After years of boredom in her rural South Carolina town, Maria is thrilled when her father finally allows her to visit her estranged artist mother in New York City. She’s ready for adventure, and she soon finds herself immersed in a world of rock music and busy streets, where new people and ideas lie around every concrete corner. This is the freedom she’s always longed for—and she pushes for as much as she can get, skipping school to roam the streets, visit fancy museums, and flirt with the cute clerk at a downtown record store.
But just like her beloved New York City, Maria’s life has a darker side. Behind her mother’s carefree existence are shadowy secrets, and Maria must decide just where—and with whom—her loyalty lies.
Anyone who has followed Letters Inside Out for any length of time, probably (should) know that music is and always will be one of my favorite contemporary book topics. From the synopsis, I expected a cute little romance story, instead I was gifted with cute, but intense that is also peppered with so much fun 90s (and earlier) music info.
Armed with “Supergirl Mixtapes” made by her closest friend, Maria’s excited to be in the Big Apple and to get to spend time with her artist mother, she’s not too bothered with the fact that Mom has a musician boyfriend not much older than she is. He’s actually pretty cool. The family situation starts out great and then starts getting rocky. Plus her new school isn’t quite what she expected so instead of going she starts skipping and invents this “cool” college life that she uses to flirt with the record store clerk. Spending time in record stores and college parties, Maria starts a path of self discovery.
Let me just say, I have to say I love the idea of “Supergirl Mixtapes”. Around Maria’s age I discovered “female rockers” and was in love. That’s what these mixtapes are made up of: bands with a female musician in them, bands with only females, and occasionally an all male group to “keep it from being sexist” and mix it up. (I may still have a playlist called Women Who Rock that I listen to when I want a little boost!)
If you haven’t gathered, Supergirl Mixtapes is one of those books where the main character makes a series of bad mistakes, but for once I didn’t want to slap her. (Ok, that sounds mean, but it’s true! Many times when characters do “stupid” things I can’t help but want to guide them a bit…) Brothers has managed to make Marie extremely likeable to the point that some of her infractions I didn’t even really notice or think about too heavily until they blew up in her face – it was done in such a realistic manner. I have to say, I don’t know if there’s ever a YA book that managed that for me. For that alone I have to applaud Brothers add in many music references and I LOVE this book.
Supergirl Mixtapes is more likely to fit for music fans than the average contemporary reader, but I think it’s great enough for everyone to give it at least a try.
I received Supergirl Mixtapes in exchange for my honest opinion from the publisher.