Rhythm And Blues

4676316554 0c0656d25b m Rhythm And BluesRead Rhythm And Blues today!
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Special: $11.36 CAD (Regular price: $14.95)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Format: Paperback, eBook
Reviewer: Melissa on June 8, 2010
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you aren’t familiar with the Canadian YA novel scene, then you may not have heard of Jill Murray and either her debut novel Break On Through, which came out in 2008, or her sophomore book Rhythm And Blues, which first became available in February 2010. I have to break it to you…you’re really missing out if you don’t pick up this book. It chronicles the life of Alya Merchant – a 16-year-old girl, who seems to have it all: a full-ride scholarship to a private school and a spot in the best breakdance crew around. However, when she gets “discovered” her life turns upside down in a good way, or is it?

There is just something about the rhythm of RhythmAndBlues (pun intended) that actually made me happier than I was before picking it up. I’ll admit it…I was having a bit of a moody day, but there was something so refreshing about this novel that I couldn’t help but leave my moody blues behind for a joyful feeling.

Alya’s attitude is palpable from the beginning, and readers of all ages will immediately fall in love with it and her. However, it is more than the main character’s attitude that will delight readers: she also has a wonderful sense of irony that will tug your lips up into a grin and may even bring a chuckle or an outright laugh to the surface. If reading a novel can make one happy, then I am living proof that this one will definitely work its charms on you.

In a world where reality TV shows showcase the talent of our youth and many teens are raised to think that fame is definitely within reach, this novel bridges the gap between finding ones place in the world and the positive and negative aspects of instant stardom. It forces the reader to ask questions like what does one need to sacrifice once s/he has been discovered? And more importantly, once fame is within reach, will they ever be able to live an authentic existence again?

Finally, readers will want to read further as Alya experiences the questions and doubts that come with a burgeoning LGBT sexuality, including who do you tell or can you just keep it to yourself for some time. If you do talk about it with someone else, how will they react? Despite having to deal with such big questions, Alya usually responds with a maturity that is well suited to her…though as to be expected, there are a few things for which she’d like a redo. These questions, and those about dealing with fame are big ones, but Jill Murray handles them with a hand that is adept at tackling complex issues in a compelling way.

Now, personally, I haven’t yet read her debut novel, but when I get the chance, I’m going to pick it up. There’s no question in my mind about this decision because reading Rhythm And Blues made me realize, once again, that being different is good. From the way she envisions characters and their problems to her fresh and refreshing writing style, Jill Murray’s urban narrative is definitely worth the effort.

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  2 comments for “Rhythm And Blues

  1. Amy
    November 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Great review! I’m glad you nominated this book as I somehow missed your review and likely wouldn’t have heard of the book otherwise. It was a really great read.

  2. November 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I’m glad that you had the chance to read the book and my review of it. As I’m sure you can tell, I was really impressed with it, too, so I think it’s great that you (and maybe others) will get the chance to read it now.

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