Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also obese, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.
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He wanted his son to be a jock but Garvey had other plans. Garvey would rather learn and study than play catch or shoot a basket. As his classmates taunted him for his weight, I had to wonder if his father even knew what happened at school and if this would even effect how he talked to his son. While at school one day he notices the choir room, his best friends suggest that he should check it out since he is always humming. Garvey wonders if perhaps that might be just what he needed yet he hesitates, what if he fails? Days later, Garvey takes a chance and opens the chorus room door and finds that what lies inside this room is more than just music. It’s a lesson in acceptance and empowerment as Garvey learns to embrace his individuality. This is another novel that should not be listened to, the narrator shows no emotion as he reads the novel and he sounded like. A. Robot. When. He. Reads. The. Text. Which. Drove. Me. Crazy. There was no rhythm or perk in his voice and after the novel was finished, the author explained that her novel was written in Tanka, a type of Japanese poetry like a haiku but the author changed the number or syllables in her novel. That being said, I still think there should have been some type of rhythm in the narrator’s voice as he read. I normally love it when an author plays with their words in a novel and this is the first time I have ever listened to a novel being read using this technique and I think it will be my last time I ever do it. Listening to the audio, I thought the story lacked the emotions and the dramatics that it really deserves. It’s amazing how much a narrator can affect your reading experience. If you do read this novel, don’t listen to the audio, read the text yourself so you can put your own dramatics, your own pauses, and your vocals to the text.