What It Is About: Sam (Samantha) is a sixth grader at the middle-school. She is finding out that life isn't as easy there as it was in fifth grade at the elementary building. Sam is sure of one thing. Her passion is with drums and being a drummer. She has even set up a "fake" drum set in her own room by using various materials. After learning that the music program at her school might be cut, which will eliminate her chances of getting into one of the seventh grade bands, she becomes even more obsessed with drums. Hiding the fact that she got into trouble at school by deleting messages from the principal, Sam complicates her life by getting a lawn job behind her parents' backs. This lawn job is important because it allows Sam to take lessons from a well-known drummer teacher. Her parents don't know about this either. The only thing Sam can see in front of her is learning to be the best drummer she can. Is she willing to risk her family life, her friendships, and a whole lot more at school?
What I Thought Of It: When I opened the package this morning and saw the cover of the book, it just made me happy. Before I even started the story, I knew it was going to be great. I finished the entire 250 pages during this afternoon while sitting out on my deck enjoying this beautiful summer day. I love music, but really know nothing about it. I was never in the band, but did take piano lessons as a young boy. It was so interesting to learn about drumming and how Sam was so inspired and driven to be the best drummer she could. The supporting cast of characters that surrounded Sam were interesting, necessary, and filled the story with suspense and support. There are some great themes and life-lessons used in the story and I found myself rooting for Sam and her success. This is Mike's first novel and I think he did a bang-up job. It must be that he is a fourth grade teacher like myself. Ha! You could tell he "gets" kids and what they will do in order to achieve their dreams. Loved the entire book and can't wait to share it with my students in the fall.
Who Should Read It: This really can be a story for anyone. I can see readers in third through sixth enjoying it. Middle-school readers will also gain satisfaction with the novel. There is nothing questionable for any reader to be able to handle. Adult readers that enjoy middle-grade fiction will enjoy Sam and her journey. As I was reading it I kept thinking it would make for a great read aloud. There is a lot of suspense and chapter endings that leave you wanting more. I find these are the perfect novels to use for read aloud. Look for this book in September. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars