The Music of What Happens
Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most.

The Music of What Happens Details

TitleThe Music of What Happens
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2019
PublisherArthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-139781338215502
Rating
GenreLgbt, Young Adult, Contemporary

The Music of What Happens Review

  • Bill
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say to the good folks of Goodreads about this, my fifth novel?This is a book I am very proud of and excited about. I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can read the story of Max and Jordan. If you were a reader who loved the Rafe/Ben relationship, I think you'll love this one, too. Coming 02/26/2019! (EDIT: it was originally 1/29, but there's this paper shortage going on in the publishing industry so they pushed the date back to make sure there would be no hitch with the launch. S What can I say to the good folks of Goodreads about this, my fifth novel?This is a book I am very proud of and excited about. I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can read the story of Max and Jordan. If you were a reader who loved the Rafe/Ben relationship, I think you'll love this one, too. Coming 02/26/2019! (EDIT: it was originally 1/29, but there's this paper shortage going on in the publishing industry so they pushed the date back to make sure there would be no hitch with the launch. Sorry for the delay!)
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  • Shaun Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    Five enthusiastic stars.
  • Lulu (the library leopard)
    January 1, 1970
    can we. like. not one-star books years before they're released with no explanation? that would be cool.
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    "The novel explores the paradox of how boys are taught to emotionally armor up, but find the power to change their lives through vulnerability." UM. YES.
  • Ricky
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger warnings for this book: rape, PTSD, abusive parents, mental health issues.This one's a bit of a tough book for me to rate. I've spent a day after finishing up reading the ARC to let my thoughts collect well enough, and I think I'm going to give it a 3.5 and round up to a 4. I can see why it gets a lot of comparisons to Ari and Dante - the Southwestern setting, a certain retro vibe to it (though it's set in the present day but makes a lot of use of 80s music and an ancient food truck), on Trigger warnings for this book: rape, PTSD, abusive parents, mental health issues.This one's a bit of a tough book for me to rate. I've spent a day after finishing up reading the ARC to let my thoughts collect well enough, and I think I'm going to give it a 3.5 and round up to a 4. I can see why it gets a lot of comparisons to Ari and Dante - the Southwestern setting, a certain retro vibe to it (though it's set in the present day but makes a lot of use of 80s music and an ancient food truck), one tough gay boy and one soft gay boy making an unlikely romance...But this book, the first Bill Konigsberg book I've ever read, quickly sets itself apart from the object of its inevitable comparison. It's not so minimalist, and it's told in dual POVs, to seek out a strong balance between, as Konigsberg puts it in his author's note at the start, "the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine." Though there's at least one scene that I read and immediately think, that's gotta be an Ari and Dante homage. The one where Max and Jordan go shirtless and start exploring the hills above Phoenix, foraging for prickly pears.Sweet moments like that make a good portion of the book, but there's also the aforementioned trigger warnings. Both Max and Jordan have traumas and tragedies in their backstories, with Max having been raped by a college guy - and let me tell you, Kevin is one of the most disgusting characters ever put to the page, with a real laundry list of gross acts to his name that I won't get into here - other than to say that, yes, he's racist in addition to being a rapist. This isn't something I'm reading #ownvoices, though I know at least two friends with scarily similar stories to Max's, so take the trigger warnings seriously. (And thanks again, Harry, for giving me them before I picked the book up.) What strikes a little closer to home for me, though, is Jordan's trauma, where he has to put up with a mother who freaks out at the drop of a hat, can't hold down any job, and always, always, always centers herself whenever anyone else's problems - namely, Jordan's - are brought up. Maybe I don't have all the same troubles he does - my home life's more stable, for one thing - but I do see a lot of my own mother in Jordan's, particularly the emotional abuse and constant self-centering. So I'm glad Jordan's mother's scenes were few and far between, because every time those came up, I found myself cringing harder than any scene where Kevin wasn't involved.It's funny, though, that while Jordan's chief issue connects more to my own life than Max's, it was Max to which I related more as a character. But that, I'm thinking, might be intentional on Konigsberg's part, to get the reader to explore their own balance of sacred masculine, sacred feminine, and where on the gender expression spectrum they may fall. Like me, I kinda see myself more as a Simon Spier than a Max or a Jordan, not a dudebro, but not really dabbling in makeovers either. Think of the infamous "Okay, maybe not that gay" scene from Love, Simon. But then, I'm not in a place where I can be as open as I'd like to be, and that doesn't help either. If I were more openly bi, I'd probably also be more open to the prospect of expressing myself a bit more feminine just because I can. Hell, I could even work that into my eventual rockstar image were I to move in with Koda and potentially play bass for ChronoWulf. (I do intend to wear rainbow or bi-pride laces on my Doc Martens on stage if that happens.)Like I said, this book is a tough one, but it's also a short book. So as unmerciful as it can be at times - not unlike that Arizona sun - Max and Jordan's story is pretty well worth the read.
