This Is What It Feels Like

400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062494238. POP
Gr 8 Up–Dia, Jules, and Hanna just graduated from high school. They were in a band together when they were sophomores, but they had a falling out. In the meantime, Dia has had a baby and Hanna has gone to rehab. When a local band competition announces a juicy prize, they decide to get the band back together. In order to make this happen, they need to deal with some of the issues that made them break up in the first place, especially Hanna's past self-destructive behavior. Each of the three young women has a subplot on their way to the band competition: Dia is in love with Jesse but is terrified that he will die (like her daughter's father did); Jules has just ended an unhealthy first relationship and is finding new love with Autumn; and Hanna is working to earn trust back that she lost while she was drinking. Music becomes the catalyst for them to focus on what is most important in their lives. The conclusion is happy but realistic. Ultimately, this is a story with a diverse cast of young women taking charge of their own destinies and taking risks when they are ready to take them, without compromising to those who might not understand.
VERDICT A fun girl-power novel for teens who like their rock hard and their main characters tough. A good choice for YA collections.

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