'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 13 September 2018

Review: A Song Only I can Hear

Barry Jonsberg's Middle Grade Fiction is always full of heart. His novel, My Life as an Alphabethad me brimming over with joy even as I wanted to cry for Candice, who was ridiculed for just being herself.

Now Rob in A Song Only I Can Hear is so adorable, I just want to hug all his fears and insecurities away.

It wasn't until I was more than two thirds of the way through the book that I realised Rob's fears were more than well-founded. His life had been sheer hell before I met him.

Even though quality LGBTQ stories have been emerging over the past few years, there has been nothing for the middle grader, but Barry Jonsberg has changed that forever.

With meticulous research and friends from the Northern Territory LGBTQ community to advise him, Barry has created Rob, a multi-dimensional protagonist who feels more like a really close friend than a character in a book.

I could tell you so much about Rob's crazy grandad, who loves his grandson so much that he's prepared to get himself arrested to protect him. Or Rob's best friend who can't spell to save himself but he's always there for Rob. I could even tell you about the school soccer coach who desperately needs someone brave enough to stand up against the rampaging St Martin's.

But I don't want to give too much away.

A Song Only I Can Hear is about more than coping with unexpected situations. It's about way more than gender or even identity. It's even about more than life and death.

I will be forever grateful for Barry Jonsberg's writing, which opens doors I didn't even know were closed.

Without telling you too much, Rob's motto below says it all:

Dream Big.
Be Brave.
March to the Beat of Your Own Drum.

Title: A Song Only I Can Hear
Author: Barry Jonsberg
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: 27 June 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760630836
For ages: 10 years +
Type: Middle Grade Fiction