Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Sound of Letting Go - YA Book Review

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In Stasia Ward Kehoe's The Sound of Letting Go, main character Daisy Meehan loves jazz music and is an excellent trumpet player. But music is more than just something fun to listen to and play. It's also a bit of an escape.

What is Daisy escaping from? Her autistic brother, the growing distance between her parents because of the stress of raising an autistic child, and the pressure Daisy feels to do everything right.

When Daisy's parents tell her that they've decided to place her brother in an institution better equipped to handle his violent outbursts, Daisy feels betrayed. She knows that it's probably safer for her family, but she also doesn't want her family broken apart like this.

So she tries to rebel. She gives up on her music. She seeks solace in the arms of bad-boy Dave. She paints her fingernails a dark color in an attempt to be "goth". But with the help of the people around her, Daisy learns how to embrace change and the non-normalcy of life.

I liked this book. It's not written in a traditional novel format. Instead, it's written as though the author was trying to create a poem with the words, which I guess sort of evokes the poetic jazz music that Daisy listens to and plays in the book. However, I'm not sure that the format of the book will appeal to kids on the younger end of the book's target age range (12 and up). I can see some middle schoolers, especially kids who don't read a lot of books, opening this to the first page and being totally turned off by the way the words are arranged on the page.

That said, kids who read a lot and older kids (15 and up) will be able to look past the non-traditional format and really get into the book. I think it gives a good glimpse into the life of a family with a special needs child, which is something that not every kid might understand. A lot of kids might also relate to Daisy's desire to please her parents and her teachers and the stress that comes from putting that kind of pressure on oneself.

The Sound of Letting Go is published by Viking and is available to purchase now. I received a free review copy for my honest review.

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