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  • ellie
    January 1, 1970
    oh my goodness this cover is GAYREAT i love the colors!!20gayteen is going so well
  • Danielle Chambers
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger warning for rape. This book was so good! I expected it to be good don't get me wrong, but it was much more intense than I expected! Max and Jordan were such beautifully written characters. Both flawed and well fleshed out. Both had their problems and their strengths. Barriers were broken with "Dude Bro" stereotyping and "Twink" stereotyping. Gender walls were broken down. The thing I really loved about this book was that it focused on showing that showing feelings and communicating those Trigger warning for rape. This book was so good! I expected it to be good don't get me wrong, but it was much more intense than I expected! Max and Jordan were such beautifully written characters. Both flawed and well fleshed out. Both had their problems and their strengths. Barriers were broken with "Dude Bro" stereotyping and "Twink" stereotyping. Gender walls were broken down. The thing I really loved about this book was that it focused on showing that showing feelings and communicating those feelings is okay for boys. They don't have to "be a man" about everything all the time. I really related to Jordan on several levels. I really loved that both boys helped each other grow to be better people. Jordan helped Max open up more with his emotions and Max help Jordan with his self negativity. These two boys working together and becoming better people together was done really well. I really did not care for Jordan's friends. They were over bearing and walked all over Jordan. Several times Jordan mentions always worrying about what he was doing and how he looked and what he did around them. He mentioned how they didn't listen to him. He also said how they talked negatively about people all the time. They just didn't seem like good people and I don't feel like they actually accepted Jordan for who he was. Even at the end when they had a talk about everything I was still kinda iffy on them. Overall a great book that hits on a lot go heavy topics.
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  • Paul Hankins
    January 1, 1970
    Full Disclosure: I consider Bill Konigsberg to be an author-friend. . .and I write a review of the new book in that light. And. . .in love. There's something about love that makes us skeptical of possibility. That love must do something other than simply. . .love. That in the presence of love, someone gets saved. Something gets set right. Somebody or some place is transformed. Because of love. We put limits on the language of love by categorizing its expression into five distinct categories, cut Full Disclosure: I consider Bill Konigsberg to be an author-friend. . .and I write a review of the new book in that light. And. . .in love. There's something about love that makes us skeptical of possibility. That love must do something other than simply. . .love. That in the presence of love, someone gets saved. Something gets set right. Somebody or some place is transformed. Because of love. We put limits on the language of love by categorizing its expression into five distinct categories, cutting the language of love to half of that of the law that guides us in the same (all ten of them are expressions of love). But a love that is. . .how does it manifest itself without announcing that it is here? That it can be a catalyst for change? That it can be freely given and freely received? That there is nothing you could have ever done or had done to you that makes you unworthy of experiencing love? Bill Konigsberg puts love at the center of a book that is about so many things that we forget that love is working in the micro, meso, and macro settings. It's love that brings Max to the food truck where love has already begun to stretch itself thin in Jordan's attempt to save his mother and his home. It was love that raised both boys in the absence of a male role model, Max's Dad leaving to pursue a comedy career and Jordan's having died. And it's love that will find itself mixed and frozen into the lemonade that gets made from the lemons. . .