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Not My Ruckus

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Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn't normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa's job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It's unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone's secrets. Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to demon attack. When her neighbor Est Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn't normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa's job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It's unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone's secrets. Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to demon attack. When her neighbor Esther kisses her, though, Clare has no ready script. Maybe she could write one, given time she doesn't have. At the moment of that first kiss, Esther's mom is bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Clare can read the signs everyone else is determined to ignore. A murder was only the beginning. Esther needs protection, whether she wants it or not, and Clare won't abandon her friend just because things are hard. Maybe one day she'll be forgiven for doing what's needed.


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Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn't normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa's job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It's unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone's secrets. Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to demon attack. When her neighbor Est Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn't normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa's job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It's unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone's secrets. Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to demon attack. When her neighbor Esther kisses her, though, Clare has no ready script. Maybe she could write one, given time she doesn't have. At the moment of that first kiss, Esther's mom is bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Clare can read the signs everyone else is determined to ignore. A murder was only the beginning. Esther needs protection, whether she wants it or not, and Clare won't abandon her friend just because things are hard. Maybe one day she'll be forgiven for doing what's needed.

30 review for Not My Ruckus

  1. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    Tragically beautiful and completely fuuucked up! The author says the MC is inspired by his own life; I am terrified to ask if the events were too. A fantastic debut, from a twisted mind. I can't wait to see what else is rattling around in Chad's brain. Much love to Booksprout & Chad Musick for my DRC. Tragically beautiful and completely fuuucked up! The author says the MC is inspired by his own life; I am terrified to ask if the events were too. A fantastic debut, from a twisted mind. I can't wait to see what else is rattling around in Chad's brain. Much love to Booksprout & Chad Musick for my DRC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jin

    We accompany a teenage girl through her life and her family story in the USA around 1980. Clare, our main character, is spectacular: she is strong, resilient and knows what is right and wrong. The author discloses in the end that Clare is autistic and epileptic but I already suspected so while reading the book. So, kudos to the author for doing a great job in storytelling! In general, the story was not easy. Since it's from the view of a 14 years-old girl, I had to read between the lines which I We accompany a teenage girl through her life and her family story in the USA around 1980. Clare, our main character, is spectacular: she is strong, resilient and knows what is right and wrong. The author discloses in the end that Clare is autistic and epileptic but I already suspected so while reading the book. So, kudos to the author for doing a great job in storytelling! In general, the story was not easy. Since it's from the view of a 14 years-old girl, I had to read between the lines which I really enjoyed much. But this was not what it made it difficult; you are confronted with abuse of minors, religious wrong-doings and other things which are terrible. But Clare just mentions all these bad incidents as if it's a normal thing. This definitely broke my heart because she was being so indifferent about her own state and there was no adult who cared enough. But maybe this was why she stayed strong and survived all the incidents. Even though I have enjoyed this book a lot, I can imagine that this book might not be for everyone because of the way it's told and also because of the rather heavy themes coming up in the story. Nevertheless, if you like to read family dramas with thrilling moments, you will love this one. **I received a free copy of this book via BookSirens for leaving an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.**

