This book tells the story of a transgender teen girl, Rita, and her struggles to find out and accept who she is, but not from Rita’s view but from her cousin’s. At first, I really appreciated this concept and thought that it was a fresh and interesting way to tell the story and to show how the nearest family also is affected by Rita’s decision. But sadly, the concept didn’t feel as great after a while when there was too much transphobia and a main character that wasn’t very likable.
15-year-old Ivy Scattergood has traveled with her family to their vacation home in Maine, where also her cousin Robert will spend his summer. The only thing is that there is no Robert getting off the ferry, but instead a beautiful, glamorous young woman who has re-named herself Rita Gomez. Thus starts a summer where Ivy and her family will question their views of the world, their beliefs, understanding and empathy.
At first, I really enjoyed getting the views from Ivy and how she described the reactions from her parents and her two brothers, and how she took Rita under her wings. But that changed when Ivy’s long time crush, Bailey Cooper, started to talk appreciatively about Rita and when Ivy’s brothers warmed up to her. From there, Ivy didn’t come across as a very likable person, sadly. With all focus on how Ivy felt about Rita being trans, rather than on how Rita herself experienced this major life-changing struggle she was going through, it made Ivy seem very selfish. She also had a bad attitude thinking that she knew everything and that the transition ‘wasn’t worth all the hassle to go through’ which in no way was for her to have any opinion about. There were also some scenes where Rita was being harassed and Ivy didn’t stand up for her, which really didn’t sit well with me. Especially as Ivy then complained about Rita’s parents letting her down and other people for not understanding.
Luckily, the whole Scattergood family seemed to go through a great development over the summer and to be more understanding at the end, but it was never really explained how this change happened, so it was a bit confusing at the same time.
I really enjoyed the writing style, but I had expected the things mentioned in the synopsis about the Scattergoods being a blended, mixed-race family with old Philadelphia area Quaker roots to at least play a part of the story. There were also some things that were a bit too detailed. Like the music references, and all Red Sox details. Even though Ivy was a huge fan, the baseball details were not of relevance for the story at all.
Old Music for New People had a lot of potential and the author clearly is a very skilled writer, but the execution wasn’t all that I had hoped for. But I appreciated the new concept and how it pinpointed the hardship and struggle transgender persons are faced with.
Thank you to Net Galley and The Story Plant for this advanced copy. All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez