Review of The Sound of Us


Up until today my favorite YA novel was Fangirl. The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle may be trying and succeeding at usurping that title.

Kiki is also a fangirl but of a science fiction tv show called Project Earth and its female lead, Dana/Calliope. Kiki is a nerd who loves tv and music and twitter, but she decides to hide these parts of herself away when she attends voice camp because she really wants to fit in, make friends, and have a chance at one of the seven scholarships that are up for grabs.

On one of the first nights, she finds an out-of-tune piano in the basement of the dorm and begins playing and is soon joined by a boy chewing on a Nutty Bar, Jack. She gets a crush on Jack and is pretty sure that it’s reciprocated.

In the meantime, she works hard at voice because if she doesn’t get one of the scholarships, she’s going to have to go to school at her father’s university where he expects her to study Latin. But things are getting tough as it seems that there is a set of rules that one of the instructors has drawn up and anyone violating those rules will be thrown out of the program. The instructor, Greg Bertrand, has also suggested that if Kiki rats on her fellow students then she would be more likely to get a scholarship. While Kiki refuses to be a snitch, she can’t be sure about her peers.

Besides being extremely well-written, the characters are also very well done. I could identify with Kiki and her thought that she is “too fat to be thin and too thin to be fat.” In high school musicals, she was always going to be the cast in the Aunt role or in the boy’s chorus. What I really like about Kiki is that she doesn’t sit around and whine. This could have been written as all angsty, but Hammerle didn’t do that and the novel is so much better for it.

Kiki’s roommate, Brie, “Blake Lively’s doppelganger,” initially comes across as kind of a prima donna, but then you see that she is actually just driven to succeed. In turn, all of the characters are well done, with no real stereotypes or cardboard cutouts.

I am fortunately at the beach on a foggy day and could read this book in an afternoon, but even so, I kept stopping just to draw the book out further. The story made me happy. I liked spending the time with the narrator. She’s funny, insightful, and self-deprecating, but also sincere and loyal.

“My first kiss is with a smarmy, shirtless guy who knows fuck-all about Project Earth and who smells like a sweaty baby. Seems about right.”

I very highly recommend The Sound of Us to anyone who enjoys well-written YA books and also music. As you can see from the quote, there is some language, but it is not gratuitous.

I love the book! And, thank you, Julie Hammerle. I hope to read many more of your novels in the future!

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Sound of Us will be published in five days!!! on June 7, 2016.

From Amazon: The Sound of Us

rating: a definite: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly(5 out of 5 butterflies!!!)

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