Tune It Out

S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2020. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534457003.
Gr 5 Up–Loud sounds, crowds, and people touching or brushing up against her are painful for 12-year-old Louise Montgomery. Her mom thinks she has the voice of an angel and is destined to make it as a singer; she has spent years forcing Louise to perform in noisy coffee shops and karaoke events while the two live together in their truck. After an incident wherein Lou crashes their truck, the young girl is moved across the country and placed in the custody of her aunt and uncle who she doesn’t know. In this new setting, Lou deals with fitting in at a fancy private school, making friends, and learning to trust the adults in her life. She juggles all of this while managing what she learns, with the help of the school counselor, is a sensory processing disorder (SPD). Lou’s relationships with the adults in her life, including her mom, aunt, and uncle, evolve over the course of the narrative as she adjusts to her new normal. Sumner doesn’t shy away from tough topics including homelessness, poverty, foster care, and the ups and downs of having a sensory processing disorder.
VERDICT Readers will fall in love with Lou Montgomery in this uplifting story, as she learns the power of music and the importance of family and friends.

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