cover image Drum Roll, Please

Drum Roll, Please

Lisa Jenn Bigelow. HarperCollins, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-279114-6

Middle schooler Melly has always followed the lead of her best friend, Olivia. Olivia insisted that they join band in the fifth grade, and three years later, Olivia decides that they should go to rock-and-roll camp. Luckily, Melly loves playing music (“It felt like the drums were pumping energy into me,” she says), but the timing for camp couldn’t be worse. The day before she leaves, she learns that her parents are divorcing. Carrying a bundle of anger and confusion along with her drumsticks, Melly arrives at Camp Rockaway unprepared for the challenges she will face, including an intimidating audition and working with unlike-minded musicians. In a story about growing pains, turning points, and self-discovery, Bigelow (Starting from Here) shows an equally clear understanding of the dynamics of camp life and young adolescent emotions. Melly’s responses to situations are authentic, especially the excitement and confusion she feels when she is attracted to another female camper. Bigelow has a graceful and genuine touch as her protagonist processes new experiences and navigates changes in friendships and family. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency. (June) [/em]