Karla Brady,
The Soul of the Band
(LadyLit, 2012)

Every teen thinks their mom is crazy at one time or another, but Brandy Jackson's mother definitely does have some trouble. With the help of neighbors, Brandy's been coping the best she can, but her mom finally snaps, and Brandy has to go live with her aunt.

The thing is, Brandy's moving from the 'hood to suburbia where she's one of two black kids in her high school. The one thing that saves her is the band, but being a junior and not having ever played an instrument, she's stuck with the tuba. The whole band is stuck with a majorette who's in love with show tunes and Cirque de Soleil music.

Brandy's survived crazy, but can she survive bullying and out-and-out racism?

Author Karla Brady demonstrates a fine hand at crafting an urban teen with a whole lot of heart and soul. Brandy seems like a real girl -- like one of the friends I had in band or glee club back in high school even.

The scenario's painfully real and one that many black teens have faced. I believe The Soul of the Band is going to be a book that will both help black teens cope with racism and bullying and help white teens understand what minorities are up against.

One thing you can tell, Brady loves music -- all kinds of music. You can hear it through her words and you can feel the beat in her narrative. If music has charms to heal, I think this book may well, too.

book review by
Becky Kyle

2 June 2012

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