The Screaming Divas

The Screaming Divas

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by Suzanne Kamata
     
 

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At sixteen, Trudy Baxter is tired of her debutante mom, her deadbeat dad, and her standing reservation at the juvenile detention center. Changing her name to Trudy Sin, she cranks up her major chops as a singer and starts a band, gathering around other girls ill at ease in their own lives. Cassie Haywood, would-have-been beauty queen, was scarred in an accident in

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Overview

At sixteen, Trudy Baxter is tired of her debutante mom, her deadbeat dad, and her standing reservation at the juvenile detention center. Changing her name to Trudy Sin, she cranks up her major chops as a singer and starts a band, gathering around other girls ill at ease in their own lives. Cassie Haywood, would-have-been beauty queen, was scarred in an accident in which her alcoholic mom was killed. But she can still sing and play her guitar, even though she seeks way too much relief from the pain in her body and her heart through drugs, and way too much relief from loneliness through casual sex. Still, it's Cassie who hears former child prodigy Harumi Yokoyama playing in a punk band at a party, and enlists her, outraging Harumi's overbearing first-generation Japanese parents. The fourth member is Esther Shealy, who joins as a drummer in order to be close to Cassie--the long-time object of her unrequited love--and Harumi, her estranged childhood friend. Together, they are Screaming Divas, and they're quickly swept up as a local sensation. Then, just as they are about to achieve their rock-girl dreams, a tragedy strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Author Suzanne Kamata's voice rings true from her own experiences...the coming-of-age story that is told is universal." - Boxx Magazine

"Another book in which girls are in the band and not with it, this is a novel for the Riot Grrrl in all of us." --MTV.com

School Library Journal
08/01/2014
Gr 10 Up—A contemporary coming-of-age novel that focuses on music, sex, and drugs, told from the points of view of four teenage girls who are all searching for something. Trudy, Cassandra, Harumi, and Esther come from different walks of life. Trudy is no stranger to juvenile detention, and finds herself kicked out of both of her parents' homes. Cassandra is a former beauty queen with an ugly scar and a newfound addiction to heroine. Harumi is a violin prodigy with overbearing Japanese parents, and Esther is a confused teen struggling with her sexuality. The four of them come together to form a band called the Screaming Divas that is in desperate need of practice. But as the girls get better and the band becomes more popular, Cassandra falls deeper into her addiction, and after an argument with Trudy, ends up dying from a drug overdose. While this is a relatively short book, the pacing is painfully slow. It isn't until halfway through the book that the group actually forms, and readers are unlikely to find the characters likable or believable. Unless teens are heavily invested in the rock and roll theme, they are unlikely to be hooked by this story that fails to perform.—Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-31
Rock music offers four teen girls a much-needed outlet and escape in mid-1980s South Carolina. The Screaming Divas are an unlikely ensemble. Brought together by Trudy, a magnet for trouble who is fresh out of juvie, the band also includes gorgeous Cassie, a former child-beauty-pageant queen; stoic Harumi, a classically trained violinist who had a meltdown at her Juilliard audition; and shy Esther, who harbors a secret crush on Cassie. The third-person narration rotates through the four members' viewpoints to show what attracts each girl to the group. Even as the Divas begin to enjoy modest success on Columbia's club scene, the girls' rebellious impulses lead them to take other risks, such as moving out of their parents' homes, experimenting with drugs, and starting romantic relationships with older men and women. At times, the novel feels more like a catalog of teen social issues than a coming-of-age story. Kamata's (Gadget Girl, 2013) sensitive, restrained prose shines during small character moments—like Cassie's fierce recitation of Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" during English class—but dulls the impact and energy of the concert scenes. A strangely tame read despite all the sex, drugs and rock-'n'-roll. (Historical fiction. 14-17)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440572791
Publisher:
Adams Media
Publication date:
05/18/2014
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,215,557
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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