The Music of What Happens

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      * The Music of What Happens. By Bill Konigsberg. Feb. 2019.352p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99 (9781338215502). Gr. 9-12. Jordan is the skinny emo kid who sits in the back of [...]

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2018 November #2

*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. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Fall

Jordan, helped by classmate Max, tries his hand at the food truck business to help his unstable mother make mortgage payments. Despite their differences, the two boys develop a friendship that quickly blossoms into a romance; they work together in the boiling summer heat of Mesa, Arizona, and date each other in the evenings. Konigsberg portrays gay teen relationships in a way that is consistently authentic, compassionate, hopeful, and empowering. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #3

In order to help his unstable mother make delinquent mortgage payments, Jordan tries his hand at the food truck business, using his late father's old truck, Coq Au Vinny. Things don't go too well until classmate Max happens by and agrees to take a summer job on the truck. Despite their differences—confident Max enjoys baseball and video games, while insecure Jordan likes musical theater and shopping—the two boys develop a friendship that quickly blossoms into a romance. As they work together on the truck in the boiling summer heat of Mesa, Arizona, and date each other in the evenings, each boy gradually reveals the depth of their relationship to supportive friends and family. One obstacle is that Max's recent first sexual experience was nonconsensual, hindering his ability to be more physically intimate with Jordan. Then, too, Jordan's mother has returned to her gambling habit, even as the boys make the truck financially successful. Like David Levithan and Adam Silvera, Konigsberg (Honestly Ben, rev. 3/17) portrays gay teen relationships in a way that is consistently authentic, compassionate, hopeful, and empowering; and this story, which also touches on issues of masculinity, homophobia, and rape, is no exception. jonathan hunt Copyright 2019 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.