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The Music of What Happens

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Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart. Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites. Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most.


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Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart. Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites. Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most.

30 review for The Music of What Happens

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. Whenever I read a YA rom-com featuring LGBTQ characters, I feel so happy that kids today have these books to read, to see that finding someone to love doesn't have to be a dream they'll have to give up because of whom they're attracted to. At the same time, I can't help but be a tiny bit bitter that these books didn't exist when I was a teenager, because I certainly could have used that encouragement instead of having no role models or examples to look toward. Bill Konigsberg's The Mu 4.5 stars. Whenever I read a YA rom-com featuring LGBTQ characters, I feel so happy that kids today have these books to read, to see that finding someone to love doesn't have to be a dream they'll have to give up because of whom they're attracted to. At the same time, I can't help but be a tiny bit bitter that these books didn't exist when I was a teenager, because I certainly could have used that encouragement instead of having no role models or examples to look toward. Bill Konigsberg's The Music of What Happens is sweet and funny and romantic, but it's also poignant and deals with some serious issues as well. Max is an athlete. He's tremendously easy-going and never appears to let anything faze him. His closest buddies are totally cool with him being gay, as is his mom. Jordan is highly strung, a talented poet who doesn't believe he's worth much of anything. He totally wants a boyfriend but doesn't think anyone would find him attractive or interesting enough to have a relationship with him (or even sex), so he spends most of his time hanging out with his two girlfriends, whom he calls his "wives." "The world will make you vulnerable. If you're acting like you're not, that's what you're doing. Acting." Max and Jordan's meet-cute is at a food truck. Jordan and his mother have just resurrected his father's food truck for the first time since he died, and they're desperate to make it work, since they're in significant financial need. But neither Jordan nor his mother know the first thing about food trucks, or cooking, or food safety, and Max arrives at the counter just as Jordan's mother begins melting down. So Max, who likes to cook, volunteers to help save the truck—and, perhaps, their lives. The last thing Jordan wants is to spend the summer with a dude bro like Max, but of course he realizes Max is far more complex and sensitive than he leads anyone to believe. As the two of them strive to take the food truck world by storm, they start enjoying each other's company more and more, and they don't let any truck-related setbacks get them down. But deep down, both boys are struggling—Max with a painful secret that confuses even him, and Jordan with his having to parent his mother, who is in a destructive spiral that could hurt them both. "I think about the half notes of dissonance, between what I hear and what someone else hears, and those moments where the world is so cold, and when someone reaches their hand out to you. In those symphonic, connected moments where another soul joins you and feels what you feel, and you can breathe again. Like right now." The Music of What Happens may not surprise you and it may not break new ground, but it's utterly charming and just so wonderful. I love the fact that Konigsberg avoided the typical drama when a character reveals to their peers or their family that they're gay, and instead just began from a place where it wasn't a big deal to those around them, the way life should be. I believed in these characters. They felt authentic and dealt with real problems, and I totally believed that the two would fall for each other. I also believed in their struggles, the things about their friends and family that bothered them but they never spoke up about, and the unique perspectives each brought to their own lives and their burgeoning relationship. If there was any false note, it was Jordan's mother, who seemed to fade in to cause chaos and then fade out again. This is the first of Konigsberg's books I've read and I absolutely loved it. I need to go back and read all of his earlier books because I love the openness of his storytelling and the complete charm of his characters. They're funny without being stand-up comedians, they're sensitive and romantic. I hope that there are kids out there who feel encouraged by books like The Music of What Happens . The YA genre continues to be so rich with talented writers tackling important issues with humor and grace, and showing that no matter whom you love, your love story can come true. Don't we need more of that? See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    What can I say to the good folks of Goodreads about this, my fifth novel? This is a book I am very proud of and excited about. I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can read the story of Max and Jordan. If you were a reader who loved the Rafe/Ben relationship, I think you'll love this one, too. Coming 02/26/2019! (EDIT: it was originally 1/29, but there's this paper shortage going on in the publishing industry so they pushed the date back to make sure there would be no hitch with the launch. S What can I say to the good folks of Goodreads about this, my fifth novel? This is a book I am very proud of and excited about. I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can read the story of Max and Jordan. If you were a reader who loved the Rafe/Ben relationship, I think you'll love this one, too. Coming 02/26/2019! (EDIT: it was originally 1/29, but there's this paper shortage going on in the publishing industry so they pushed the date back to make sure there would be no hitch with the launch. Sorry for the delay!)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    Five enthusiastic stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ☆ Todd

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story, largely due to the amount of personal growth shown by both of these young, 17 y.o. MC's. Max, a confident, gay, athletic, bro dude, started out with the nickname of "Guy Smiley", because he'd always been taught that, no matter what happened, a real man was supposed to suck it up and move on, without letting his upset show. Man up. Everything was fine. Especially when it wasn't. Then his life was totally upended after an online hook-up went nothing like he'd hop I thoroughly enjoyed this story, largely due to the amount of personal growth shown by both of these young, 17 y.o. MC's. Max, a confident, gay, athletic, bro dude, started out with the nickname of "Guy Smiley", because he'd always been taught that, no matter what happened, a real man was supposed to suck it up and move on, without letting his upset show. Man up. Everything was fine. Especially when it wasn't. Then his life was totally upended after an online hook-up went nothing like he'd hoped or wanted. Jordan, being an odd, slightly-effeminate, emo guy, with little self-confidence and a flair for being overly-dramatic, was almost the exact opposite of Max. They only really met in the first place because Max was on the scene when Jordan's also-dramatic mother was having a melt down on the food truck that the mother and son duo were attempting to get up and running in an effort to save their home from foreclosure. The two guys had nothing at all in common to begin with, other than an unspoken attraction, but that began to change slowly, as they started working together as a team to make the food truck a success. I also really liked the book's concept of "the music of what happens", which basically translated into the sights and sounds of life, both good and bad, as it happens both around you and to you. I'd never really thought of day-to-day events in quite those terms before, but I'm sure that framing will stick with me for a long time to come. One thing that totally blew my preconceived notions out of the water was how I'd assumed that Jordan's "wives" (straight, female friends) would probably drive me to drink. Nope, that honor was taken by Jordan's fragile, woman-child of a mother. THAT. FUCKING. BITCH. She made me want to scream. And push her from the roof of a very tall building. We're talking NYC skyscraper, here, guys. RANT ALERT!!! (view spoiler)[ First, about two minutes into their first day on the food truck, Jordan's mom broke down and quit, appointing Max as Jordan's new employee. Just took her ball and went home, happy as you please. Where her jobless ass proceeded to sit on the couch binging on as many carbs as she could stuff in her lazy-assed face. While her high school-aged CHILD worked his ass off in a smoldering food truck in 110+ degree Arizona summer heat. To save HER goddamn home. And come to find out, the reason that they were about to lose their home was that she had blown through the insurance money from Jordan's dad's death to GAMBLE. Then, when the boys finally made enough money to save the house, we find out she'd gambled away THAT MONEY, too! But, oh, we're not done quite yet. On top of ALL of that, she also took out a $27,000 loan against the food truck, which got repossessed due to lack of her making payments. Because, of course, she'd gambled away THAT MONEY, too! That's over $32,000 in gambling losses in ONE month. :- O So with the food truck gone, Jordan didn't even have the option to still *try* to save their home. Now you can see why she completely infuriated me to the point of wanting to set the woman on fire. Yes, I get that gambling addiction is a disease; however, her allowing it to put your child on the street, HOMELESS? Nope, pull your shit together, lady, and get some help, for his sake, if not your own. (hide spoiler)] I loved Jordan to pieces, but he truly deserved so much more from his worthless excuse for a mother than she ever came close to providing. The angst was moderate to high, and the steam was all off-page, which isn't uncommon for a YA story, but I didn't feel as though on-page steam was needed to cement the romance. I should mention a trigger warning for some toxic masculinity-speak by a few side characters, and a sexual assault flashback, which didn't go into any gruesome details on-page. I found the level of feels to be pretty high between the guys, but in more of a high school kind of way, with the book ending on a very abrupt HFN note, with no future plans spoken aloud at all. I'd rate the book at 4 stars, which would have been higher if we'd have gotten even a tiny two page "5 years later" epilogue, showing the guys still together and happy. ----------------------------------------------- See All My Latest Reads (Review Quick-Links) -----------------------------------------------

