Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
I recently heard back from a student who read this book based on my enthusiastic recommendation. They disagreed with me. It was awful, they said. It was sad. Then they added it to their favorite-books-of all-time list. So, yeah, there are sad parts, but it is so worth it!
Steven is a normal middle school kid who plays drums in the all-city jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in school (who doesn’t know he’s alive), and thinks his little brother is the most annoying thing in the world. But when that little brother is diagnosed with cancer, Steven’s life is suddenly turned upside-down. He has to deal with complicated feelings about his brother and his brother’s illness and his family and the ways they’re dealing or not dealing with his brother’s illness. . . but life doesn’t just stop and give you time to figure all of that out. There’s still school and drums and girls and, well, dangerous pie.
I loved the authentic voices, the realistic intertwining of the different dimensions of Steven’s life, and the role that drumming plays in the book and in Steven’s journey. And so I offer you my enthusiastic recommendation. Don’t be one bit surprised if this book ends up on your favorite-books-of all-time list.