or enjoys the stage as a spectator... -Fictionally Yours Blog

Just Sing was a complete and pleasant surprise. There's not many YA novels out there that can capture my heart and soul wholly. And this book is definitely one of them. -Goodreads Review

Character Interview & Dream Cast
by René Gilley

It’s nice to finally meet you, Lily. Tell us about your crazy year at High School, what has changed in your life?

Well life kind of sucks right now since my school’s vocal ensemble has been axed due to budget cuts and they are putting all their money towards football.

Were do you find your inspiration and how do you keep your nerves in check?

I love to sing in front of strangers when I’m on stage. I don’t make eye contact with anyone I know and focus on the people I don’t know. Something about not knowing someone and never seeing them cuts through my nerves and I thrive off it.

What do you feel when you sing?

I have some insecurities--I mean what teen girl doesn’t. Anyway, when I sing it’s the only time I feel completely comfortable in my own skin. When I’m performing it’s like the world is right and I know exactly what I’m supposed to do.

What were your feelings when you first met Aiden?

Well after I got over the mortification of smacking into him, I was enthralled. He was obviously not from my tiny hometown and that right there made me want to etch his phone number in my skin.

Have you moved on from Aiden, or does he still hold a special place in your heart?

Wow, that’s a tough one. Aiden was and is still my friend. I care for him, I don’t think I’ll ever get over that. But he hurt me and the pain of that is raw in my mind. I’ll never say never, but he better have gone to boyfriend boot camp or something for me to entertain the idea of something beyond friendship.

What is the most important thing you have learned over the past year?

To never give up, no matter how bad things seem.

What is next for you, Lily?

SPOILER ALERT, highlight to read: I’m heading to a new high school to focus on singing. All I can hope is that people there aren’t as narrow minded and shallow as the ones at my current high school and I can get the experience I need to get into a good college vocal program.

Hi Aiden, you are looking good today, more grown up. What has changed over the last couple of months?

*Harsh laugh* I think I’ve learned that keeping things from people you care about--even if it’s the best thing for everyone--is not a good idea.

How did you feel when you first moved to the ranch and did this new place change you?

Everything about this house and place made me want to pace and smoke fifty cigarettes. But once I realized the beauty here--in a certain someone special named Lily--the place really grew on me. I actually could see myself here or somewhere like here long term.

Did Lily change your view on life? What did you feel when you first saw her and what do you feel about her now?

The first thing that struck me about Lily was her eyes. They were the prettiest blue color I’ve even seen, and they were so kind and sad at the same time. I had the urge to give her a hug and trust me, I’m not a hugger.

What is next for you, do you have any plans or goals?

First, I need to quick smoking. Lily hates it, and if I ever want a future with her, I need to give that vice up. Second, I need to regroup with my boy Jay and figure out where we’re going to school next year. I need to be with him and Lily if I can. 

Now let's move on to who Lily, Aiden, and Jeremiah would be played by if the author could choose celebrities for them...

For Lily, I’m going to go with Ryan Newman, she totally has the eyes for it. 

Ryan Newman

For Aiden I found two, one is older and one is younger, but James Maslow of Big Time Rush or Daniel Miller Nickelodeon star. 
            James Maslow
Daniel Miller

For Jeremiah I’d say Hunter Hayes or someone who looks like that. 
Hunter Hayes

Now I just need to drive to the Burbank and beg a producer to make Just Sing into a movie.

Great picks, René! I would go with James Maslow for Aiden. Aiden is supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, a little rough around the edges, and have that slightly bad boy vibe, which I get from him. Daniel Miller seems too much of a good guy. Lol!

About the Author

By day, René Gilley works as a portfolio manager for a Fortune 50 company, but her nights and weekends are spent writing young adult and new adult romance books. Her brain never shuts off—always dreaming up new situations her characters can get into.

Her California home is often the backdrop for her books. Her debut novel, Just Sing of the SEVEN OAKS SERIES, was years in the making. Like her character, René seeing Just Sing being published is a dream come true.

She’s a wife, mother to two beautiful daughters, and four dogs. She’s proud to be a triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) survivor and believes in giving back through book profits to charities that support breast cancer.

Book Trailer

Tour-Wide Giveaway

1 - Paperback of Just Sing by René Gilley
2 - e-books of Just Sing by René Gilley
4 - Just Sing Sway Packs

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  1. Oh, this one sounds good! I don't usually read music related ones though, since I find them cheesy most of the time, but love that the romance starts as friendship and mainly focuses on that. I don't mind swearing in mine, it seems more realistic for me that way. But glad you overall enjoyed it, even if you did have a few issues with it. :)

  2. Good review. I like Ya Contemporary books. <3

  3. I hadn't hear of this one before, but it does look cute. I like romances that start as friendships, which you hardly ever see. Glad you liked it overall. Great review! ~Pam

  4. I think I'll have to agree here. ;) It was really, really good.

  5. I think we all do at one point or another. There are some really good ones out there.

  6. I have only read maybe four YA books (including this one) that have music woven into the story and two of those were by Gayle Forman. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. I love romances that start with friendship, even if you know where they're headed or there's instant attraction that's an undercurrent to the relationship. I'm really curious to see where the next book will take these characters.

  8. Katiria Rodriguez12/13/14, 6:31 PM

    Great review I just loved this series as well I was an emotional wrake after that ending!

  9. Ashley Christy2/16/15, 7:10 PM

    I will say that I came into this book with the idea that "Tessa better end up with Will, or I quit!" For some reason, though I liked Jem as a character, I never bought that Tessa loved him or that he could be SO CLOSE to Will and not see that Will was in love with Tessa. Never.

    That aside, while I think the resolution re: Jem's illness was something that a lot of people predicted, I do think that the ending of this book was one of the best resolutions to a love triangle situation that I've ever read. I enjoy this series more than TMI, but after reading so many disappointing series finales, I will say that Cassandra Clare knows how to write a satisfying conclusion.

  10. I so agree! (IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS SERIES - THERE ARE SPOILERS...) Will was definitely my favorite, but at the same time I just loved Jem and wanted him to be happy as well. There was never a counterpoint for him introduced in the story that worked for me and I loved who he became and how he played a roll in the other series and then got to still be with Tessa who I didn't feel should be alone for the rest of her life. I loved them both popping up in the current-day series and am looking forward to seeing cameos of them in the future since their families are involved in the next series. :)

  11. Ashley Christy2/16/15, 11:13 PM

    Totally agree about the next series. Her books are never my favorite, but I always like them and they are reliable. As it stands now, they will all be on my TBR!

  12. This series I loved, but the other was so-so. I do agree that I know what to expect and they're definitely page-turners.


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