  5. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    Hmm I started this book and liked it and then the further I went along the more things started to annoy me. This is more of a 2.5 star rating as some of the grievances are personal. I'm just gonna dot point this out. plot This follows two boys, Jordan and Max. Jordan works on the food truck his parents owned, but when his mum suddenly quits he needs someone to help him run it. Enter, Max, who is hired to work on the truck. The two are complete opposites. Max loves sports, gaming, gym and he hangs Hmm I started this book and liked it and then the further I went along the more things started to annoy me. This is more of a 2.5 star rating as some of the grievances are personal. I'm just gonna dot point this out. plot This follows two boys, Jordan and Max. Jordan works on the food truck his parents owned, but when his mum suddenly quits he needs someone to help him run it. Enter, Max, who is hired to work on the truck. The two are complete opposites. Max loves sports, gaming, gym and he hangs out with "dudebros". He's also Mexican-American. Jordan is quiet and weird, he likes poetry, hangs out with two girls he calls "his wives" and is a hopeless romantic. The two grow closer while the outside drama in their lives explodes - a night Max doesn't want to talk about, Jordan's mum's mental illness and the threat of homelessness, and friendship issues for both. what I didn't like - One of the main characters (Jordan) is probably one of the most annoying and like 'if I knew you in real life I would hate you and not hang out with you' characters I've read about in ... a while. Here is where I'm saying my grievances with this book are personal. Because flaws in characters are good - but oh my god, so many of the things he does are kinda framed as like just 'dorky' or 'weird' and like 'annoying but cute' when I just found them infuriating. overdramatic !! melodrama !! whiny !! Some examples: - He goes outside in the heat and then like, has to get Max to carry him back to the car because he's 'about to die' like ... you were outside for like 10 minutes - Constantly asks Max if he hates him / why he hates him / if he's hanging out with him out of pity / ect. Insecurity is a good flaw to explore but I don't think it was explored well, and it was Extremely annoying. Like, Every Scene They Have Together He Does This - Automatically assumes after one kiss they're dating now ?? - Just whiny. Whines when people try to get him to do new things, sulks and acts passive-aggressive when he's upset about doesn't ever confront/address it, whinges anything they do anything (but wants people to do what he wants all the time). URGH - A self-centred moment that is a spoiler but made me SO ANGRY Anyway I really hated his character like is he a realistic character and do people like this exist? Yes? But he also annoyed me so much and Everything he had going on about him was hardly unpacked with only the tiniest character growth so What Is the Point. I don't usually rant about charaters and books but this felt good some other things I didn't like - Execution: Too much "tell not show" which I know is a cliche but it cost us some good moments. Like, characters saying "oh don't worry we smoothed over that whole fight that happened off page!!" I think is just poor execution? I'd rather see the issues resolved on page in a good moment then just keep it moving like that - Resolutions: I didn't think many of the loose ends were tied up well and the emotional pay-off or moments I was looking for didn't come. A lot of things were set up and poorly or not resolved well. Like one conversation or line doesn't cut it - The representation of Jordan's mums mental illness and how her story ended ... bad taste. I get that can and does happen to kids, but I thought more could have been done with that plotline - "The wives" I hated them and reading about them (u hurt the dog, ur dead to me forever!). They were controlling and rude and it was never addressed right. Max's friends are kinda dumb boys so I expected them to be annoying. - There was just some weird one liners and things that didn't hit right ... kinda just left me like uhhhh that wasn't cool but moving on. There's a lot of causal homophobia, sexism, racism, ableism and while it's not Supposed to be good I was like .... why did you put that there when you didn't need to? and it added nothing to the story?? what I did like - Max! He was a good character and I liked reading about him. I also think we don't see a character like that much which was fun. Much more down to earth and chill and likeable than Jordan - The scenes on the food truck. It was an original concept and I liked following them developing the food truck and the ideas behind it and making it all work - The way rape was handled and the discussions about masculinity/feminity and being able to open up and discuss things. I thought the focus on men and feelings and encouraging the idea that talking about how you feel and your experiences are okay and healthy - Max's mum. legend - the cover - there was parts of the writing I liked, and some good scenes, and some good character work. The first half especially was great and fun and the lead and to their relationship and the slow-burn romance aspects were on point conclusion this was ranty but it's reading rush and I don't have ALL DAY. Anyway, I don't know if I would recommend this. If you're looking for an m/m contemporary romance, there's just been ones out there I think. With less annoying characters. Then again, food truck plot is unique and if you like opposites attract you might like it. tw: a detailed rape scene, representations of bipolar disorder, depictions of racism/homophobia/sexism and ableism.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lulu (the library leopard)

    new review: i read this in two sittings & i liked it a lot! -lots of food & a summer setting -deals with toxic masculinity (i liked how max's character learned to open up & become more vulnerable while jordan learned to stand up for himself & find his inner warrior. we love parallel character development!) -felt authentic & real -would probably appeal to fans of aristotle & dante -even though it's two first-person narrators, the voices were distinct & i didn't have trouble telling them apart -did a g new review: i read this in two sittings & i liked it a lot! -lots of food & a summer setting -deals with toxic masculinity (i liked how max's character learned to open up & become more vulnerable while jordan learned to stand up for himself & find his inner warrior. we love parallel character development!) -felt authentic & real -would probably appeal to fans of aristotle & dante -even though it's two first-person narrators, the voices were distinct & i didn't have trouble telling them apart -did a good job balancing lighter stuff like the romance with the heavier stuff -i think my main criticisms were that i a) i would have liked a bit more nuance to the character of jordan's mom and b) the threat of jordan becoming homeless never felt that real & he seemed unrealistically unworried tw: rape, neglectful parents, racism and homophobia (condemned in-text) old review: can we. like. not one-star books years before they're released with no explanation? that would be cool.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Moony Eliver

    Holy hell. I started reading this at the same time as I was finishing a major work project. I knew I had very little leisure time, but I had to read something. I had a buddy read coming up for this book, so I decided to get a few chapters' head start. Did I consume it, or did it consume me? 22 hours later, I was finished. With both The Music of What Happens and my project. (And Hayley and Hollis are the absolute best for diving in with me earlier than we'd planned.) And then I slept for about 11 h Holy hell. I started reading this at the same time as I was finishing a major work project. I knew I had very little leisure time, but I had to read something. I had a buddy read coming up for this book, so I decided to get a few chapters' head start. Did I consume it, or did it consume me? 22 hours later, I was finished. With both The Music of What Happens and my project. (And Hayley and Hollis are the absolute best for diving in with me earlier than we'd planned.) And then I slept for about 11 hours, because that had been majorly sacrificed to make both happen. Shining star: C H A R A C T E R I Z A T I O N. No one here was flat, all evil, or all good. Neither main character nor any of the people that touched their lives. Flawed, human, vulnerable, courageous, cowardly. The narrative had the kind of hilarity and wit that doesn't feel forced, but is integral to a character's DNA or just part of the human condition. I'm finding myself at a bit of a loss in terms of what to say about the book beyond that. It has elements that put me on the edge of my seat and yet it isn't plot-driven. The evolution of the characters is what this one's about. A snapshot of a pivotal point in two 17-year-old boys' lives. In case it isn't clear, I loved, loved, LOVED this story. I loved that the characters leapt off the page. That their lives and their struggles were real… because the truth is that there's nothing more impactful in fiction than the kinds of trauma that people experience every single day. I loved that Jordan and Max impacted each other in profound ways, but weren't ever a cure. No magic healing here. I loved that there were no cheap and convenient wrap-ups. Mr K, if perchance you happen to see this… is there anything I can do to convince you to write their sequel?? I feel so protective of and invested in these guys, and I need to know what comes next for them. Amazing work, sir. Thank you for this masterpiece.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Teal

    DNF @ 17% I can't do this. I simply do not want to read about parent/child interactions. Regardless of genre. I can tolerate a little bit of it in an otherwise engaging book, but this story is bringing it big-time. Perhaps that's why contemporary YA is often a challenge for me. I prefer YA set in a non-contemporary world, &/or cross-pollinated with a different genre, like fantasy, science fiction or mystery. Parents exist in the YA stories I like -- maybe -- but the focus isn't on the minutiae of DNF @ 17% I can't do this. I simply do not want to read about parent/child interactions. Regardless of genre. I can tolerate a little bit of it in an otherwise engaging book, but this story is bringing it big-time. Perhaps that's why contemporary YA is often a challenge for me. I prefer YA set in a non-contemporary world, &/or cross-pollinated with a different genre, like fantasy, science fiction or mystery. Parents exist in the YA stories I like -- maybe -- but the focus isn't on the minutiae of family life; it's on the adventures/experiences the kids are having as they transition to adulthood and independence. Also, I read for entertainment. A teenager saddled with an immature, irresponsible, borderline mentally ill mother hits too close to home for me to find it entertaining. A shame, because it's well-written. If there ever was a case of "It's not the book, it's me," this is it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    Huh I'm so disappointed? I had expected great things from this book, I liked the idea behind it but not the execution. Some of the things the author wrote really rubbed me the wrong way, I didn't like the way the representation of bipolar disorder was dealt it, and just, one of the MCs is about to lose his house if he doesn't find enough money but he can't seem to be serious two seconds? Dude,,,,,,,,come on. The only thing I appreciated was the way this book talked about how guys don't have to ' Huh I'm so disappointed? I had expected great things from this book, I liked the idea behind it but not the execution. Some of the things the author wrote really rubbed me the wrong way, I didn't like the way the representation of bipolar disorder was dealt it, and just, one of the MCs is about to lose his house if he doesn't find enough money but he can't seem to be serious two seconds? Dude,,,,,,,,come on. The only thing I appreciated was the way this book talked about how guys don't have to 'man up', that it's okay for them to talk about their feelings and be feminine. But yeah,,,,,disappointed. There is also a huge trigger warning for rape. (2.5)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Optimist ♰King's Wench♰

    Can you STAN after only reading one book by an author? 🤔 The Music of What Happens is a coming of age story of two flawed boys who are brilliantly developed by Konigsberg. Maximo is a vivacious jock and Jordan an emo kid that's almost painfully shy. I loved them both, wanted to hug them both multiple times, both made me laugh and broke my heart in equal measures. 17 and living with their mothers; one lost his father to cancer the other to divorce and immaturity. Between them they have one good par Can you STAN after only reading one book by an author? 🤔 The Music of What Happens is a coming of age story of two flawed boys who are brilliantly developed by Konigsberg. Maximo is a vivacious jock and Jordan an emo kid that's almost painfully shy. I loved them both, wanted to hug them both multiple times, both made me laugh and broke my heart in equal measures. 17 and living with their mothers; one lost his father to cancer the other to divorce and immaturity. Between them they have one good parent but I want to stress two things: the subpar parenting plays only a small part in this narrative and Konigsberg executed the reverberations of that inadequate parenting masterfully. What made their characters resonate with me was how they are a nuanced conglomerate of their respective upbringings, both the good and bad. Without showing what they've had to overcome I don't know that I would've been as invested in where they ended up nor appreciated the breadth of their evolvutions. From hooligan do-goodery to food truck miserdom they begin to become a powerful force in each other's lives that hold sway over one another in ways that contradict their heretofore known paradigms, something that was shown repeatedly through frank conversations with their friends, divulging secrets held too long to eventually becoming remarkable pillars of support for each other. I loved going on the journey and watching these two fall in love but what will stand out is the honesty. Honesty is a hard ask of a lot of people especially to the level that is achieved herein. Max can be blunt and sometimes that comes across as harsh but I feel like honesty, even in its crudest form, transcends secrecy and deceit every time. Together they are champions of a truth brigade that pays it forward on page in waves and that made it a very satisfying experience. This isn't a sexy read but it is a profound one that will stick with me for some time to come. Recommend to fans of YA, coming of age, opposites attract and those who enjoy character driven narratives. Trigger warnings for rape, racism and mental illness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ janet ˊˎ˗

    I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH IM IN MY FEELINGS SO I CANT WRITE A PROPER REVIEW BUT LET ME SAY MY FAVORITE PARTS - characters felt so REAL - it’s realistic with the characters !! (Yeah they have actual flaws!) - transported me to summer - made me crave the food - the !! build!! up!! - such a quick read PLEASE PLEASE GIVE THIS A CHANCE YOU WONT REGRET IT! *trigger warning for rape

