Author: Amy Fellner Dominy
Publisher: Walker & Company
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 272
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at IRA Convention
For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been:AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is such a cute story. It's exactly what I've come to expect from Amy Fellner Dominy! Her writing voice is spot on for a middle grades book that will engage readers. Her books have middle school appropriate romance with a unique twist. This time it's the band students.
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 . . .
Some things seemed a little obvious to me as an experienced reader, but as a middle schooler, I probably wouldn't have realized them at that age. However, Amy's writing is that type of fun, school-set romance, with friendship/family elements. It's kinds of like the chick flick for the book set, which is a very good thing because so many of my students are asking for that, but with more depth of thought and lessons to learn and quality to it than some of the other books for this age in this genre. She also writes smart characters who are not the popular kids, but are the real kids that I see who are interested in a variety of things and want to be successful, but are also insecure at times.
AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is all about the reality of what happens when it's no longer just you and your best friend, but a boyfriend is introduced to the mix. It's the reality of how we move on in our lives and reevalute friendships and relationships as we grow up and sometimes grow apart. It also includes a very sweet start to a relationship with a really good guy who is fully supportive of the main character.
Beyond the friendship and romance elements, there's a strong message of figuring out what you want and going for it, no matter what others might say to try to hold you back. Doing what you can to reach your dreams by working hard is an important part of this novel. There are also strong parental figures who are supportive of their child, which is always nice to see.
Overall, Amy Fellner Dominy has written a cute, fun, easy to read romance and drama book that middle school girls are always asking me for. I think they'll really enjoy AUDITION & SUBTRACTION, especially those band students. I know I did!