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Among the Departed by Vicki Delany
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron
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Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton
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A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappingfield
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Read and Gone by Allison Brook
Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson
Stargazer by Anne Hillerman
Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin (Illustrations)
Witches and Wedding Cake by Bailey Cates

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Tune It Out: 07/16/21

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner is about a girl with an undiagnosed sensory processing disorder being sent to live with her aunt and uncle when her mother can no longer care for her. There's a lot covered in this book: family estrangement, teenage pregnancy, neural divergence, and poverty.

The book opens somewhere along Lake Tahoe on the California side, although honestly the story could have opened more realistically anywhere else. Northern California was clearly described by someone unfamiliar with the state. Early on Jamie focuses on a cardinal while she sings to a crowd at a coffee shop but we don't have cardinals in our state, save for a few escaped pets in Southern California.

To get the plot rolling, Lou crashes the family truck while driving in snow. Apparently already at twelve she had learned how to drive but had never driven in snow. It's stated that it's September when the snow falls. Snow typically doesn't start falling until November and in these climate change years, it's often even later than that.

The frustrating thing about this stumbling opening is that it's not needed. The novel would have been stronger if it had happened at the airport with Lou and her assigned case worker arriving Nashville. All of the relevant stuff happens there and the area is better, more accurately described (according to reviewers who know the area).

Lou's journey also fits into the road narrative spectrum, though that serves mostly to get her into a new location for her adventure to begin. Lou as a child being sent to her aunt and uncles by order of the state makes her a marginalized traveler (66). Her journey is to a place she will eventually come to see as home (66). Her route is offroad, in this case being via an airplane (66).

Four stars

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