May 25, 2018

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Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow | SLJ Review

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redstarBIGELOW, Lisa Jenn. Drum Roll, Please. 320p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062791146.

Gr 5-8 –The day before 13-year-old drummer Melly heads to Camp Rockaway, her parents drop a bombshell: They’re getting divorced. Suddenly, the next two weeks become about more than just hanging out with her best friend Olivia, swimming in the lake, and playing the drums. In this sweet and sincere summer story, Melly confronts a whirlwind of feelings as she observes Olivia’s newfound intense interest in boys, learns to play in a band with strangers, and develops her first crush on a girl: her bandmate, Adeline. Camp Rockaway, with its endless music-related puns and earnest belief in music’s transformative power, provides the perfect setting for Melly to navigate these major life events. Bigelow captures the emotional intensity of camp, where each day stretches long, and relationships can come together and fall apart in seconds. It is Melly’s first-person narration that truly drives the story, always honest and self-reflective, even as she makes mistakes and struggles to understand and express her own feelings. Both fun and substantial, readable and empowering, this novel is a master class in balancing real issues with a light-hearted tone. Bigelow’s compassionate take on the classic middle school topics of family, friendship, and first romance hits all the right notes. VERDICT Highly recommended; a perfect summer read for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer Holm.–Molly Saunders, Homewood Public Library, AL

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2018 issue.

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