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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MG Contemporary Not as Grim As It Sounds

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Louise "Lou" Montgomery loves to sing, but not in the way her mother wants her to.  Convinced that Lou's going to make it big any day now, her mother drags her from place to place insisting that she perform in front of any crowd they can find.  Twelve-year-old Lou can't stand the noisy groups, all the people looking at her, or the way some people want to touch her.  She knows her quirks are weird, but sometimes the sensory overload makes her feel like she's going to explode.  Lou and her mom need the money her gigs provide so they can find somewhere to live besides their truck, but she would do anything not to have to perform ever again.

When Lou accidentally crashes the truck and her unstable living situation becomes known, Child Protective Services steps in.  Lou is sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Nashville.  For the first time she realizes what she's been missing—a clean home that's not on wheels, nutritious meals, going to school, guardians who put her first, etc.  When her Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is officially diagnosed for the first time, Lou even begins to understand the condition that has always confused and plagued her.  Lou's new life is a million times better than her old one.  Does she really want to be reunited with the mother who neglected and exploited her?  If Lou can't save her mom, who will?

Although the plot summary of Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner makes the middle-grade novel sound pretty grim, it's actually a funny, hopeful book that's more upbeat than not.  Lou is a sympathetic character, even if she's also kind of a self-centered one.  It's easy to root for her as she begins to get the stability and care she deserves.  Yes, she acts older than 12 and yes, her story is predictable, but overall, Tune It Out is an enjoyable novel.  It brings the challenges of living with an SPD to light and teaches an important lesson about the fact that no one is "normal."  Everyone has quirks and differences that should be viewed with empathy and understanding.  With further lessons about family, friendship, and finding your way, Tune It Out is an appealing, compelling novel.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and tough subject matter (parental neglect, homelessness, etc.)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. This sounds really wonderful. I bet Sumner did a great job too. I loved her last book.

  2. This sounds really lovely! I'm definitely adding it to my TBR. I love it when an author can talk about something sad and grim, but still sprinkle in goodness and humor. Great review!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

  3. I haven't heard of many books that deal with sensory issues so this sounds like a good book.


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