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hollis

    First of all, to my buddies, Hayley & Moony : we really are mostly the worst at buddy reading. But I love it. A+ job, ladies. "Did you know that, biologically speaking, the rectum is cleaner than the mouth?" "What boy told you that, and what did you let him do to you?" As for the book itself, wow. I have so many thoughts and so many feelings and this book was a lot of things. It's got humour and hilarity, it's raw and full of realness, and I wish I could keep up the alliteration but I just want to First of all, to my buddies, Hayley & Moony : we really are mostly the worst at buddy reading. But I love it. A+ job, ladies. "Did you know that, biologically speaking, the rectum is cleaner than the mouth?" "What boy told you that, and what did you let him do to you?" As for the book itself, wow. I have so many thoughts and so many feelings and this book was a lot of things. It's got humour and hilarity, it's raw and full of realness, and I wish I could keep up the alliteration but I just want to impress upon anyone reading this review that THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS deals with something I've never seen in a YA book (or at least not in this way), much less a m/m, and I thought it was so brilliant and so important. He's a good-looking guy, no question. All bluster and confidence while I'm whatever the opposite of that is. Apologies and embarrassment. Awkwardness and sorrow. First dead in a zombie apocalypse. There is so much growth in these characters and despite how short a time we spend with them they all, including the supporting cast of besties, are more than what they seem. These seventeen year old kids mature in a way that is a natural kind of evolution that isn't a knee-jerk reaction to preparing for the next stage of their lives, and not even a result of the circumstances they find themselves navigating. It's one borne naturally; sloughing off the old, easy, routine and becoming.. more. Or, rather, revealing to each other that they are more. Whilst still maintaining their friendships; nothing lost, everything gained. "We thought you were a hopeless closet case. We were, like, going to help you come out." "I'm hopeless. Just not a closet case." Konigsberg gave the whole story layers. It isn't just two kids running a food truck for the summer, it isn't just an opposites attract meet-cute situation, it isn't just present-but-absent (or even outright terrible) parents, or about racism or even homophobia (of which there's the least amount of all these previously listed things), but it's all of that and so much more. It's about potential, it's about opening up, it's about connection. It's about loss, it's about betrayal, it's about disillusionment. It's the whole deal. "The world will make you vulnerable. If you're acting like you're not, that's what you're doing. Acting." Sometimes it was adorable, sometimes it was side-splitting funny, other times it was awful and heartbreaking, cringey and awkward; sometimes I wanted more seriousness, other times I thought, nope, there's enough of that happening, I'm cool with the lighter tone. Despite some frustrations with some characters and events this book made me feel.. and it's why the ending, for all the good of it, was something of a letdown. But that's probably the biggest negative takeaway I have for you, so, that's not bad. That said, I can't speak for some of the rep in here but I thought, overall, this was a strong read and has a lot to recommend it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)

    "The world will make you vulnerable. If you’re acting like you’re not, that’s what you’re doing. Acting.” WHY ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT READING AND OBSESSING OVER THIS BOOK?! *sobs* This book is amazing, and beautiful, and heartfelt and deserves to be obsessed over! In affirmation of my love for this book: a poem. Roses are red Violets are blue Jordan and Max stole my heart And they’ll steal yours too Another. Roses are red Violet are blue This book is the best Agree or I will kill you Wow, what masterful "The world will make you vulnerable. If you’re acting like you’re not, that’s what you’re doing. Acting.” WHY ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT READING AND OBSESSING OVER THIS BOOK?! *sobs* This book is amazing, and beautiful, and heartfelt and deserves to be obsessed over! In affirmation of my love for this book: a poem. Roses are red Violets are blue Jordan and Max stole my heart And they’ll steal yours too Another. Roses are red Violet are blue This book is the best Agree or I will kill you Wow, what masterful poems (seriously, just don’t look at me). In all seriousness, this book is brilliant, so very important AND ONE OF THE MOST HILARIOUS THINGS I’VE EVER READ. If a book were to kill me it would be this one. I would have died at exactly 1:41 PM on Monday the 8th. Cause of death: choking on an apple from laughing so hard. I seriously could not breathe and I was half concerned for my life, but oh my god it was so funny. Like, my boyfriend came out and asked if I was crying funny. Which I partially was. Everything, E V E R Y T H I N G, about this book was so well-written, developed and balanced. There was so much going on and yet, the whole book had this vibe of a sleepy and extremely hot summer. I felt that no sub-plot was forgotten about or discarded. And while this book made me scream with laughter, swoon and feel seriously uncomfortable for the characters at certain points, it also tackled some really hard subject matter. Things that I have never read from the perspective male character, let alone a teenage boy. And Konigsberg it did so gracefully and beautifully. I felt just as much joy and giddiness as I did sorrow and hurt. Jordan and Max were the sweetest of sweet baby angels. They were funny and awkward, but also so caring and sweet. They had zits, and insecurities and gaggle of hilarious and sometimes suffocating friends. And they were omg-I’m-going-to-die-of-asphyxiation hilarious. I could see them and hear their voices so clearly. They felt so real to me and I loved watching them change and grow throughout their story -- to see their rose colored glasses crack, their walls come down and their perspectives on the world around them shift. They influenced and supported each other but they also changed for themselves and I loved that. This doesn’t only go for Jordan and Max -- all the characters, main and secondary, were so vivid and alive. Every person, situation and rep was written with so much grace and compassion, it amazes me a little bit. They were perfectly imperfect, and I loved them all the more for it. Also, did I mention this book is seriously funny? S E R I O U S L Y F U N N Y S E R I O U S L Y H E A R T F E L T S E R I O U S L Y T H E B E S T Verdict: M A S T E R P I E C E “You have tons of butt shame.” “I just … That’s where poop comes from.” Another buddy read disaster success with my wives: Moons and Holl (DON'T HATE ME GUYS. IT'S A BOOK REFERENCE. SEEEEEE!)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    I really enjoyed this story of two young men on the brink of adulthood, each dealing with a difficult life situation. Being together gets each of them through a hard summer, joking on the surface and coping with tough stuff underneath. Max has a great mom, a tight group of guy friends who know he's gay, and his life seems pretty together. But one night he went home with an older guy he'd just met, and he's not sure even now how to interpret what happened. Did he make choices? Not have choices? Is I really enjoyed this story of two young men on the brink of adulthood, each dealing with a difficult life situation. Being together gets each of them through a hard summer, joking on the surface and coping with tough stuff underneath. Max has a great mom, a tight group of guy friends who know he's gay, and his life seems pretty together. But one night he went home with an older guy he'd just met, and he's not sure even now how to interpret what happened. Did he make choices? Not have choices? Is he too sensitive? All he knows is that even thinking back makes him a bit sick to his stomach. And yet in quiet moments, he can't help remembering. So he's glad of the distraction of meeting a new interesting guy and a summer job that isn't boring office work. The busier he keeps, the less he has to think back... Jordan is a poet, emotional and artistic, living with a mom who has been falling apart since his dad died. His mom tries, but he often feels like he's required to be the adult in the household. She had a gambling problem for a while, and money got very tight, and although she's working the steps and going to meetings, she's not working a good job or earning enough to keep a roof over their heads. She's also prone to bad choices and to mood swings, and depression. Jordan's girl group friends are moral support, but not practical, and more curious than really helpful, and emotionally he's pretty alone. Jordan's only hope for helping make the mortgage before they lose the house is a rickety food truck and trying to sell chicken on the street in a blazing hot Arizona summer. It seems impossible. Until a strange boy named Max, for some reason, seems to like him and is willing to add a practical touch and the ability to actually cook to the "Coq-au-Vinny" truck. As the boys work together to get the food truck off the ground, to sell more than they spend, to not stretch the truth too far, and to survive the heat, they also begin to talk to each other about their lives. Attraction simmers, and gradually they start finding in each other the closeness they both crave. But Max's bad experience lingers in his mind, and Jordan's situation is still precarious, with his mother's mental health a real concern. Getting through the summer will take more than just finding the right chicken recipe to make a buck. I really enjoyed the banter between the guys in this one, and also the quiet moments when there was depth and pain lurking. Coming out is not a big issue here, which is great, as it leaves room for the other real issues these boys are coping with. Addressing things as tricky as consent, sexual assault, addiction, parental neglect and more is a challenge, and Konisberg hit a sweet spot for me, keeping it feeling real and nuanced, emotionally valid but not mined for angst. There are no cardboard villains here, and no one is perfect (although Max is a sweetheart.) The story is pretty well balanced, and while young love is real, it isn't a cure-all. I look forward to a reread. Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[rape, mental illness, parental neglect (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Faith Simon

