Review of Listen to This

Listen to This Listen to This
by Jennifer Blecher
Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    224 pp.
3/24    9780063140738    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780063140752    $10.99

This story of shifting friendships follows two seventh graders: Lily, who feels left out now that Maddie and Sasha are on an elite soccer team together; and Will, who has a crush on Lily and whose every move is fodder for his dad’s podcast. There’s a dance coming up, and questions of who will ask whom are on everyone’s mind, aided by gossipy Sienna, who takes out her own insecurities on both Lily and Will. Entanglements and misunderstandings ensue, largely because, to its credit, the novel allows friend-group dynamics to be complicated. Maddie and Sasha seem to be closer to each other than to Lily, but Lily is the one Maddie tells about her crush on another girl. Sasha and Sienna have a secret of their own, and when it’s revealed, so are more aspects of Sasha’s inner life. Some of the many characters in the ensemble beyond Lily and Will are touched upon only briefly, but we learn enough about them to understand what they’re all learning: that each of them is the main character in their own life.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

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