Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Somebody Everybody Listens To


Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
4 stars

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.

3 comments:

IntrovertedJen said...

I'm not a huge fan of realistic YA, but this sounds like it could be an exception. Following your dreams always makes a good book!

Beth said...

The original Tiny Librarian blog seems to be missing. Did you take it down?

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Hi Beth - The company that hosts it is going out of business next year, so rather than pay for another year when it was going to be defunct, I decided to pack it in. I also didn't seem to be having as many outrageous stories and was getting a bit concerned about being identified by my employer, though I'm not entirely sure if I should be worried about that or not. I hopefully have all the original files and I might re-establish it on Blogger, but honestly, I wasn't sure how much interest there was in it any more. I'm glad to see at least someone went looking for it. :) But now I see that it's still mentioned at the top here, I'd better change it.