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The Music of What Happens
2019
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Summary
Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.<br> <br> Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.<br> <br> Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.<br> <br> Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most.
Trade Reviews

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-Max is a popular high school athlete who spends most of his free time with his two best friends, playing video games and joking around. Max has a secret, though, that he hasn't told anyone, not even his buddies, and he's trying to be the fighter his father raised him to be. Jordan is attempting to help his mom with their food truck. Jordan hires Max to work the food truck with him, and two boys who thought they had nothing in common find that they are more alike than they thought. This story has an easy, conversational tone, and the high jinks of the two boys and their separate groups of friends, in addition to their budding romance, provide much-needed relief from the intensity of the scenes in which each of them is dealing with his individual struggles. Some readers may be turned off by Max and his buddies and their "locker room talk," occasionally resorting to homophobic slurs. Max grapples with understanding whether he has actually been raped and what he should do about it; the consequences of the rape also cause him to question the lessons his father taught him as a young child. While the author makes clear what happened to Max, the assault is not described in graphic detail. In spite of this novel's focus on heavier topics, its readability and relatability will make it popular among most teens. Give to fans of Benjamin Alire Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. VERDICT A first purchase for public and high school libraries.-Jenni Frencham, formerly at Columbus Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Jordan is the skinny emo kid who sits in the back of Max's AP language and composition class. He also works in a food truck, which Max, a baseball jock, discovers when he walks up to check out the menu just in time to witness Jordan's emotionally fragile mother's meltdown. When Max asks if he can help, he finds himself with a new summer job, working the truck's grill. At first, he and Jordan are uneasy around each other, but things change when they come out and gradually become friends and then boyfriends. Readers' understanding of the boys grows as the perspective moves back and forth between the two. Jordan, it turns out, is self-hating, believing that no one could love him or believe he is a true boy. Max uses his dazzling smile to cope with his problems, while telling himself he is a warrior. They sound like an odd couple, and so they are, save for the one important thing in common: their love for each other. Konigsberg's character-­driven novel is expert in revealing the boys' growth and changes, as well as examining their innermost thoughts, the evolving nature of their relationship, and the music of what happens in their lives. In this ambitious novel, Konigsberg demonstrates once again why he is one of the major voices in LGBTQ literature.--Michael Cart Copyright 2018 Booklist
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