    This book looks so pure and joyful, doesn't it? Such a gorgeous cover with two boys, clearly happy to be together, a happy story about a slow-burn romance, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. This book is DEPRESSING as all hell. This book will rip your heart out and stomp all over it. So, even though I didn't really know just what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book, I figured the synopsis granted me the guarantee that was the perfect queer, rom-com summer read. It was queer, summer This book looks so pure and joyful, doesn't it? Such a gorgeous cover with two boys, clearly happy to be together, a happy story about a slow-burn romance, right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. This book is DEPRESSING as all hell. This book will rip your heart out and stomp all over it. So, even though I didn't really know just what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book, I figured the synopsis granted me the guarantee that was the perfect queer, rom-com summer read. It was queer, summer, as for rom-com... perhaps? When thinking of what exactly I would classify this book as, I'm a bit stuck. It can be quirky and make your heart squeeze just reading about these two boys separately pining for each other, it can be cute and make you smile and laugh out loud, but for the most part, this book just made me deeply, deeply sad. And it didn't ever really let up. The book's overwhelming theme is quite sad indeed, but sometimes you'll get a tiny break in favour of a cute scene between the two, though there's still that theme hanging over everything that you can still constantly feel, that constant feeling of sadness hanging over you. First off, Jordan is emo as hell. Like, same, but that also entails that he seems to hate himself, quite a bit. One of the things that I loved about this book is the fact that Max doesn't "fix" how Jordan thinks of himself just by having feelings for him, nor does he express a whole lot of pity for him. I really like how he handles when Jordan is overreacting about the situation or about himself. I think the dynamic between these two, especially between the point of barely knowing each other to having feelings for each other, is written so beautifully. I loved how Max is struggling with his identity between being gay and being a stereotypical "dudebro," as Jordan refers to him. He also struggles with ideas of toxic masculinity that he grew up learning because of his dad, and how in order to realize and accept what's happened to him, he has to slowly dismantle these ideas he's grown up believing. I loved this aspect of his character, I felt so sad for him for much he believed he couldn't show certain emotions or do certain things in order to seem "tough" and what his dad's ideas of what tough are. Basically, if you're picking up this book thinking "oh what a cutsie little story," beware. Seriously, this is not for the lighthearted, I promise you.

  16. 4 out of 5

    julia ♥

    It is VERY RARE for a book to make me cry, but this one just did it. 5/5 stars, review to come. TW: rape.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eloise