(and it's love that keeps you from having to read another cliche about life and lemons). In dual narratives, Konigsberg presents two young men who present in the most classic presentation of symbiotic relationships. Max, a Mexican baseball player who hangs out and games with the Three Amigos who trade arm punches and verbal barbs with one another and the lonely, angst-filled poet, Jordan, who seeks his company in the girls he calls his wives. Life if a series of levels and text messages. The dude bro banter and the impromptu makeovers. And it all comes together in one summer aboard a broken down food truck. An accidental meeting finds the work-avoiding Max stepping up to assist Jordan and his mother with getting their ramshackle food truck back in order and back in business. While the two boys have seen other at school, neither really knows much about the other. Or how to make and sell food. There are secrets to be held and secrets to be revealed in the music of what happens. Against the backdrop of the daily making and selling of food, the two boys come to realize that the other needs more than a person two help with the shopping. What begins as a realization of the other's counterpart (a motif within the symbiotic relationship convention) and a trade economy that sees Max working for Jordan soon becomes a friendship, a desire to be together beyond the day's shift. And set against the high, dry heat of Arizona, a relationship begins to warm like the oil of the van's fryer. That there ARE moments of words that need to spoken and that there ARE moments of rescue with Konigsberg's book are evidence of love's presence, not its work that needs done. There is a music of what happens when human beings work toward the middle to negotiate what makes us come to love, what makes us hurt, what makes us pull away, and what moves us to pull others close. THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS challenges the idea of masculinity and femininity all at once. The athletic and tough Max softens in the presence of Jordan and the ironically-detached 80s music fan demonstrates great bravery in sharing his gift of poetry which in turn draws from Max a latent gift that he has been hiding. Konigsberg uses his foil characters, two friends on each side to demonstrate the insulation that comes of identifying with the expectations of the culture. How to maintain one's sense of manliness in the company of teammates and how to embrace. . .even if irksome. . .the friends who mirror femininity and work toward pushing upon it. A secret of one of the boys that is being kept from the other and from the relationship is what makes THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS a flip on readers' expectations and is note and discussion worthy of the book (but no spoilers here). Just like love, both boys must live even while they are just struggling to survive. The lingering secret not told and the ledger book's bottom line are both looming nemeses of what would otherwise be a two-boys-meet-over-one-magical-summer book. Konigsberg keeps the reader in the two narratives wonder what will come to light in the presence of love and what the end result will be in the revelation of loves power to right. . .and to write. . .what has been wrong. The parents around the young men are where Konigsberg does some very strong work in THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS. Max's father is unable to come to terms with the completeness of his son's homosexuality. Jordan's mother's habits keep them on the brink of complete economic ruin. A surprise resource in Max's mother is just one of the many reasons to celebrate Konigsberg's book. THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS is tough. And tender. It is LGBTQ literature poised right where we want this kind of book for our LGBTQ readers. Konigsberg does not pull any punches in how vulnerable love can be in the presence of itself. When it needs words. When it needs rescue. When it needs cover to help it to survive. When it needs a nudge to make itself complete.
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    "In the end, we're all both," Konigsberg said. "We all contain multitudes, and it was so cool to watch my more feminine character ― Jordan ― find his inner warrior, and my more masculine character ― Max ― lean into a vulnerability he'd never experienced before."YESSSSSource
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  • Ivy
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so glad they broke the chain of terrible Bill Konigsberg covers.
  • Nicole Valentine
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful. I could not put it down. So much to love but what spoke to me most was how it was a meditation on feeling disconnected even among your closest friends, overcoming that wall of routine that forms in friendships and creating real honest dialogue. Finding your space in the universe and knowing yourself and how you fit into the grand symphony. I will miss these characters in my daily life. Bravo, Bill Konigsberg.
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  • McKinlay Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    TW: rapeThis was so much more than i thought it was gonna be. The cover screams cute gay love story, and it is, but it also tackles so many other things. Rape, parents abandoning kids, micro aggressions, racism. In this book Max & Jordan both grow so much. There were little things that bothered me but they all worked out in the end. Also, there’s a dog. Need i say more?
