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 Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez