It Goes Like This

Feiwel & Friends. May 2021. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250767486.
Gr 8 Up–In middle school, Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph formed a queer pop band called Moonlight Overthrow that made them superstars. Last year, however, not only did the band break up, but Eva’s longtime girlfriend, Celeste, dumped her for a solo career. Now Eva attends college, Celeste sings, Gina stars in movies, and no one knows about Steph, who moved home to Duluth, IA. But after a major storm lays waste to Duluth, Gina suggests one last benefit concert for Moonlight Overthrow. Each band member has reasons for agreeing, and their fandom goes wild. Over one long week at Steph’s house, they all consider what they lost and gained by ending the band—and their relationships—and figuring out what they really want for the future. This novel is a home run. In their personal journeys, the sympathetic protagonists make good role models for teens worried that every mistake or course change is permanent; the characters demonstrate that growing up, changing your mind, and admitting you screwed up are all fine. The nonchronological structure effectively fleshes out their backstories piece by piece, and interstitial social media clips represent fan culture honestly and fondly. The protagonists are all white except Gina, who is Black, and are cisgender except for genderqueer Steph. Although swearing and colloquial body part terms occur frequently, romantic interludes and references are not explicit.
VERDICT Fans of bands and bandom will love these queer college-age former pop stars reuniting for a benefit concert, personal reflection, and a hopeful future.

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