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  • Blake Fraina
    January 1, 1970
    This novel has a bit of a split personality. On the one hand, it’s a deceptively lighthearted romance between two high school boys the summer before their senior year and on the other, it’s a rather bleak story involving sexual abuse, poverty, mental illness and deceit.It’s a sweltering summer in Arizona and nerdy, insecure Jordan is trying to help his emotionally erratic mother make a go of his late father’s food truck, even though neither has any commercial cooking experience. Along comes popu This novel has a bit of a split personality. On the one hand, it’s a deceptively lighthearted romance between two high school boys the summer before their senior year and on the other, it’s a rather bleak story involving sexual abuse, poverty, mental illness and deceit.It’s a sweltering summer in Arizona and nerdy, insecure Jordan is trying to help his emotionally erratic mother make a go of his late father’s food truck, even though neither has any commercial cooking experience. Along comes popular jock Max, with his aspirations of being a professional chef, recruited to assist them despite his better judgement. Naturally, over the course of the summer, the boys make a success of the business and find themselves attracted to one another in the close confines of the sweatbox galley kitchen.There’s a lot to like in this book. I particularly enjoyed all the scenes of Jordan and Max working on the food truck – the strategizing, recipe research, upgrades, shopping trips, cooking and flirting. The two lead characters are well defined and likeable, even though I found some elements of their lives didn’t necessarily ring true for me. I’d love to think otherwise, but I doubt we’ll ever live in a world where macho hetero high school boys are “cool” with having a close gay friend. And some of Jordan’s behaviors struck me as a bit naïve and childlike, particularly for someone nearing college age. But even still, the romance was enjoyable and worked quite well.But I’ve only touched on the Dr. Jekyll portion of the book. And to be brutally honest, I’m still not really sure how I feel about Mr. Hyde.Turns out, both boys are harboring terrible secrets. Max had a non-con sexual experience with a college guy that he’s struggling to get past, while Jordan is trying to earn money for overdue mortgage payments that his mother, who seems to suffer from some sort of debilitating mental illness, has been suspiciously unable to handle. These are very serious issues (even more serious than my brief description lets on) and, to his credit, author Bill Konigsburg never attempts to offer easy answers or a pat solution. And while that may be realistic (and certainly the point of the book's title), in terms of the book’s tone [and intended audience] I felt the story needed to offer a more satisfactory sense of closure. Perhaps this is the first in a series (although it’s not specified anywhere on the book jacket) but I, for one, would appreciate seeing both these young men overcome their demons (internal and external), reclaim their lives and find some semblance of happiness and success.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This is the exact book I needed right now! While it deals with some heavy topics it’s still incredibly hopeful and cute and DANG DID I DEVOUR IT!!! I’m not always impressed with love stories but I was with this one!! Both Max and Jordan learn and grow from each other which was awesome to see. The mutual respect, support, and trust (even when shit was hitting the fan) was wonderful because it meant they both brought out the best in each other. Overall a really good read! Ps. I was lucky enough to This is the exact book I needed right now! While it deals with some heavy topics it’s still incredibly hopeful and cute and DANG DID I DEVOUR IT!!! I’m not always impressed with love stories but I was with this one!! Both Max and Jordan learn and grow from each other which was awesome to see. The mutual respect, support, and trust (even when shit was hitting the fan) was wonderful because it meant they both brought out the best in each other. Overall a really good read! Ps. I was lucky enough to have found this ARC in my staff room :) Pps. The views expressed in this review are my own and do not reflect the views of Indigo Books & Music Inc. or any of it's subsidiaries.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    While Konigsberg's earlier books tended to deal with kids coming to terms with their sexuality, The Music of What Happens takes a more mature approach. Max and Jordan, whose interlocked stories are told in alternating chapters, are sure of who they are, and dealing with other issues -- sexual consent, dysfunctional parents, stereotyping. These are some heavy themes. But as usual, Konigsberg tackles them with humor and heart.Add a big dose of setting (food truck culture, Arizona in the summer), b While Konigsberg's earlier books tended to deal with kids coming to terms with their sexuality, The Music of What Happens takes a more mature approach. Max and Jordan, whose interlocked stories are told in alternating chapters, are sure of who they are, and dealing with other issues -- sexual consent, dysfunctional parents, stereotyping. These are some heavy themes. But as usual, Konigsberg tackles them with humor and heart.Add a big dose of setting (food truck culture, Arizona in the summer), boy-meets-boy cute romance, snarky / sassy dialogue, and the sort of idealistic and profoundly satisfying attitude that Konigsberg does so well, and you have a winner.Bravo, Bill!
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    This stunning novel touches on many important coming-of-age topics; not just being gay and finding love, but male sexual assault and what masculinity means to different people. What really makes a "man"? The Music of What Happens is emotionally opening, and feels like a firm, assuring hug. Konigsberg is taking expectations in male-centered books to the next level. In addition to beautiful development, you get a touching and sweet romance between two wonderful boys.
