Somebody Everybody Listens To

Somebody Everybody Listens To

4.2 15
by Suzanne Supplee
     
 

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Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. So with a beaten-down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn't a smooth one, and a girl's gotta figure out who she can trust in a town full of showmen and… See more details below

Overview

Retta Lee Jones is blessed with a beautiful voice and has big dreams of leaving her tiny Tennessee hometown. So with a beaten-down car, a pocketful of hard-earned waitressing money, and stars in her eyes, Retta sets out to make it big in Nashville. But the road to success isn't a smooth one, and a girl's gotta figure out who she can trust in a town full of showmen and scammers. Soon Retta begins to have doubts: Can she make her mark and still stay true to herself?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Propelled by her best friend's belief in her musical talent, recent high school grad Retta Lee Jones leaves self-doubt, clingy parents, and her smalltown life behind and heads to Nashville, determined to make her name in country music. Hard knocks (she damages the car she borrowed from her great-aunt right away) and kind strangers (the tow-truck driver becomes an ally) introduce her to her new home, and neither are in short supply. Understanding that genuine talent alone won't open doors for her, Retta lives out of her car, bathes in public sinks, and studies the industry, searching for a way to break in. These concrete challenges prove less daunting than the guilt-inducing pull of home, as her parents' unhappy marriage dissolves without her. Biographical notes about country stars like Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and Carrie Underwood introduce each chapter and highlight each star's "big break," providing inspiration for both Retta and readers. While a mustread for country music lovers, Supplee's (Artichoke's Heart) latest will appeal to a wide audience, especially those who long to pursue a dream against the odds. Ages 12-up. (May)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Retta is a thoroughly credible, thoroughly likable character...her story [is] compulsively readable and ultimately inspiring.
Bookpage
A lush Southern setting, endearing characters, and honest first-person narration...teens do not need to be fans of country music to be fans of Suzanne Supplee.
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
Retta Lee Jones has just graduated high school and wants to set out for Nashville to follow her dream of being a country singer. But escaping her small town seems like an impossible feat, especially as she has $500 to her name and no car. After some waffling, Retta gathers up her courage and asks her grumpy great-aunt if she can borrow her car. Retta arrives in Nashville during the week of the Country Music Festival, finding every hotel in town full. After getting a parking ticket and into a minor car accident, Retta's bad luck seems to take a turn for the better when she is befriended by Ricky Dean, the kind tow truck driver who hauls her car to his shop. He offers to fix her car in exchange for some office work. She gets a gig singing in a run-down hotel, where she stays for free, but suffers another setback when she is forced to return home to deal with family drama. It is only on her return to Nashville that things really start to take off. Her determination, combined with some assistance from new friends, helps Retta see that her dream might be attainable. This quiet and thoughtful story effectively conveys what it is like to feel trapped in a stiflingly small town. The evocative setting and well-drawn characters, as well as the realistic ups and downs, create a unique and moving tale. Fans of country music, or anyone who dreams of making it as a musician, will enjoy this story. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—You don't have to be a fan of country music to fall in love with Retta Lee Jones and her inspiring quest to be a country singer. Supplee avoids the oversentimental star-crush often typical of wannabe stories by creating honest characters one might meet in any hometown: anxious parents, stranger turned guardian angel, boy-next-door, fun best friend, young men and women chasing dreams. After graduating high school, Retta Lee stakes everything she has on moving to Nashville to break into the music business. Each step forward, however, seems to take her two steps back—back toward a sad family life and the boy she had a crush. Moving forward toward her dream becomes elusive after her fragile support system falls apart through no fault of her own. But Retta Lee doesn't give up. She reminds herself of the country artists she's admired all her life and takes inspiration from their trials and tribulations and eventual success. Supplee opens each well-paced chapter with a brief profile of popular singers, providing continuity and interesting tidbits about the royals of country music. Retta Lee's innate kindheartedness; her aspirations in a highly competitive field, always tempered with good old commonsense; and her burgeoning talent make her an immensely likable and believable character who steadfastly follows her dreams in a world often inured to such high hopes.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Kirkus Reviews
"Dolly or Loretta or Tammy or Emmylou . . . my voice is just like Play-Doh: it can take one any shape I want," says recent high-school graduate Retta Lee Jones. Now the country-singer hopeful is ready to leave behind her best friend, a potential boyfriend and her dysfunctional parents to find her own voice in Nashville. She thinks she is prepared for the hard road ahead, until she's faced with hunger, living in her car and a mugging. Constantly doubtful, Retta draws inspiration from previous country stars before making her way to open-mic night at the Mockingbird (which is based on Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe) and claims the attention of a local critic. Her hardships and lucky breaks may seem far-fetched until they're compared with the real-life bios that open and frame each chapter. From Retta's cravings for Sundrop soda to the twangy speech of the auto mechanic who rescues her from homelessness, this chick-lit story with a Southern flair features a host of characters from all walks of life. It begs for a playlist. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142418864
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/09/2011
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
414,087
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

Dolly Parton
A wonderful story about dreams and determination that reminds us all to squeeze the most out of every single day.

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