|Song called home|
Author: Zarr, Sara
Receiving a mysterious guitar the night before she leaves the city to live with her mom and new stepdad, Lou believes that if she learns how to play it, she can bring a piece of her old life home.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 517169
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/21)
School Library Journal (00/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2022 Gr 5–8—Fifth grader Louisa (Lou) Emerson struggles with her alcoholic father's departure from her family. Left to help her pick up the pieces is her older sister, Casey, who is either on her phone or angry most of the time. To complicate life even further, her mother is engaged to a man named Steve, who Lou isn't even sure she likes. On her birthday, a guitar mysteriously appears outside her apartment door. Convinced it's from her father, Lou is determined to learn to play it. As her emotions spiral out of control, she begins to steal things; little things that remind her that she still does have some power. On the day of her mother's wedding, Lou's dad shows up uninvited and intoxicated. Frustrated that she can't even hold a normal conversation with her transient father, and with attending a new school close to Steve's house, Lou's stealing ramps up and ends up hurting someone very dear to her. Things start to look up when she meets a neighbor who can teach her to play the guitar in time for the school talent show. As her playing improves, Lou is certain that when her dad hears her perform in the talent show, things will be better. VERDICT This coming-of-age novel tackles issues of alcohol dependence, stealing, puberty, divorce, and step-families. A solid addition to middle grade shelves.—Tracy Cronce - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2022 *Starred Review* White fifth-grader Louise’s life changes drastically when her mother remarries and Lou has to move from San Francisco to the suburbs. She hates leaving Beth, her Chinese American best friend, and longs to talk to her sister Casey, 14, about it, but Casey’s obsessed with her boyfriend. Their father’s an alcoholic who’s rarely in touch, but on Lou’s birthday, when someone leaves a guitar with an unsigned birthday card for her outside her apartment, she’s sure it’s from her dad. She thinks if she learns to play it and performs in her school’s talent show, her dad will show up. Her new stepdad’s Filipino American neighbor, Marcus, even offers to teach her to play. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life because of all the changes in her life, Lou starts stealing little things as a way to maintain control. All the characters are flawed but fully realized, and Lou’s family’s Christian faith is incorporated seamlessly into the plot. The book also thoughtfully depicts what the children of alcoholic parents might experience, as Lou reflects on living with her dad: “You watched and waited to see what was OK to feel and to say. Never easy, never warm. Never totally safe.” Acclaimed YA author Zarr’s middle-grade debut about family, friendship, and belonging is heartwarming, uplifting, and wonderfully real. Highly recommended. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
Booklist - 02/15/2022 - Copyright 2022 Booklist.