    I couldn't put this book down. This is the story of two boys who come together to fix a mess of a food truck in the middle of the smoking hot summer, and who find comfort and release with each other after they've both been through some kind of shitty thing. This book deals with pretty heavy topics and I recommend checking trigger earnings before getting into it (if there's a specific thing you're worried about, send me a message). If a couple of things bothered me at first, they were actually beaut I couldn't put this book down. This is the story of two boys who come together to fix a mess of a food truck in the middle of the smoking hot summer, and who find comfort and release with each other after they've both been through some kind of shitty thing. This book deals with pretty heavy topics and I recommend checking trigger earnings before getting into it (if there's a specific thing you're worried about, send me a message). If a couple of things bothered me at first, they were actually beautifully handled by the end (friends being kinda toxic, the ease with which they earned money and the way Jordan spent money quite carelessly considering his situation...). Ultimately what I loved about The Music of What Happens is how it teaches the characters and readers to let go of toxic masculinity and be ok with talking. Accepting that shit happens and you CAN talk. No need to "man up". It also teaches you to drink when it's hot. Unless you have a strong hot person to carry you through the desert to a safe place when you start dying... which... yeah. That happens.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    YA novelist Bill Konigsberg sets up an entertaining Gay Odd Couple premise and goes to some dark and emotionally wrenching places in this powerful book. Arizona high-school students Jordan and Max couldn't be more different. Sure, both are 17-years old and gay (out to their closest friends), but Jordan is a skinny, pimply and socially awkward white guy who likes writing poetry, while Max is a popular, athletic mixed-race (Mexican/Irish) guy who is a typical "dude bro" and enjoys playing video gam YA novelist Bill Konigsberg sets up an entertaining Gay Odd Couple premise and goes to some dark and emotionally wrenching places in this powerful book. Arizona high-school students Jordan and Max couldn't be more different. Sure, both are 17-years old and gay (out to their closest friends), but Jordan is a skinny, pimply and socially awkward white guy who likes writing poetry, while Max is a popular, athletic mixed-race (Mexican/Irish) guy who is a typical "dude bro" and enjoys playing video games. After an intriguing but highly unlikely opening chapter, the two start working in Jordan's dead father's food truck one summer, and gradually strike up a friendship... and then, maybe, something more. Konigsberg tells the story in alternating chapters from each young man's perspective, revealing lots about their worlds. Jordan has a co-dependent relationship with his mom, who suffers from depression, crippling debt and a gambling addiction. He's also the "gay best friend" to two female students, Kayla and Pam. Max, meanwhile, lives with his responsible mother Rosa (his crass divorced dad is pursuing his dream of becoming a stand-up comic), and hangs out with fellow bros Betts and Zay-Rod. The scenes when all six friends get together are comic gems. While the first half is fuelled by Jordan and Max's food truck adventures – don't be surprised if you experience major lemonade cravings – the second digs deep into character and buried secrets. While some of the plot points seem obvious, others feel genuinely surprising. Konigsberg skillfully suggests the little microaggressions lurking beneath conversations: about racial stereotypes, class, gender roles and sexual orientation. The way he depicts something Max is privately dealing with (which, unlike some professional reviewers, I won't spoil) rings especially true; it's an important issue, one that's rarely discussed or dealt with, in fiction or otherwise. Among his other skills, Konigsberg brings the sun-scorched Arizona climate to steamy life. I also appreciate how he doesn't tie everything up in a pretty bow at the end. Life is complicated and messy, and the final pages reflect that. And the way the author weaves the title – drawn from a Seamus Heaney poem – into the story is beautifully done and very affecting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    ★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars Overall I enjoyed this but there were a few aspects that didn't work for me. Maybe younger readers who are more acquainted with what I like to call the 'woke/relevant/hashtag/love-labels' slang, won't feel as disconnected from the banter or conversations occurring in this novel. The premise might not scream originality but the romance and relationship between the main leads was one of the best thing of this novel. It was full of tentative and awkward moments between two very differ ★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars Overall I enjoyed this but there were a few aspects that didn't work for me. Maybe younger readers who are more acquainted with what I like to call the 'woke/relevant/hashtag/love-labels' slang, won't feel as disconnected from the banter or conversations occurring in this novel. The premise might not scream originality but the romance and relationship between the main leads was one of the best thing of this novel. It was full of tentative and awkward moments between two very different people who happen—sort of by chance—to work in the same food truck. Amidst all of the angst and laughter Konigsberg tackles some serious issues. Max, an outgoing 'dude bro' (his own words), is desperately trying to block out a night-out with an older boy. His father is a comedian of sorts who has time and again told Max to 'man up'. So Max bottles up his feelings and decides to do his best to shut out this terrible memory. Lucky for him, he soon finds himself working for Jordan, his polar opposite. Jordan, who is considered a weird-o at school, likes to write poetry and spends time with his mother, a child-like woman recovering from a gambling addiction and still mourning the loss of her husband aka Jordan's dad. In spite of their collective experience of -0, Jordan and Max team up together and trough trial and error they end up coming up with some delicious recipes and clever ads for their food truck. I really enjoyed the scenes where they are bouncing ideas or when they are working side by side in the truck. As the narrative progresses we start seeing a different side to them both. They are able to remain true to their selves (Max is still a 'dude bro' and Jordan is still a 'weirdo') but they also make a positive impact on one another. Max, inspired by Jordan's heartfelt poetry, starts drawing again, and Jordan grows steadily more confident. I also liked that we see just how damaging parents can be. Jordan's mother is selfish and emotionally manipulative while Max's father makes crass remarks and tries to impose his macho mentality on his son. While I hated these two, the narrative doesn't make them into 'bad people' but rather it shows us just how pathetic and oblivious people can be. Now, for what I didn't quite like... (minor rant ahead) First of all: the word 'dude' appears 151 times, 'dude bro' appears 25 times, and even 'basic dude bro' makes a cameo. I get it! Max is a regular dude who hangs out with two other regular dudes. Max's two best friends are exactly what you except them to be: stereotypical straight dudes (one of them is white and incredibly stupid so he wins the prize) who for 90% of the book show 0 depth whatsoever. Their banter was painful to read, the 'oh snap / did you bone' jokes made me actively dislike them. I get it. They supposedly care about one another but being 'dudes' they have to spend all of their time taking the piss out one another. The thing is Max doesn't seem to like how often his two friends (I will call them Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum) resort to stupid sexist, racist, offensive jokes. Given that Max is 1) gay and 2) half-Mexican he already faces those kind of snubs from strangers so why would this otherwise smart and wonderful boy want two clowns as his best-pals? Yes, he also makes jokes at their expenses, especially towards Tweedle-dum who is white, straight and as dumb as they come, but only in response to the shit his good friends come up with. Max complains about how shallow their conversations are...and at the end we are just supposed to believe that dum and dee actually care about Max? Mmh...I still don't get it. Jordan's friends are even worse. They are the female equivalent of dee and dum (this is actually remarked by both Jordan and Max) but while dee and dum are just plain dumb, Jordan's 'wives' (that's how he calls them) are actually cruel towards Jordan. Jordan feels that he has to act like 'the gay best friend' around them...and no wonders why! They go through his closet without his permission, tell strangers (such as Max, dee and dum) about Jordan's 'lack' of sexual experience, speak lightly of his mother's apparent depression and offer no real support to him. These two (I will call them Chip n' Dale) like to use relevant terms such as 'microagression' without any thought or care wherever they understand this term or not. They say stupid things and then say 'like, whatever' and the more I think about it the more they reminded me of The Plastics from Mean Girls. Why does Jordan, with his very peculiar sense of humour and his low self-esteem would want to hang out with such inconsiderate and shallow people? They did a 'gay intervention' where Chip decides to tell Jordan "You're gay, you know"...WTF. Who does she think she is? What gives her the right to tell someone if they are gay or not?! While at one point Dale says "I wish I were a gay guy. You have all of the fun." They constantly try to give Jordan a 'makeover' perhaps in an attempt to mould him into their ideal 'gay best friend'. And worse still, they play this game where they can use their 'card' when they want to say something: Jordan uses his 'queer card', Dale uses a 'racial minority card' and Chip uses her 'white privilege' card....I did not find this funny, not one bit. Nor did it make Chip n' Dale into funny deprecating characters. Both dee & dum and Chip n' Dale only talk about Max and Jordan's sexuality and in Max's case his ethnicity. It's a pity because when Max and Jordan are alone they actually have some genuine and thoughtful discussions about race and sexuality. Why add two sets of dumb characters to the mix? Both Max and Jordan wish they could have a more meaningful relationship with their friends and by the end I'm just supposed to believe that these horrible stupid people are actually caring? Deep? They are horrible friends and I wish that instead of being suddenly told how caring these people actually are, we could have seen Jordan and Max cutting ties with them... The flawed adults show some depth and are credible. This young lot? At best they are caricatures of certain types of people (dee and dum are the supreme no brains 'dude bros' and Chip n' Dale are straight out of questionably bad tv series such Insatiable or worse Heathers 2018). If you don't mind reading the word dude one time too many, and you can move past the most unnecessary side characters in history, well I recommend this book. It tackles difficult topics in a frank and believable manner and the relationship between the two leads is not rushed or filled by over-sentimental declarations. I actually liked that at times Jordan and Max grate on each other's nerves and that they call out each other when they say thoughtless things, and by the end they actually have a real positive effect on one another. But why oh why would they want to stay friends with such a bunch of... Read more reviews on my blog