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  • TJ
    January 1, 1970
    FINISHED: 1/19/19Thank you to Scholastic for sending me an advance review copy of this fantastic book. I’ve been meaning to read Openly Straight for years, and now reading and loving The Music of What Happens only makes me want to read it even more! The writing in this book is stellar! The characters, Max and Jordan, feel extremely real and well rounded. The dialogue is natural and clever. And the relationships are genuine. On top of all that, this book also addresses very important issues such FINISHED: 1/19/19Thank you to Scholastic for sending me an advance review copy of this fantastic book. I’ve been meaning to read Openly Straight for years, and now reading and loving The Music of What Happens only makes me want to read it even more! The writing in this book is stellar! The characters, Max and Jordan, feel extremely real and well rounded. The dialogue is natural and clever. And the relationships are genuine. On top of all that, this book also addresses very important issues such as rape, mental illness, addiction, and grief. It never feels like it’s too much though, and it all naturally flows into the narrative. I’ve read some “meh” contemporaries featuring gay leads lately, so Max and Jordan were a relief to experience. As characters they’re strong, and together they’re even stronger. What an inspiring and beautiful novel! 5/5 stars.
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  • Brittany Walker (NekosBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsI won an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.TW: Rape, and mental abuse (I'm basing the abuse on personal experience)Honestly, this book really surprised me, and not just because I thought it was going to be set in the ether the late 1980s or early 1990s. It's set in 2019! Never would have guessed that based on the cover.Pros: *Character development was done seamlessly and felt natural.*Very fun to read even during the more stressful parts.*Short chapters*Fast pace*I found some places and loc 4.5 StarsI won an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.TW: Rape, and mental abuse (I'm basing the abuse on personal experience)Honestly, this book really surprised me, and not just because I thought it was going to be set in the ether the late 1980s or early 1990s. It's set in 2019! Never would have guessed that based on the cover.Pros: *Character development was done seamlessly and felt natural.*Very fun to read even during the more stressful parts.*Short chapters*Fast pace*I found some places and locations where very visceral.; like the trampoline park, and the scene with Jordan and Rosa at the hospital.*I love Max and Jordan*Everything and everyone was perfectly imperfect.*Max thinks an offhanded racist comment against white people. It's on page 137 (of the ACR), and really I like that it's a part of the book because it's prof racism works both ways. It's not something I've seen done often.*Hooligan do-goodery*ForeshadowingCons:*Some of the terminology was--weird. Like 'dude bro' and 'agog'. So I learned a couple new terms while being very confused by others. *Overuse of the word dude in the first 3rd of the book. It got very annoying fast. *Zay-rod and Betts relationship with Max was too similar to Pam and Kayla's relationship to Jordan. This may just be a me problem, but it's the main reason I didn't give the book 5 stars.Those are my main pros and cons for the book. I enjoyed the book as a whole and felt it was very well written with only a few things worded weirdly, which is something I expected since it's an ARC and didn't affect my rating. I did hate Max's father, not only because of what happened on page 1 of the book but because of how unsupportive he is. But he's nothing compared to the nightmare that is Jordan's mother. I'm not going to go into detail, but she just becomes worse and worse as the book progresses. I know that there are worse mothers out there but she's definitely in the running for 'Worst mother of the century award'. Honestly, I want another book for these characters. I've already pre-ordered a finished copy of the book, which will be out on February 26th apparently not January 29th. 10/10 would recommend this book.
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    The book gets a 5 for the clarity and beauty of the content as much as for the fact that it is exactly what he said he wanted to write: a love story. It just happens to be between 2 teenage gay young men. It also happens in my freaking backyard, which is so cool for a change! But, seriously...I loved the lack of drama around them being gay...they were both out and, if not loud about it, they also didn't hide it or spend any time on it in the telling of this story. Beautiful.Bill Konigsberg recen The book gets a 5 for the clarity and beauty of the content as much as for the fact that it is exactly what he said he wanted to write: a love story. It just happens to be between 2 teenage gay young men. It also happens in my freaking backyard, which is so cool for a change! But, seriously...I loved the lack of drama around them being gay...they were both out and, if not loud about it, they also didn't hide it or spend any time on it in the telling of this story. Beautiful.Bill Konigsberg recently experienced hatred from a "panelist" at a conference and the outpouring of love and support sent in his direction has been heart-warming and gratifying to watch. He didn't deserve or expect the unfounded idiocy of one uninformed moron, but he responded in true Konigsberg fashion, attempting to draw the woman into a dialogue. That she would not be re-focused in such a manner is simply more evidence of her lack of character. I join the long long line of folks thanking Bill Konigsberg for his authenticity and strength, as always. You, sir, are a rock star!
