SOUL OF THE BAND by K.L. Brady
Synopsis: Brandy is a musical prodigy. She loves everything about music. It’s her way of coping. Coping with what, you ask? Well…Brandy’s mother hears voices. And not the good kind. So when she ditches Brandy and checks into a mental hospital, Brandy is shipped across country to live with her Aunt Charlie in West Bumblef***, Ohio. Here, she meets Jenny, her next door neighbor who is into the school’s band. She pushes Brandy to try out for the band and she agrees. And then she meets Jake, the drummer and falls head over heels for him. But, she’s not the only girl into Jake.
Jenny is too. And so is the band’s conductor, Shelly, Jake’s girlfriend. While weathering the storms of adolescent emotions and living in a new place, Brandy has to worry about making the band and now she has enemies: Shelly’s sister. Brandy starts getting anonymous notes that tell her to go back to where she came from and they threaten to harm her family. Her mother is fresh out of rehab, trying to get back into her life at the same time that someone else is trying to ruin it. Will Brandy give up her dreams of making the band and move back home? Or can she stick it out and make the cut?
I live my life in soundtracks — at least the most memorable moments.
Pajamas are the official outerwear…and I’m pretty sure the state shoe is a flip-flop. – page 31
Dude. Seriously? I’m black and I don’t even turn on my ebonics this early in the morning – page 74
Can we get the party started please? I’d like to learn a song before I’m eligible for medicaid. – page 83
“Well, at least they didn’t bring groceries from home this year. Last year I got hit in the head with a corn cob.” – page 177
Review (My thoughts): The first thing I loved about this book was that it was very funny. There were certain parts where I literally laughed out loud. Some books make me giggle, but this one made me laugh until it was kind of embarrassing on the Metro. People probably thought I was crazy. Anyway, I loved the main character. She was brave and hilarious. She always seemed to take her serious problems and make a joke out of them, but, as a reader, you could also feel the ‘seriousness’ of the issue if that makes any sense. It was like she wanted to flip the situation and make it funny because that’s how she coped with the serious things that were occurring in her life. I loved her maturity in the book. For a sixteen year old, most people are learning maturity. Brandy seems to have it down. Maybe because she’s been through so many things a teenager shouldn’t have to endure. I loved the character’s dialogue in the book. It wasn’t forced or unnatural and the descriptions were great. I could really see what was being written.
There are some parts that I didn’t like, however. The biggest issue for me was the race thing that seemed to keep coming up throughout the novel. It is easy for me to understand that there will be issues of racism being one of the two black kids in the town. I get that. What I had a hard time with was that it was so prevalent throughout the novel, and not even so much in the other characters. But Brandy kept thinking things like “don’t make me act my color” or doing “ghetto” things. (That’s how they were described). I guess I was taken aback because I didn’t understand why smart and mature Brandy needed to react soooooo immaturely to people who were extremely ignorant. And why did she call herself ghetto?! It was really confusing to me.
All in all I enjoyed Soul of the Band. If you’re looking for a quick, funny read in the vein of Meg Cabot, then this is it!