- Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-279114-6 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-279116-0 $7.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5–8
Melly’s parents waited until the day before her departure for summer music camp to break the news of their impending divorce. Shaken to the core by the news, Melly has little tolerance for the normal annoyances of a bunch of adolescent rockstar wannabes stewing in the heat; there’s also frustrating artistic dysfunction in her assigned four-member band and growing distance between her and her best friend, Olivia. Mustering pride and resentment to her advantage, Melly determines to hold herself together and open up to new friendships, and the payoff leaves her amazed. Fellow camper Adeline proves first to be a great listener and an entertaining companion, and then a stolen kiss on a darkened amusement park ride sends shock waves of the best kind through Melly and jolts her into taking charge of her emotional life. The affection between Melly and Adeline is genuine, and as soon as Melly processes her self-discovery, the newly emboldened girl is not about to keep her relationship secret. However, Melly (and Bigelow) respects that middle-school years are a time for questioning, and summer camp romances of all stripes do not typically stand the test of time (“Maybe there were no rules. Maybe you had to let your heart work on a case-by-case basis”). After an air-clearing conversation with her parents, a respectable band-camp concert performance, a rapprochement with Olivia, and a second Adeline kiss even better than the first, Melly is gonna be just fine.