I am a real fan of the Prototype Series. A legit fan. I’ve completely fallen in love with the characters, and if I could host a legit book club on the stories I would! But alas, folks in my regular life don’t read like me. And honestly, they don’t get it. So I have to depend on the online folks for that community dialogue!
So recently, as I’m sure you all know, Loving Cassie was released; completing the Prototype Series. And I was going to just review that one, but I re-read the whole series to get ready for it, and I just fell in love with the characters all over again. So I’m reviewing the whole series, each book (briefly) cause you need to read the whole thing. I mean the WHOLE THING. Because each one is so good on its own, but together, its magic.
The Prototype is a band of talented Black college students in Texas, looking to break into the music business. But unlike most looking to find a way to the top, this group is really about the music. Music for them is like air. It fills them and gives them energy, hope and peace. When all else fails, its through the music that they find themselves again. But as we all know, nothing feels like love.
The Prototype consists of Jersey, Bam, Devin and Travis. Talented, cool and just trying to make it through the trials and tribulation of life and romance. So here we go! Let’s start from the beginning. Happiness in Jersey.
Happiness in Jersey
Happiness in Jersey, features my girl Jersey. She is the bass player of The Prototype and is a college student with a part-time job as a barista. She’s got a roommate who is her complete opposite, has major daddy issues and she occasionally sleeps around with guys when she’s feeling emotionally vulnerable. But her world is totally flipped when Travis’ cousin Isaiah (aka Zay) moves to town. He’s intense; does the whole stare into your eyes thing, and for the first time, she’s unsettled by a guy. Jersey is tough and no man, no matter how fine he is with his gray eyes, is making any moves on her. Right? No matter how understanding, patient, kind or chill Zay is, she doesn’t have time for love, relationships or any sort of emotional entanglements. She’s seen first hand how love can be tragic…
A beautiful, talented and broken soul. We all know that person who doesn’t see themselves; they miss the ways in which they are special. To be honest, we’re all probably Jersey in this way. But because Jersey doesn’t see herself, its like she doesn’t get how much she’s enough. She struggles with self-confidence in a way that is really hard to see. Its that struggle where you don’t think you’re ugly or dumb or incapable, its those feelings you develop over a lifetime of not meeting pseudo expectations, and constantly receiving messages of not being enough. Basically one of the hardest to fix.
Jersey is one I rooted for. I just wanted her to get out of her own way. But getting out of your own way is one of the hardest things to do when you’re carry the burden of pain and hurt. And Zay is that dude y’all. He’s the one that God sends for your to get your sh*t together. When she was irrational, he was patient. When she was weak, he was her strength. When she needed protecting, he stood tall. Man, Zay is that dude. That get you right, type.
Overall, I lovvveeeed Happiness in Jersey. I love Jersey, even though she got on my nerves, and I loved Zay because he was such an evolved being. Life pushed him to grow up quickly and he just got with the program and he became a better person. And he made Jersey be better. He’s that dude.
I have never felt the need to just get up and go. Pack my stuff and just leave? And go where? Not me. But then again, I’ve never felt that need to break away from my environment; that feeling of suffocation? Nope. But I could imagine it though. The need for silence and peace? Yeah, I’d jet with the quickness. So imagine the pressure of everything being too much; that’s where we have Kennedy. Kennedy, a Colorado native, finds herself taking a solo road trip to Texas to stay with her grandmother. She just needed a break from everything to just breakaway. But of course, whenever you’re trying to figure yourself out, here comes a guy. (*Sidenote: I swear, whenever I’m on a figure out my purpose trip, here comes a dude. Where you at when I’m good?!?!*)
Travis, guitarist for The Prototype, has an INSTANT connection with Kennedy. Its one of those feelings that you already know what it is. And to resist just delays the inevitable. But one thing about those instant connections is that they don’t account for the rest of your MFing LIFE!! Here you are trying to better yourself and life is like “nah boo, take some of this too”. And when you’ve been through enough crap to last a lifetime, you just don’t have the energy for that. You don’t have, what I call, “The Mental Space”. But life doesn’t care. So here are Travis and Kennedy, on that cosmic soul connection level, and it is beyond the wrong time for them. Beyond.
