Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.
She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.
Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.
But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.
Seriously, a book about a music camp, sign me up! Now, this isn’t your typical music camp (think Band Camp from Disney, or even American Pie), this is a highly competitive opera camp. Different, right? Opera is not really a genre of music that the young adult community talks about. I mean, I can honestly tell you that I know nothing about opera except that it’s mostly sung in another language.
The Sound of Us follows Kiki on her journey to be one of the coveted recipients of a musical scholarship to the Krause University music program. When Kiki arrives, she’s mostly in the shadow of her sister who went to the camp previously, won one of the scholarships, and generally wooed everyone all around. But that’s not Kiki. Kiki, while loving opera, also loves being a nerd. She loves marathoning her favorite TV show and then immediately hoping on Twitter to discuss it indepthly with her thousands of followers. I guess you could say that she’s Twitter famous in that fandom. But put her with real people, in real situations, and she clams up, hiding her nerdiness so that people will like her.
While this is a story about music, it’s also a story about growing up. On her first day, Kiki is thrust into situations where she must interact with people and make friends. Over the course of the book, she comes to realize that the people that she’s meeting like her for her and not just because she’s a great singer. And then there’s of course the boys. A late night meeting with mysterious drummer boy Jack, leads to a jam session that has Kiki thinking of no one else but him – to the point that it affects her music. She’s pretty sure Jack felt the same since he wants to continue the jam sessions. The only problem with this, opera camp has strict rules. One being, no singing anything that isn’t opera. And well, I’m sure you can guess that their jam sessions aren’t opera related. And go figure, there’s a snitch amongst the bunch. But with the competition this fierce and the stakes extremely high, obviously sabotage is going to come to play.
Overall, I felt this was a solid fun book. Kiki was likeable. There were times that she bothered me and she made reckless decisions (but hey, she’s a teen). The author wrote her in a way that was real for her age. As a nerd of many fandoms myself, I felt a connection to Kiki when she was describing her love and obsession with her favorite TV show. The side characters were fun and their personalities just filled the spaces of the camp. But once again, communication! So many things could have been avoided if people would have just talked!!
Also, can I say that I enjoyed the pop culture references? Especially this one,
"Today he’s dressed like Mitchell, but his head and body are all Seth Green on Buffy."
My love for Buffy knows no bounds. Anyway. Mostly, this book had me all happy like: