Holly Mead prepares for seventh grade and the start of advanced band the same way she prepares for everything: with schedules, lists, and color-coded charts. Holly’s perfectionist tendencies are no match for the things that go wrong on her first day at Millican Middle School, from her older brother spilling juice on her carefully selected outfit to the arrival of new girl Natasha, who seems to be moving in on Holly’s best friend Julia. It only gets worse when it turns out that, like Holly, Natasha plays French horn. The competition for first chair in band, as well as for Julia’s affections, heats up fast in this upbeat read, first in a series. Young musicians will be right at home with all the band details debut author Schuster-man includes, and she’s just as on target when it comes to strained friendships, budding crushes, and science quizzes, too; Holly’s struggles to tame her inner competitor and learn to share will resonate. Readers should be eager to check out Friends, Fugues, and Fortune Cookies, available simultaneously. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/21/2013 Release date: 01/09/2014 Genre: Children's
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