SING like No One’s Listening – Vanessa Jones, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc., 9781682631942, c2019, 2020
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? Could there be a text that covers so many different young adult topics all in one storyline? Vanessa Jones takes readers on an emotional growth journey with her character Nettie. Nettie we meet is just your regular teenager who wants to get into her top choice college. However, her top choice college happens to be a very prestigious performing arts school. Nettie however, has also just gone through one of the most traumatic life events and coincidentally it happens very close to the time that she has to go audition for her application to the performing arts school named Dukes. The author introduces us to characters that many of us have either encountered or even might have been in our young adult years. Nettie struggles in her first year to make meaningful relationships while still desperately trying to meet the standards of her competitive school which by the way her mother also had attended. The dance teacher hates her and, like any other good school drama, she has two young women who are out to make her life miserable. Nettie, though, does seem to spark a little romance and eventually she transforms into a very different character from the beginning of the book where she came off more as someone who was easily able to be manipulated. As someone who has worked both with seniors in high school and college freshmen I was often very concerned about the mental, social and relational issues that happen to the characters in this book. This actually did help me relate to the characters more because this is behavior, although not as exaggerated, that I have seen in some of the young adults that I have worked with.
Anything you did not like about the book? I do wish that some of the characters and some of the back stories were more fleshed out to give the reader a chance to really understand the history behind the character relationships. Although that would make the novel a bit longer- so perhaps this could go into another book that becomes a series. Also there are many mental health and emotional health topics this book examines in its characters that if someone reading it has experienced any of this themselves it could be triggering.
To whom would you recommend this book? I would recommend this book for a young reader who is struggling with building social connections after a traumatic life event. I would hope through the text the reader could see that even in the most difficult times of our lives that if we stick to it we can prevail. I also think since this book covers so many stereotypical young adult behaviors it would be a great book for even a school therapist to read.
Who should buy this book? Middle schools
Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA
Date of review: 01/08/2021
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