Slightly driven seventh-grader Holly is a serious band geek, through and through.
Like most of her kind, she finds her friends in the band, her best—and worst—experiences come in band, and the unique camaraderie of band is a critical feature of her life. But that isn’t to say that there’s not plenty of young-teen drama outside of the band room. In Holly’s case, there are a couple of other major sources: Her best friend, Julia, has come back from a stay at a summer band camp with a new very good friend, Natasha, and Holly’s in danger of failing science—but if she does, then band events are off-limits to her. Wracked with jealousy, Holly suffers from a serious lack of insight. It’s true that Natasha, like Holly, plays French horn, and they are both very competitive, but Holly manages to unfairly read malevolence into almost everything Natasha does. Can her supportive band friends help her gain a little perspective before she does something to really embarrass herself? Believable, age-appropriate conflict and a plausible resolution make for an entertaining outing in the first of this band-related series.
A cacophony of the emotional bumps of early adolescence that also perfectly captures the merits of band programs, this effort should appeal even to middle school girls who aren’t already musicians. (Fiction. 10-14)