As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.
Kate Hamilton isn’t your sweet ingenue. She’s as well-versed in politics as her dad and is practically on fire with fury after her ex-boyfriend Parker posted many… unflattering photos of Kate on the school website for the girl he’d been cheating on Kate with. None of them are nudes, but they impacted her father’s career enough that they had to flee to Texas and her father is now running for election in his hometown district instead of his original North Carolina district.
From her reflections on life in DC, it’s clear Kate never stood down in the face of injustice and she’s not about to start doing so in Red Dirt, Texas. She already has a plan in mind for vengeance against Parker, but in the meantime, she’s happy trying to “fix” thing she sees as wrong in Red Dirt. Her new friend Ana is ostracized because her ex-boyfriend Hank spread rumors she’s a slut? Set her up with hometown-hero quarterback Kyle Stone so no one will ever bother her again! Kyle turns out to be a massive douche? Try and fail multiple times to screw him over. She’s a mess, to say the least.
If you love Hamilton–and really, who doesn’t?–Kate might feel a little familiar: she’s basically Alexander Hamilton reborn as a modern high school student with all of the meddling tendencies of Emma from Jane Austen’s eponymous novel. Kate’s pushy willing to fight anyone at any time over any perceived injustice. She’s so dedicated that she misses things readers will find obvious. See: Kyle’s overinflated ego, Ana’s feelings, and Hunter’s major crush on her.
Just like Kate is desperately trying to find the “soul” in her photographs, she’s trying to find who she is. She’s lived a life so full of political spin she’s practically the concept given life! Interference has a lot of football talk and political shenanigans, but it’s mostly about Kate finding herself. In the meantime, readers are treated to lovely writing and a familiar yet unique small-town setting. The political lens we come to see Red Dirt’s district through gives what could have been a tired setting new life and is dead-on about how important football is in a town like that.
What Left Me Wanting:
Speaking of Hunter, his and Kate’s slow-burn romance is the only thing about the novel worth criticizing. The romantic chemistry between them wasn’t there for me and I wondered how much better off the book would have been had their relationship remained platonic.
Throughout the book, I had “Just Like Fire” by P!nk stuck in my head and it’s for good reason: that song is practically Kate’s anthem. If you’ve head that song and like the lyrics, this is the book you want. This well-written mix of football, Emma, politics, and Hamilton will please almost any reader. (In addition, have fun trying to convince me Kate isn’t descended from Alexander Hamilton from her father and Korean through her mother. My headcanons won’t be altered even if the author herself says I’m wrong. No evidence for it = none against it sometimes.)
When a high school breakup turns into a scandal in the middle of her Dad’s current campaign, Kate and her family go back to his roots, leaving the urban environment of Washington, DC for the expanse (and dust) of Red Dirt, Texas. Kate is looking to make things right, even if she is miles from any civilization. She needs to make her ex pay for what he did, she needs some volunteer hours pronto to beat him for a coveted recommendation letter, and she needs to build her photography portfolio if she wants to get into a decent art program.
What she goes looking for and what she finds ends up being two very different things. Her proposal to volunteer at the library is met by hostility and sarcasm and a small case of mistaken identity. Her offer to volunteer at the animal shelter gets her thrown into a difficult situation, where she is out of her depth. Her attempt to match people together blows up into a disaster unto itself, and the people getting hurt are people she is starting to care about.
Through it all, Kate is a girl struggling to understand where she fits in with her family, the family business, and a town where she is the new girl. With her trusty film camera, access to a darkroom, and an unexpected friendship with Hunter Price, she figures out how to understand the soul of a town, a photograph, and even herself.
Set against the backdrop of high school football, age-old rivalries, and a heated political campaign, Kay Honeyman gives readers a riveting story with “Interference.” Her dialogue is strong and captivating. Her characters are made human with their flaws and their vulnerabilities, which also makes them endearing when we realize they really are doing the very best they can.