The Music of What Happens is a beautiful, emotional story of two very different teenage boys meeting by chance and ending up spending the summer together to fix a food truck mess. In the course of the summer, they discover not only the attraction for each other, but trust and comfort, and the courage to face their biggest fears.
This book is at the same time funny and heartbreaking. Despite dealing with some pretty heavy subjects, such as addiction, parental neglect and even rape, it is nevertheless a truly wonderful, breathtaking and hopeful story. It also feels absolutely authentic and real, with amazing characters.
The main characters, Max and Jordan, literally leapt off the pages and took hold of my heart from the very first moment. There is some remarkable personal growth in them both along the way and there are so many layers to their characters. As it was in all characters in this book; there are some wonderful secondary players in the boys’ mothers and their group of friends. They were all real persons, with flaws, good and bad sides (Jordan’s mother had mostly bad ones, but I won’t go into much into that as I don’t want to spoil anything).
What I especially loved about this book was how different Max and Jordan were from one another, but how the attraction between them nevertheless felt completely real and natural. Max on the one hand was the cool, easy-going jock. Capable and popular, but with a tendency to bottle his feelings and “warrior up” like his father always told him to. Jordan on the other hand, was the shy and awkward emo guy, suffering from low self-esteem and the chaos and grief caused by his father’s death and his mother’s gambling problems. But the way they complement and support each other was so wonderful; I loved how Jordan taught Max to open up and become more vulnerable, and how Max in his turn helped Jordan to stand up for himself.
This book really shows the problems with toxic masculinity and the importance of admitting and sharing your problems. Even a tough and strong jock can get raped, and the built-up anger and fear, the feeling of not being able to breath, won’t go away until you face it. It was so well described how Max tried to push all thoughts away, but how they still affected him, and how he questioned his own actions.
All in all, I absolutely loved this book, even though it almost broke my heart at some points, and I know that it will stay with me for a long time! It reminds me a bit of another favorite book of mine, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, so if you’re a fan of that book you will definitely love this one as well!
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