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusI love Konigsberg's writing-- he has fantastic characters with very distinctive voices, and Out of Pocket was such a great book. Unfortunately, these are firmly YA and not MG. Too much swearing and informative descriptions. I would love it if Mr. Konigsberg wrote a MG novel something along the lines of Barakiva's One Man Guy. I try very hard to have LGBTQ+ novels in my library, but they have to follow the same standards for on page romance that other books. This would be E ARC from Edelweiss PlusI love Konigsberg's writing-- he has fantastic characters with very distinctive voices, and Out of Pocket was such a great book. Unfortunately, these are firmly YA and not MG. Too much swearing and informative descriptions. I would love it if Mr. Konigsberg wrote a MG novel something along the lines of Barakiva's One Man Guy. I try very hard to have LGBTQ+ novels in my library, but they have to follow the same standards for on page romance that other books. This would be great for a public library or high school library.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Another important book by Bill Konigsberg. This one is about so many things (friendship, family, self-acceptance, hard work, loss, recovery, a food truck...), but most importantly it’s about consent and consent between two boys, something we still don’t read or talk enough about in young adult literature.
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  • Aimee
    January 1, 1970
    3.75*** RTC
  • Harry
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book a lot but it put me in a dark place. I picked up the arc from work when I saw the gorgeous cover and there were many moments I almost handed it off to Ricky to review. I like how real the two boys are and the places they casually hurt each other then come back together ring true. I love the setting and the warm fuzzy moments and especially the three amigos. I recommend this story for sure but with a warning - you will find rape, gambling, and children of traumatized adults al I enjoyed this book a lot but it put me in a dark place. I picked up the arc from work when I saw the gorgeous cover and there were many moments I almost handed it off to Ricky to review. I like how real the two boys are and the places they casually hurt each other then come back together ring true. I love the setting and the warm fuzzy moments and especially the three amigos. I recommend this story for sure but with a warning - you will find rape, gambling, and children of traumatized adults along with the romance. I found it ultimately worth it to feel these strong emotions. Queer romance from queer people is close to my heart precisely because it gets real like this and I can look at it and go yeah, me too.
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    This is not ‘just another lgbtq’ book. So many things UNIQUE and IMPORTANT. I LOVE that Mr. Konigsburg stamps out those stereotypes. Not only of ‘gay boys’, but also, in this case, many other things, including a half Mexican main character. We also get an LGBTQ book where a main character is sexually assaulted. M/M assault. I believe this is important for people because this exact sort of situation probably happens DAILY and the victim stays quiet from embarrassment or thinking he’s wrong, etc. This is not ‘just another lgbtq’ book. So many things UNIQUE and IMPORTANT. I LOVE that Mr. Konigsburg stamps out those stereotypes. Not only of ‘gay boys’, but also, in this case, many other things, including a half Mexican main character. We also get an LGBTQ book where a main character is sexually assaulted. M/M assault. I believe this is important for people because this exact sort of situation probably happens DAILY and the victim stays quiet from embarrassment or thinking he’s wrong, etc. We don’t see this in YA. But this is REAL. And it’s important people understand it happens and it’s NOT OKAY. I love the food truck. But I gotta say- anyone who does anything outside in Arizona in the summer is CRAZY. I went this past summer and could barely BREATHE, let alone COOK in a truck. That’s crazy. I could relate to the heat stories and I was only there a week! The romance was super sweet. Great build up so no insta-love. Both characters are so unique. Imperfect. I loved it. Secondary characters were amazingly well fleshed out. I didn’t love them all but appreciated their quirkiness. This book is one that is important for many reasons. And I know it’s going to make a great impact in many lives, helping them see they aren’t alone, they aren’t wrong, they aren’t weird (in a bad way), etc. Highly recommend!!!
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  • Joanna Goodrich
    January 1, 1970
    CoverI really love this cover. It's the first thing that caught my eye when I saw this book. Although I will say that the boy who I think is Jordan is NOT how I imagined him at all so that was a little sad.PlotThis book is compared to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a lot and I can see why. This is a story about two boys who are dealing with their own traumas. They are suffering alone until they begin working together on Jordan's father's old food truck.I think for it be CoverI really love this cover. It's the first thing that caught my eye when I saw this book. Although I will say that the boy who I think is Jordan is NOT how I imagined him at all so that was a little sad.PlotThis book is compared to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a lot and I can see why. This is a story about two boys who are dealing with their own traumas. They are suffering alone until they begin working together on Jordan's father's old food truck.I think for it being set during a single summer, it went at a good pace. It wasn't insta-love but there was normal insta-attraction between the two boys. They slowly bond over poetry and art and end up falling for one another. It wasn't just about them falling in love though, their stories were run by their traumas and issues. Max had something horrible happen to him at a college party and he has to learn how to talk about it. Jordan, on the other hand has low self-esteem and is dealing with his mother who is still suffering through her husbands death years later.This book needs trigger warning for rape, PTSD, parental abuse, and other mental health issues.CharactersMax is a semi-open gay seventeen year old who is seen as a typical high school jock. He plays baseball and is considered masculine by his peers. But, at home he enjoys cooking and drawing, two things he hides from others, even his friends.I really felt for Max. His parents divorced and his dad is this immature wanna be stand up comedian who doesn't want to be a dad. Max feels like he needs to hide himself because his dad always tells him that he needs to man up and be a warrior and not a pussy. Max is the character who is really playing into the toxic masculinity scheme of life where he's not the stereotypical gay guy. He's also half Mexican so he deals with the racism that comes with his skin color. This isn't focused on, but Max does mention a few instances where he's been talked down to because of his race.Jordan on the other hand is a skinny, pimply seventeen year old who doesn't fit in anywhere. He's put into a terrible possible by his mother, when she tells him that if he doesn't somehow make $5,000 USD in a month, they'll lose their house.I hated his mother with a passion. She's absolutely horrible and Jordan ends up acting like the adult between the two of them. She quit her job when her husband passed away and gave into addiction and didn't work to be better for her son. There was one scene where Jordan buys groceries (mostly fruits and vegetables) and his mother, Lydia throws a fit saying that she won't eat vegetables because she doesn't like them. I felt very sorry for Jordan and got angry for him that he had to deal with this.In the end Max and Jordan help each other find some stability and the ending was lovely. It wasn't set in stone so the reader could still imagine their own ending but, it did give us a glimpse into how they care for each other.I will say, that Max's and Jordan's friends are incredibly annoying and I hated when they were in the book. They were a bit too stereotypical for me and it became frustrating and I just wanted their scenes to be over.
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  • Milwaukee Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Trigger warning: rape, PTSD, mental health, abuseSo, first off: THANK YOU Bill Konigsberg for writing a story with two characters comfortable in their sexuality. This was a gay YA novel, but it wasn't about coming to terms with gayness. Both Max and Jordan had passed that point and were now living their gay lives. I really appreciated this as a gay young person who is comfortable with my own sexuality, to be able to read a YA novel (which you shouldn't expect me to stop doing for quite some time Trigger warning: rape, PTSD, mental health, abuseSo, first off: THANK YOU Bill Konigsberg for writing a story with two characters comfortable in their sexuality. This was a gay YA novel, but it wasn't about coming to terms with gayness. Both Max and Jordan had passed that point and were now living their gay lives. I really appreciated this as a gay young person who is comfortable with my own sexuality, to be able to read a YA novel (which you shouldn't expect me to stop doing for quite some time) about not one, but two, main characters I could really relate to. How Max and Jordan lived their gay lives in two very different ways is awesome! Max' machismo perfectly balanced Jordan's tenderness, and I think how the book explored we all have a beautiful balance of masculine and feminine traits to us was wonderful and really left me thinking about where I fall on this scale.The addition of poetry to the plot and themes in the novel were a really nice touch. Especially the concept of "The Music Of What Happens" and coming to terms with not always having "good" or "harmonious" music happening in your life. It really spoke to me.Side-characters were also fully developed people! The Amigos (Max's dude bros) and The Wives (Jordan's best friends) were funny, terrible, beautiful, and had their own stories and stuff to deal with by the end of the novel. Both boys' moms were interesting and tragic, and I somehow saw a bit of my own mother in both.I may add more as my brain gets clearer about how I felt. Just know I loved every second of this book, from the moments of cheesy romance, to the more intimate moments, to even the incorporation of food and the description used!