I felt for Travis and Kennedy. Like damn y’all, here comes this soulmate energy and nothing else is right about this time for us to be together. I just wanted for Kennedy to win and I wanted for Travis to get on his stuff. Stop with the games bruh and just push forward dude. You know what it is, you know what you want, what needs to happen. But this do the right thing is annoying. I still root for you, but dude; get it together so Kennedy can get it together. Loved it though yall. Like LOVED.
This one is my FAVORITE. Do you understand me? My FAVORITE. And it was two factors that made me fall in love with it, the storytelling and the story. Okay, so remember that Jersey has a roommate who’s her complete opposite? Well that roommate is Willow. Willow, during Happiness in Jersey and Finding Kennedy was dating Prototype drummer Devin. Their story is one that for the reader, is like a slow burn. A fire that builds up over time and can get to levels that overwhelming and all consuming. Did I mention this was my favorite story of the series? Cause it was!! I loved this soooo much y’all can’t even feel me on this. You just can’t.
So Willow and Devin’s story is my fav because their story is written in a way that allows for us to see and understand their love affair and how they get to where they are now. Willow is honesty a good person. She’s kind and genuine and just trying to figure herself out. Like any college student, she’s struggling with her major choice and what she wants to do with her life. Unlike Willow however, Devin has a clear vision of where he sees his life. He understands that through hard work and dedication, every single goal and dream he’s ever imagined for himself will come to fruition.
While these two didn’t have that love at first sight kinda love, their relationship is really one that was built and developed. They learned about each other and connected in a way that only people in love can understand. But what we fail to realize when we consume ourselves in love is that we need to, as individuals, remember who we are, what we aspire for and continue to build up who we want to be; individually. It can be really hard when you’re in college, you meet “The One” and you haven’t even really figured out who YOU are. How can someone complete you when you don’t even know what it means to be a complete person? Or even who that person is? And you’re trying to be with the “love of your life”? Um, yeah okay. Good luck with that!
I just really fell in love with these two and their story. And I just adored the way that their relationship blossomed. Definitely one of my favorite books…like ever.
Now, if you’ve read all of the stories, you’d know that they all run almost simultaneously. So in Loving Cassie, we finally get to see things from Bam and Cassie’s point of view as all the madness of the other stories occur.
Cassie Cassie Cassie. Super smart engineering major, 420 aficionado, big sis to our home girl Kennedy, and an overall a mess. Cassie also comes from Colorado and low-key give me Jersey vibes. She’s the type to hold all of her stuff in and doesn’t really know how to effectively communicate. She sees herself as a caretaker, but in all honesty, she’s the one that needs care taking! Homegirl, you need help. That’s why my boy Bam was like the perfect fit. Yes its kinda awkward to have a thing with your bandmate’s sister. But sometimes you can’t help it. The heart wants what it wants.
Now, don’t be thinking Bam is just this nice cool guy. He’s kinda a hoe. Low-key. Not the kind you wouldn’t talk to, (cause he’s open about it) but the kind that you gotta be upfront about what it is. Bam loves the ladies and the ladies love Bam, but still. Can sis get her quality time? There is no reason why your “other women” keep calling when you’re with me and you’re trying to do something with me! Hello?
Still, I get the thing with Bam. He’s kind, sweet, funny, thoughtful. And most importantly he’s patient. I’m sure its not how he is with all women, its really Cassie. She’s the one that’s got him all in his feelings wanting forever.
Overall, theirs is a love that requires strength. How do you keep getting up after getting knocked down time after time? How do you trust in love when that sh*t has been reckless? How do you know this time is for real, when that’s how you felt every other time? And how are you patient with love when its driving you crazy?
All in all, I’m a huge fan of this series. I really loved every story. Yes Devin and Willow was my fav, but still, loved it all!! It was just so cool to read about them and their journeys and experiences in addition to their love stories. You have to read them all. Every single one, because they are fantastic. Just magic.
About the author:
“Love is beautiful. Humans are messy. I write about the space in between.” -Jacinta Howard
A longtime journalist and lifelong music lover, Jacinta Howard resides in the Atlanta area. She is the author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance, a USA TODAY Must-Read Author and a two-time RONE Award nominee.