This summer I received a review copy of a book and after the summary, the press release says “perfect for fans of Fame, Glee, and The Voice.” I mean, musical theater? singing? sweet rom-com? Check, check, and check! The book? Sing Like No One’s Listening by Vanessa Jones.
I loved this book. There were definitely parts that were predictable and cliché, but it was one of those books that just spoke to me. I was the kid who stayed up late to watch Fame when I was younger and this felt like a modern reboot. I seriously inhaled this book in under 24 hours. I had always wanted to go to a school of performing arts like I had seen in the television version of Fame. A book set in the same sort of situation that stars a slightly awkward singer and has a quickly moving plot, it is no wonder that I was hooked. Sing is simply a feel good kind of book and sometimes that is exactly what we need, especially in times of stress.
The story focuses on Nettie Delaney. As the story begins, she is auditioning for a prestigious performing arts school, one that her famous mother once attended. But Nettie was still struggling to get back on her feet after her mother died. Singing is an emotional thing. It helps express emotions, but it also is better if it comes from an emotional place. When Nettie’s mother died, it was hard for her to keep singing. When she accidentally listened to an old voice mail right before a huge audition, it was a mental block and she couldn’t get a sound out. For reasons we don’t know at first, she still manages to get into the performing arts school she was auditioning for, but she continually feels like she is not up to par. It doesn’t help that two “mean girl” second year students are out to get her, in part because of the boy she has a crush on. Nettie is finally able to sing sporadically when she stumbles into an empty studio and an unknown piano player is playing behind a screen.
If you are looking for a deep story, this isn’t really it. But sometimes you need to just let go of reality and fulfill a childhood fantasy. Sing is full of emotional highs and lows, and was a truly enjoyable book.