Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Amazon.com: Tune It Out (9781534457003): Sumner, Jamie: Books

Summary:  Lou’s mom hopes to capitalize on Lou’s beautiful singing voice; Lou loves to sing but her aversion to loud noises and touch make it difficult for her to be on stage or even to function in settings like school.  She hasn’t had to worry about school for awhile, though, as she and her mom are living in their truck, traveling from one campsite to the next in search of their big break.  When Lou crashes the truck, police take her away from her mom and send her to live with a wealthy aunt of whom she has only dim memories.  Her aunt and uncle send Lou to the private school where her uncle teaches, and she finds herself enjoying school and friends for the first time.  An astute counselor diagnoses her with sensory processing disorder, but Lou refuses treatment, preferring to see herself as the fighter her mother always told her she was.  Lou feels herself increasingly torn between the desire to be reunited with her mother and the happiness she feels in her new life.  A crisis at school finally convinces her to accept help from friends and family and to begin to create a life that might be able to include all the people she loves.  288 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Lou is a likeable character who has been dealt a pretty tough hand, and she is indeed a fighter who does remarkably well despite that.  It’s nice to see some supportive, savvy social workers and school counselors in a children’s book (for a change), as well as some quirky kids who aren’t total outcasts.

Cons:  Lou’s immediate and unwavering acceptance by the theater crowd seemed a little unrealistic for middle school.   

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