Friday, February 11, 2011
Review: Somebody Everybody Listens To
Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
Reasons for reading: I loved her first book; Southern Literature Challenge
Description: "Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. With a beaten down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn’t a smooth one in a town filled with dreamers, and Retta begins to have doubts: can she make her mark while staying true to herslf?"
First line: "Even on graduation day, the Starling High School gymnasium smelled just like it always did – a combination of old sweat and dust masked somewhat by cherry-scented disinfectant and floor polish."
My thoughts: I'm so behind in writing this, I read it at the beginning of the year! But I really enjoyed this book - it was really refreshing to read a YA novel about a real-seeming person, not one that was all about rich kids or yet another paranormal romance. And I liked the small-town Tennessee and Nashville settings (most Southern YA I've read lately has been in the lush, gothic vein - not that there's anything wrong with that - but again, not very realistic). Supplee must have spent time in Nashville, because she provides great descriptions of the city, particularly Music Row. Each chapter is named for a country song and a brief bio of the singer, including their struggles to get to Nashville, is included, which was a fun touch, and it includes both classic country stars and newcomers like Carrie Underwood, which is good for a YA novel.
Retta is a likeable character and I admired her determination to get to Nashville, even when just about every kind of bad luck befalls her and she even has to turn back at one point. She makes mistakes along the way, but she's talented and good-hearted. I liked that it wasn't a rags-to-riches tale, she doesn't suddenly skyrocket to number one on the charts or anything. Much better than that, it's a story about being brave enough to follow your dreams and to work hard to achieve them.