THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS by Bill Konigsberg

THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS

Age Range: 13 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two Arizona teens run a food truck and fall in love with more than just cooking together.

“Dude Bro” Max is a “closet foodie” and keeps his culinary aspirations secret from “the Amigos,” his close-knit duo of friends. But a chance encounter at a classmate’s struggling food truck sees heroics-prone Max volunteering as an employee. Though the classmate, Jordan, is a jock-hating “emo kid,” the pair proves that opposites do indeed attract—even in the cramped confines of a food truck. As it turns out, the two also make excellent (if a bit unorthodox) business partners. They earn enough money to pay off debts from Jordan’s widowed mother’s gambling addiction. Alternating first-person narration delves deeply into the complicated inner lives of the two boys as their relationship blossoms. Flashbacks reveal Max’s trauma following a rape at a college party. Meanwhile, Jordan fights his feelings of inadequacy and his growing resentment toward his mother. As Max is biracial (Mexican/white) while Jordan is white, Konigsberg (Honestly Ben, 2017, etc.) effectively reverses the white savior narrative to instead position a character of color as the one offering help—although ultimately the narrative questions what it means to be a savior at all in the context of this mutually supportive and healing relationship. The result is a story with imperfect characters who are, refreshingly, called out on problematic behaviors and aim to do better.

A fresh addition to the menu of queer teenage love stories. (Fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-338-21550-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2018




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