It Sounds Like This

Viking. Aug. 2022. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593116906.
Gr 9 Up–Yasmín is at a breaking point, and the contributing factors include a mother whose behavior borders on toxic, the financial fallout on the Houston community after Hurricane Humphrey, a frenemy, and educators who, while well intentioned, put unnecessary pressure on students, specifically Yasmín’s Spanish teacher. Another contributing factor is a harmful online culture that allows peers to hide behind a screen and attack one another. Put all of these pieces together, and they make an explosive cocktail. Through the upheaval, Yasmín must negotiate healthy boundaries, learn how to distance herself from a negative friendship, and build new ones without repeating previous mistakes—and learn to play the tuba to save the marching band. This YA novel will sit well with the band nerds as well as school counselors who want young people to see that a successful path to healthy friendships is attainable. Meriano addresses the wide and varying spectrum that can be found in a student population. The representation of love and acceptance in the queer community is a definite positive for the novel. Yasmín embraces this diversity: she cheers for Layla and Mia, a budding romance in the flute section; creates a supportive space for Milo and Caleb, freshmen in the brass section, to express their affection without fear of judgment; and Bloom can safely express being asexual and having attraction to Yasmín.
VERDICT This novel embodies the value of celebrating healthy love; stock it on the realistic YA shelf.

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