Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Audition & Subtraction

Title: Audition & Subtraction
Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication Date: September, 2012
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been:
                               Tatum + Lori = Best friends
They do everything together, including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and their band, the equation suddenly changes to:
                   Lori + Michael – Tatum = One happy couple
With her best friend slipping away and her parents recently separated, Tatum’s life has turned upside down. Plus her good friend Aaron thinks that they are secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, all because of one little lie Tatum told. Accepting change isn’t easy for Tatum, but just how much is she willing to give up to hold on to her friendship with Lori and life as she knows it? For Tatum, the best way to move forward may require a whole new formula . . .
What Jen Thinks: This is exactly the kind of book my middle school self would have eaten up...I mean, my 32-year-old self devoured it. I loved it! Navigating middle school and high school and trying to figure out friendships and boy-friendships is truly an ordeal if you ask me. Amy does an amazing job of capturing the uncertainty a girl might experience about friends, boys, school, her parents while at the same time giving us a female character who learns to believe in herself and stand up for herself when she needs to. 
     As I went back to reread the beginning, I noticed how well I had gotten to know the characters. It was fun to look back at the beginning and reread how they were interacting with each other at the beginning. Amy does a good job at incorporating dialogue and showing the reader what the characters are doing so readers can visualize what is happening in the text. I'm sure young readers will identify with Tatum. As I was reading about her, I was reminded of some of my favorite movies that give me that stomach-flippy feeling. Clueless kept coming to mind...oh, how I adore that movie. This book is definitely a stomach-flippy book and the kind of book I would want to give to any middle school girl.
     Can I also say that I played the violin in the orchestra from fourth grade all the way through high school and I loved it! I'm excited to see the musical world get some love!
What Kellee Thinks: Can math equations change or does every problem only have 1 answer? Tatum believes that Tatum + Lori = Best Friends is an equation that will never change; however, she cannot predict variables that may change the problem as she knows it. 
     Amy Fellner Dominy is such a realistic voice in the world of middle grade novels. Her humor, story and emotions are spot on to the middle school experience. I also love that overall the book is such a positive look at life even though it does deal with a lot of what is complicated at that age. It is so pleasant to have this type of novel available for middle grade students. The protagonist also represents a population of middle schoolers that are not usually found in literature- a smart, math & music "nerd" thus making it so another group of girls will see themselves reflected in a book.
     Like Jen, I was in orchestra for many years (I played the cello)- I love seeing a girl that reminds me of me in middle school be a protagonist of a book. I would not hesitate giving this to any middle school girl either. Although the book did not remind me of Clueless as I read it, I can totally see it now that Jen has pointed it out - it is like a middle school Clueless with less ditzy girls!
Read Together: Grades 6 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 6 to 10
Read With: Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, Mackenzie Blue by Tina Wells, A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner, 
Snatch of Text: 
"'If you're worried,' Aaron said. 'you should do a solo.'
I fake shivered. 'I'd rather eat out of a litter box.'
'You score higher with a solo,' he pointed out.
'Not if you pass out in the middle of it.'"(p. 20)
Mentor Text for: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Visualizing, Personal Narrative, Dialogue
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when a friendship changed - maybe a close friendship wasn't as close or maybe an acquaintance became a close friend. 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Family, Love, Courage, Integration - Music/Band, Auditions, Trust, Honesty, Communication
Jen *hearts* It:
Kellee *hearts* It: 
**Thank you to Amy Fellner Dominy and her publisher for providing copies to us for review**

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