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ricky

    Trigger warnings for this book: rape, PTSD, abusive parents, mental health issues. This one's a bit of a tough book for me to rate. I've spent a day after finishing up reading the ARC to let my thoughts collect well enough, and I think I'm going to give it a 3.5 and round up to a 4. I can see why it gets a lot of comparisons to Ari and Dante - the Southwestern setting, a certain retro vibe to it (though it's set in the present day but makes a lot of use of 80s music and an ancient food truck), on Trigger warnings for this book: rape, PTSD, abusive parents, mental health issues. This one's a bit of a tough book for me to rate. I've spent a day after finishing up reading the ARC to let my thoughts collect well enough, and I think I'm going to give it a 3.5 and round up to a 4. I can see why it gets a lot of comparisons to Ari and Dante - the Southwestern setting, a certain retro vibe to it (though it's set in the present day but makes a lot of use of 80s music and an ancient food truck), one tough gay boy and one soft gay boy making an unlikely romance... But this book, the first Bill Konigsberg book I've ever read, quickly sets itself apart from the object of its inevitable comparison. It's not so minimalist, and it's told in dual POVs, to seek out a strong balance between, as Konigsberg puts it in his author's note at the start, "the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine." Though there's at least one scene that I read and immediately think, that's gotta be an Ari and Dante homage. The one where Max and Jordan go shirtless and start exploring the hills above Phoenix, foraging for prickly pears. Sweet moments like that make a good portion of the book, but there's also the aforementioned trigger warnings. Both Max and Jordan have traumas and tragedies in their backstories, with Max having been raped by a college guy - and let me tell you, Kevin is one of the most disgusting characters ever put to the page, with a real laundry list of gross acts to his name that I won't get into here - other than to say that, yes, he's racist in addition to being a rapist. This isn't something I'm reading #ownvoices, though I know at least two friends with scarily similar stories to Max's, so take the trigger warnings seriously. (And thanks again, Harry, for giving me them before I picked the book up.) What strikes a little closer to home for me, though, is Jordan's trauma, where he has to put up with a mother who freaks out at the drop of a hat, can't hold down any job, and always, always, always centers herself whenever anyone else's problems - namely, Jordan's - are brought up. Maybe I don't have all the same troubles he does - my home life's more stable, for one thing - but I do see a lot of my own mother in Jordan's, particularly the emotional abuse and constant self-centering. So I'm glad Jordan's mother's scenes were few and far between, because every time those came up, I found myself cringing harder than any scene where Kevin wasn't involved. It's funny, though, that while Jordan's chief issue connects more to my own life than Max's, it was Max to which I related more as a character. But that, I'm thinking, might be intentional on Konigsberg's part, to get the reader to explore their own balance of sacred masculine, sacred feminine, and where on the gender expression spectrum they may fall. Like me, I kinda see myself more as a Simon Spier than a Max or a Jordan, not a dudebro, but not really dabbling in makeovers either. Think of the infamous "Okay, maybe not that gay" scene from Love, Simon. But then, I'm not in a place where I can be as open as I'd like to be, and that doesn't help either. If I were more openly bi, I'd probably also be more open to the prospect of expressing myself a bit more feminine just because I can. Hell, I could even work that into my eventual rockstar image were I to move in with Koda and potentially play bass for ChronoWulf. (I do intend to wear rainbow or bi-pride laces on my Doc Martens on stage if that happens.) Like I said, this book is a tough one, but it's also a short book. So as unmerciful as it can be at times - not unlike that Arizona sun - Max and Jordan's story is pretty well worth the read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ivy Moore

    Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com... Overall, The Music of What Happens felt like a teenage romance actually meant for teenagers, raw and relatable while still staying enjoyable and sweet. Bill Konigsberg has stepped up his game, though I may just be saying that because they finally changed his cover style. Both Jordan and Max were real, whole characters that I’ve rarely encountered in YA or any genre. This book was light but grounded, happy but melancholy, and relevant all a Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com... Overall, The Music of What Happens felt like a teenage romance actually meant for teenagers, raw and relatable while still staying enjoyable and sweet. Bill Konigsberg has stepped up his game, though I may just be saying that because they finally changed his cover style. Both Jordan and Max were real, whole characters that I’ve rarely encountered in YA or any genre. This book was light but grounded, happy but melancholy, and relevant all around. Rating: five rickety food trucks/five For fans of: What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman, Bloom by Kevin Panetta

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angus (Just Angus)

    This is sitting at about a 3.75 for me. Nothing like what I was expecting but I still really enjoyed it. I felt like it could have handled the stigma around HIV a bit better though. Especially as a YA novel. This isn't a light read, there are a lot of deeper undertones. Also some TW to be aware of: rape, PTSD, parental abuse and some mental health issues.

  23. 4 out of 5

    kav (xreadingsolacex)

    disclaimer: i received an arc of this of this novel in exchange for an honest review. this is no way impacted my opinions. content warnings: rape In the author’s note preceding the story, Konisberg writes about his struggle with masculinity versus feminitity as a gay male, and the societal ideals of when it’s “okay” to be gay. This is what Konisberg strives to represent in The Music of What Happens, a young-adult contemporary featuring an opposites attract romance about Max, a Mexican gay disclaimer: i received an arc of this of this novel in exchange for an honest review. this is no way impacted my opinions. content warnings: rape In the author’s note preceding the story, Konisberg writes about his struggle with masculinity versus feminitity as a gay male, and the societal ideals of when it’s “okay” to be gay. This is what Konisberg strives to represent in The Music of What Happens, a young-adult contemporary featuring an opposites attract romance about Max, a Mexican gay athlete with a night he wants to forget and Jordan, a gay poetry writer with an unstable mother. There were parts of this novel I loved, and parts I did not. Firstly, I loved the connection between Max and Jordan, who truly represented a couple where their partner inspired them to be the best version of themselves, something I am always on board with. Their hilarious banter, but their willingness to get serious and supportive when necessary was beautifully represented in this hate-to-love romance. On the other hand, in spite of the emphasis on this beautiful romance, Konisberg did not shy away from celebrating the platonic relationships in this novel. Max and Jordan both have their share of ride-or-die best friends whose banter provides another layer of humor to the story. Another inclusion in Max and Jordan’s relationship was their love of art, which was a beautiful depiction of how art can see into one’s soul and create a bond on a deeper level. I also really enjoyed the way Konisberg included serious themes in this novel. The rape plot line was handled exquisitely (in my opinion). It raised important question rape survivors may have, and really emphasized the point that it is never the survivors’s fault. Konisberg went further to include themes talking about racism and homophobia on a more subtle level, which was also handled well in my eyes. On the other side, there were a few things that lessened my enjoyment of this novel. Firstly, I felt that the novel was written in a format that came off somewhat all over the place. Also, another writing issue I found was that this novel fell into the “tell not show” side, instead of the “show not tell” side. The writing style just fell a little flat. Also, this novel uses a trope that I just can’t stand - a parent with an illness represented in a purely negative light. Whereas I acknowledge that this is a reality for some people, too often in media, unstable and absent parents are the only mental illness representation as opposed to a well-rounded version of representation. Also, in spite of my overall enjoyment of the banter, there were a few moments that just rubbed my the wrong way. Overall, I enjoyed much of this novel and really admired Konisberg’s goal with this story, but I just wanted a bit more from the execution.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I tried listening to this and was not enjoying it. I am gonna DNF it. I am willing to go back to it and read the physical copy, but I don’t have the motivation for now... It just wasn’t attention grabbing, neither did I like the main characters that much. This is sad because I love a good gay romance.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erica Henry

