cover image Tune It Out

Tune It Out

Jamie Sumner. Atheneum, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5700-3

A talented singer, 12-year-old Louise sleeps in a truck with her single mother and doesn’t attend school, only interacting with others when her mom pressures her to sing at cafes and county fairs, hoping to make it big. Lou can’t stand loud noises or being touched, and her mom blames their secretive, peripatetic lifestyle on those “quirks”—an undiagnosed sensory processing disorder. But while driving the truck in a snowstorm to pick her mom up from work, Lou gets into an accident, and Child Protective Services sends the “significantly underweight” girl from Tahoe to Nashville and her mom’s estranged sister Ginger. Lou is taken aback by an existence in which clean clothes and food are always available, and tentatively embarks on a friendship with a wealthy classmate at her new private school. There is no easy solution to the growing rage Lou feels as she begins to realize the ways in which her mother has let her down, particularly a stubborn refusal to acknowledge and treat the girl’s differences. Employing Lou’s clear voice and well-drawn relationships between complex characters, Sumner explores the challenges Lou faces as a result of her neuroatypicality and financially insecure past, culminating in an appealing, sensitively told tale. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Keely Boeving, WordServe Literary. (Sept.) [/em]