An aspiring songwriter accepts a summer job with a music publisher in 1963 New York City, where she learns about her family, her friends and herself.
Expected to become a lawyer like her mother, father and brother, 16-year-old strong-willed Justice Green, known as JJ, wants to write songs that will “make people believe in possibilities and dreams.” Hired by Good Music Publishing to perform office work in exchange for feedback on her songs, JJ finds herself in the heart of the music-publishing industry, where she encounters her estranged uncle Bernie, an infamous industry mogul who takes her under his wing. When JJ meets Luke Silver, son of Bernie’s deceased former partner, they begin collaborating on a song. After befriending a burned-out African-American singer named Dulcie Brown, JJ’s devastated when Dulcie dies under suspicious circumstances, prompting her to investigate Dulcie’s past. JJ narrates her story, allowing readers to share her shock when the troubling truth about the twisted relationship that connects Bernie, Luke’s father and Dulcie is finally revealed. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Weil, songwriter of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” provides period detail about the fledgling rock-’n’-roll industry that adds verisimilitude to JJ and Luke’s surprising journey of discovery.
Mystery, romance and insider music-industry detail distinguish this intriguing 1960s coming-of-age story. (Historical fiction. 12-16)