    This is the most powerful story I have ever read and has become my number one favorite book of all time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yna the Mood Reader

    "The world will make you vulnerable. If you're acting like you're not, that's what you're doing. Acting." 📚 Series? No. 📚 Genre? YA LGBT Romance. 📚 Cliffhanger? No. ⚠ Content Warnings:  Homophobia. Sexism. Animal cruelty & jokes. Sexual abuse. Mental disorders. Parental neglect. Parental abuse. Suicidal thoughts. Misogyny. Addiction. Racism. ⚠ Book Tags :  Summer Love. Food Trucks. Very cute meet cute. Family drama. Friendship drama. Fun banter. ⚠ This Book In Emojis: 👨‍❤️‍👨😩🍳🚚💸💸💰💰💖🌈 The "The world will make you vulnerable. If you're acting like you're not, that's what you're doing. Acting." 📚 Series? No. 📚 Genre? YA LGBT Romance. 📚 Cliffhanger? No. ⚠ Content Warnings:  Homophobia. Sexism. Animal cruelty & jokes. Sexual abuse. Mental disorders. Parental neglect. Parental abuse. Suicidal thoughts. Misogyny. Addiction. Racism. ⚠ Book Tags :  Summer Love. Food Trucks. Very cute meet cute. Family drama. Friendship drama. Fun banter. ⚠ This Book In Emojis: 👨‍❤️‍👨😩🍳🚚💸💸💰💰💖🌈 The book is about: The Music Of What Happens is the story of two opposite boys who were brought together by a struggling food truck and how they fell in love within one summer. What drew me in: Like always, this book drew me in through its beautiful cover. I was in the mood for awkward boys and their romancing so I took the chance. Characters & connections: The story revolved around Max & Jordan. Max is your typical jock-ish teen who, at first glance, looks like someone easy going. I felt a connection with him through the *thing* that happened to him and how he was feeling after it happened. On the other hand, Jordan is a shy type writer with lots and lots of insecurities. He is a little too whiny for my liking and there were many times that I was irritated with his POV. There are two friend groups for each of these characters, both of which I did not like. Especially 'the wives' of Jordan. The character that I hated is Jordan's mom. I want to rant about it but I rather not. But, fair warning, she will get on your nerves. Everything I liked: I liked that this story was authentic and real. The chemistry between the two leads is so strong that you can't help but root for them. Also, this read has lots of angst, and if you are like me, a self-confessed angst-seeker, you will absolutely adore this read. More than everything, it was the journey in the food truck that shines through. The interaction, the banter, the secret thoughts, and learning about maturity are the things that I loved in their entire food truck management adventure. Overall thoughts: The Music of What Happens brought me to an emotional rollercoaster. There were times when I was smiling because of how adorable and awkward they were. There were many scenes that broke my heart. There were moments when I was so mad and frustrated for them. Though I cannot speak for most of the representation in this story, what I can commend is that I loved all of the emotions that it made me feel. ☁ THE CRITERIA ☁ 🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐☆☆☆ 🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆ 🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Audiobook Production: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ☁FINAL VERDICT: 3.67/5 📚 Blog ♡ Bookstagram ♡ Facebook ♡ Twitter 📚

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cas

    here’s the thing about this book. whilst it maintained a good message about rape, the ‘definitions’, and what it means (no means no, it can happen to a boy, and the likes) and it did amuse me at times when it was supposed to, this book was jam-packed with so much casual homophobia, toxic masculinity, racism, objectification, and fetishizing mixed with weird-borderline-creepy and unlikable narratives that the rush job of “acknowledging and dealing with” these issues at the very end of the book ma here’s the thing about this book. whilst it maintained a good message about rape, the ‘definitions’, and what it means (no means no, it can happen to a boy, and the likes) and it did amuse me at times when it was supposed to, this book was jam-packed with so much casual homophobia, toxic masculinity, racism, objectification, and fetishizing mixed with weird-borderline-creepy and unlikable narratives that the rush job of “acknowledging and dealing with” these issues at the very end of the book made it so very not worth it for me and sucked out any desire i might have had to rate it higher than two stars. in fact, the entire end felt like when movie producers spend 80 out of 90 minutes introducing characters and need to quickly put an end to it because they didn’t get a sequel so instead of this meaningful and poignant ending, you get a hollow outline of one and then bam, done. and it ruins a movie you could have potentially liked in one fell swoop. on top of this, the characters were so sporadic and random in a very not endearingly quirky way that i spent too much of my time either laughing at the sheer ridiculousness (when i definitely should not have been laughing) or existing in a consistent state of the human embodiment of ???? like i read a fanfic that someone was writing on the fly. i also literally never want to see the word erect again for the rest of my miserable life. ✨ buddy read with lizz

  28. 4 out of 5

    Snjez

    3.5 stars This book was difficult to rate. There were things I really liked about it, but there were also things that I didn't like. The story was heavier than I expected. It touches many issues, which I really appreciated, and I liked the way they were dealt with. Some of them very subtly, but there was definitely a lot to think about. The writing was wonderful. I liked the dialogues, the banter, the funny moments. Jordan's poems were beautiful. Jordan and Max had a great connection. They seemed 3.5 stars This book was difficult to rate. There were things I really liked about it, but there were also things that I didn't like. The story was heavier than I expected. It touches many issues, which I really appreciated, and I liked the way they were dealt with. Some of them very subtly, but there was definitely a lot to think about. The writing was wonderful. I liked the dialogues, the banter, the funny moments. Jordan's poems were beautiful. Jordan and Max had a great connection. They seemed so different at first but turned out to be more alike on a deeper level. I liked how they complemented each other. As for their friends, I didn't care about them at first, they were all too much for me, and it took some time for me to get used to them. Especially the girls, but that might be just me. I often have problems with female characters. One of the things I'm tired of reading about are incompetent parents. And Jordan's mother was the worst. Not only as a parent, but also as a person. I hated her throughout the whole book. Especially after that last stupid thing she did. The ending was ok, but I wish there was as bit more.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Krista Regester

    I guess the rumors are true: opposites do attract. I love that these two teenage boys, Max and Jordan, find each other in the perfect moment. As they both are struggling with different traumas you learn with them, and get to see how each of them process. This is a lovely book, and I can sum it up with one word: hopeful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    yvee

    4.5 stars this book was gorgeous and I loved it with all of my heart wow (tw: rape)

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