If the name Cynthia Weil sounds familiar, there's good reason for it. Cynthia Weil is one part of a songwriting duo, along with her husband Barry Mann, responsible for hits such as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", the theme song to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, "On Broadway", "We Gotta Get Out of This Place", "Somewhere Out There" (from An American Tale), and sooooo many more songs!
Not only is Weil a great songwriter, but she's also a pretty great novelist! I was so happy with this book. It's got a great female main character. There's a bit of a love interest angle, but it doesn't make the girl go all stupid as in other YA novels. Here's the story:
Set in 1963, JJ is a 16-year-old aspiring songwriter. She gets a summer job working for a music publisher at the infamous Brill Building in New York and must get one of her songs recorded by the end of the summer or her mom is going to make her become a lawyer. Yikes! JJ ends up meeting a boy, and the two of them realize that they work well together as a songwriting duo. They write lyrics and music for a song, and then find the perfect person to record a demo of the song for the music publisher. However, it all comes to a stop when someone close to JJ is murdered. The cops say it was a suicide, but JJ knows that's impossible. So she and her new songwriting friend become amateur detectives to find the truth!
This book is recommended for ages 12 and up, and I think that is spot on. There is nothing inappropriate in the story. It's got a great message about believing in yourself and following your dreams. And it's written really well!! This would be a perfect book for music-loving teen girls.
I'm Glad I Did is published by Soho Teen and will be available on bookstore shelves on January 27, 2015. I received a free autographed advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.