cover image Candidly Cline

Candidly Cline

Kathryn Ormsbee. HarperCollins, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-305999-3

When 13-year-old Cline Alden, a white aspiring singer named after Patsy Cline and obsessed with women country vocalists, learns about a singer-songwriter workshop only 40 minutes away from her small Kentucky town, she’s determined to attend, despite the prohibitive $300 fee, her single diner-waitress mother’s firm no, and worry over her grandmother’s advancing Alzheimer’s. But landing a childcare job at a local church and securing a ride from her mother’s coworker, Cline secretly begins to attend the weekly workshop, where she’s paired up with Sylvie Sharpe, a 13-year-old rock fan of Mexican descent. As the two collaborate on an original song, their close, supportive friendship leads to Cline’s eventual first crush and helps her find the words to tell others in her life who she is and step into her full, unapologetic self as a musician and a queer person. Ormsbee (The Sullivan Sisters) renders Cline’s coming out with honesty and care, balancing some characters’ hurtful reactions, such as that of Cline’s religious best friend, with others’ affirming and reassuring responses, including those of family members, friends, and an acquaintance within the church. Cline’s growing understanding of her mother’s choices to eschew music to provide for Cline and her grandmother add another layer of moving realism to this warm and hopeful story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (Nov.)