Lynn: Are you looking for something a bit different for the middle school set? Mylisa Larsen’s debut novel, Playing Through the Turnaround (Clarion, October 2022) is a great selection.
One of the major highlights of this book is the character development. Larsen has crafted 5 vivid and distinct individuals here and the characters truly carry the story. Told in alternating chapters, each voice is strong and authentic, revealing vulnerabilities and growing strengths. The resolution is somewhat ambiguous but readers will come away confident that this group of teens will move on together, providing support and deep friendship to each other.
This is a debut novel and I was really impressed with Larsen’s writing. She frames her story with a somewhat unusual setting – a Jazz Lab – and one that is welcome. The process of making their voices heard is especially timely. The uniting theme of the book and the endearing and authentic voices make this truly something special.