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  • Sheila
    January 1, 1970
    I still can't get over how phenomenal this book is. I never write reviews so bear with me as I try to do this book justice. The synopsis did a great job summarizing the book so I'll skip that. One of the things I loved about this story was how Max and Jordan challenged stereotypes and gender performance. Max and Jordan are both out to their friends and family. Jordan is more of the stereotypical image of a gay teen. A lot of the things he does and says is done because it's what he thinks his "wi I still can't get over how phenomenal this book is. I never write reviews so bear with me as I try to do this book justice. The synopsis did a great job summarizing the book so I'll skip that. One of the things I loved about this story was how Max and Jordan challenged stereotypes and gender performance. Max and Jordan are both out to their friends and family. Jordan is more of the stereotypical image of a gay teen. A lot of the things he does and says is done because it's what he thinks his "wives" expect from him. Max is the stereotypical dudebro and like Jordan, behaves in a way he thinks his friends expect him to. Both boys also struggle with being vulnerable and asking for help when they need it. Another thing I loved about this book–my favorite thing–was the handling of trauma and healing. Trigger Warning: one of the main characters, Max, has been sexually assaulted. The realization that this has happened to him and the trauma of it is powerful. Max's been taught his whole life that part of being a man is toughening up. That vulnerability and sensitivity is a sign of weakness. And men aren't weak. And as for Jordan, he's left with the burden of taking care of the one person responsible for taking care of him. Spoiler alert: after the death of his father and his mother's inability to (for lack of a better phrase) get her shit together, all of the duties that once belonged to them, now falls to him. I loved that this story showed the different kinds of ways people can be traumatized. That not everything has to be an act of violence but also an act of betrayal can unravel someone. Seeing Max and Jordan go through the process of acceptance and healing was the biggest take away for me. It was done so beautifully that it left me in tears. I don't think this review does justice to this book but I hope anyone who reads this goes ahead and reads The Music of What Happens. It's an incredibly moving book.
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  • Cristi Julsrud
    January 1, 1970
    Bill Konigsberg is so gifted at creating characters you care for so intensely that they continue to live in your heart long after you finish the book. Jordan, Max, and Rosa will undoubtedly linger in my consciousness for a long time (where they will be keeping excellent company with Rafe and Ben.) This book is tough, tender, joyful, and real. The dual perspectives show us how difficult it is, whether you are a hyper-masculine "dude bro" or a sensitive poet, or somewhere in between, to deal with Bill Konigsberg is so gifted at creating characters you care for so intensely that they continue to live in your heart long after you finish the book. Jordan, Max, and Rosa will undoubtedly linger in my consciousness for a long time (where they will be keeping excellent company with Rafe and Ben.) This book is tough, tender, joyful, and real. The dual perspectives show us how difficult it is, whether you are a hyper-masculine "dude bro" or a sensitive poet, or somewhere in between, to deal with the swirl of toxic masculinity we exist in, especially when you don't fit into that mold easily. I was struck by how even in interactions with family and friends these microaggressions about perceptions of what is "male" tended to come out.At its heart, The Music of What Happens is a love story. But it's also about the chaos and challenges of life and society that form the background noise to our stories, and whether we will choose to allow the chaos to drown us out, or if we will hear it as beautiful music. In short, I will read ANYTHING Bill Konigsberg writes, forever and ever, amen.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Holy hell did I love this book. This is one of the most compulsively readable, heart-in-my-throat books I've come across in a long time. Bill Konigsburg has created in Jordan and Max two characters whose love story filled my heart with joy while it was simultaneously breaking at the terrible things happening to them apart from one another. The way the two come together is so believable - unsure and fumbling but once they fall for one another it's never a question that they are together. I love t Holy hell did I love this book. This is one of the most compulsively readable, heart-in-my-throat books I've come across in a long time. Bill Konigsburg has created in Jordan and Max two characters whose love story filled my heart with joy while it was simultaneously breaking at the terrible things happening to them apart from one another. The way the two come together is so believable - unsure and fumbling but once they fall for one another it's never a question that they are together. I love that the conflict is honest and not manufactured; I love that this book doesn't try to make it seem like a boyfriend will solve all of life's problems. The way that the idea of consent and male sexual assault is handled is so sensitive and careful. This was an absolute joy to read.
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  • Amy Jacobs
    January 1, 1970
    *ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review*Wow.I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I loved the authors writing and the characters were interesting to read about. It does touch on some touchy subjects such as M/M sexual assault, LGBT, dating and sex, Social Issues and a few more that I will leave to the reader to read about. I loved the chemistry between the two guys. It is recommended for 9 and up, but I think I would recommend at a starting age of 11 due to some of the subjects. ( *ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review*Wow.I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I loved the authors writing and the characters were interesting to read about. It does touch on some touchy subjects such as M/M sexual assault, LGBT, dating and sex, Social Issues and a few more that I will leave to the reader to read about. I loved the chemistry between the two guys. It is recommended for 9 and up, but I think I would recommend at a starting age of 11 due to some of the subjects. (of course everyone sees this differently - this is just my personal age recommendation)A new author to keep on my radar!
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