In the Key of Us

Farrar. Apr. 2022. 368p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374314101.
Gr 5-8–With lyricism and emotional honesty, Lockington tells the story of two girls who find hope and healing in each other at Harmony Music Camp. Andi has lost her “soul sound” on the trumpet ever since her mother, a creative and at times erratic force, died in a tragic accident. Now living with her much more pragmatic aunt and uncle, Andi can’t help but see a summer away at camp as a convenient method to get her out of the way in preparation for the arrival of their new baby. Zora would much rather be dancing, but her family has mapped a very narrow path for her as a flutist, and she is beginning to break under her mother’s constant expectation of perfection. Although confident and sparkly on the outside, Zora experiences intense anxiety that she releases through self-harm. As two of the only Black kids at camp, Andi and Zora are frequently thrown together by students and staff who ignorantly assume that they will automatically connect. But as they open up to each other about their fears, losses, and dreams, they actually begin to develop a real friendship, and maybe more. Andi and Zora share the narration, and each section begins with a beautiful poem written in the voice of the camp itself, which lends a warm, comforting atmosphere to the setting.
VERDICT Navigating sensitive topics like body image, mental health, racism, grief, and healthy relationships with a gentle hand, this moving coming-of-age story is perfect for tweens and young teens.

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