  3. 4 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

    OUT OF FIVE RATING: 4.5 stars PLOT: 4 CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: 4 WRITING: 3 INTENSITY: 4 ROMANCE: 3 Thanks to Netgally and the Publishers for the ARC Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, incest, forced prostitution, gun violence, food derivation, miscarriage, exploitation of children, ableism, murder, domestic violence, homophobia, inner homophobia, etc., some explicit and some implied. content warnings: child abuse, sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse, religious OUT OF FIVE RATING: 4.5 stars PLOT: 4 CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: 4 WRITING: 3 INTENSITY: 4 ROMANCE: 3 Thanks to Netgally and the Publishers for the ARC Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, incest, forced prostitution, gun violence, food derivation, miscarriage, exploitation of children, ableism, murder, domestic violence, homophobia, inner homophobia, etc., some explicit and some implied. content warnings: child abuse, sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse, religious trauma and abuse, violent homophobia, child death, and homicide. Rep: Autistic and epileptic MC, lesbian(?)Love interest, asexual MC. First off, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ??!!!!! Huh???!!!! Did I miss a memo? Cause, I thought this was a fluffy Sapphic romance but no, instead I got a twisted, sickening but interesting mystery with great rep and an astounding plot. The story follows our MC, Clare who is a tomboy with a disability. She's autistic and epileptic as well. She navigates her seemingly conservative Christian household who believe that her seizures are signs of demonic possessions whilst trying to understand her love for her neighbor Esther. Things begin to pick up when Esther’s mom, Ruth gets into an accident or did she?? Clare decides to get to the bottom the whole situation and in the process, mysteries are uncovered and things take a dark turn. I liked the writing style. I think there was a bit of character development but the plot pacing stood out for me, I didn’t like the romance due to the lack of tension and development but I didn’t hate it either. Don’t think this book is fluffy, its way dark and the characters are somewhat twisted. However, this is an own voices book so I can’t fault the representation. I loved this book so much! Not a fan of the romance but I enjoyed the mystery and the journey of self – discovery for Clare. I’ll recommend this but I advice you check out the content warnings which the author put in the book. THIS BLEW MY MIND AND HAD ME TRYING TO CATCH MY BREATH AFTER READING IT! I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR. Pre review thoughts An arc on Netgalley even though it was on "read now". This is so fucked! I feel like I'm reading an enigma or something??

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kemora

    Update ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️This book is officially available on multiple platforms and it needs your love.❤️❤️❤️ I just reopened this book and I am on page 40 and I am already being slayed 😭😭😭😭. Please give this book a chance to break your heart and mend it again. Let me start by saying this was a powerful debut novel. Chad encapsulated the struggles between disability, abuse, neglect and faith. Clare is by far the bravest young woman I have ever had the pleasure to read on the page. Many may begin to read t Update ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️This book is officially available on multiple platforms and it needs your love.❤️❤️❤️ I just reopened this book and I am on page 40 and I am already being slayed 😭😭😭😭. Please give this book a chance to break your heart and mend it again. Let me start by saying this was a powerful debut novel. Chad encapsulated the struggles between disability, abuse, neglect and faith. Clare is by far the bravest young woman I have ever had the pleasure to read on the page. Many may begin to read this book and think that she is too naive. However, the fact that she is and is always willing to save someone in need is refreshing. From the very first page Clare isn’t even focused on her own struggles she is always worried about her friend Esther. All the while she is suffering in her own home and not once does she care about anything but saving Esther. Her selflessness is what kept me through the entire story. The hardest thing to get onto page is the mind of a teenage girl especially one who lives in a home where religion is the solution. And this is done perfectly. That being said I was raised in a Muslim home and particular things were left to god a lot. Do not get me wrong prayer can heal many things ,but then comes science. What people don’t understand is that maybe God made these men and women smart enough to create these things to help. Not that god will cure it with prayer. The reason so many readers struggled with this read is because this story was raw and the details were brutal. As a society we ignore the things that scare us because ,it’s easier to pretend it isn’t happening. Clare is in your face and she is a fighter and it was fabulous reading her journey into womanhood. 😩 On another note this book made me cry ugly tears. So much so that I called my friend in the middle of the night. Screamed at her and said I was dangerously in love with a 14 year old badass from a book. This was the paragraph that did it. -“You let her go out at night?” I hadn’t meant it to sound so much like an accusation. He wasn’t exactly Colonel Mustard, caught red-handed with a pipe in the kitchen. But I would’ve never dared leave on my own, without permission. Gunnar flinched, and I regretted asking. Esther had her own secrets, of course. We’d only been best friends for a handful of days, but I felt betrayed anyway. I was surrounded by secrets, drowning in them, and nobody had taught me how to swim this river. “Do you know where she might have gone?” I received an advance review copy BookSirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Not My Ruckus in exchange for an honest review. This book is hauntingly stunning. Following 14 year old Clare who lives with her abusively religious mother after she's kissed by her female best friend, Not My Ruckus is heavy in its darkness. Clare's perspective is heartbreakingly innocent and it breaks you as a reader while you slowly figure out what's really going on beyond the excuses she gives her loved ones time and time again. I don't want to Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Not My Ruckus in exchange for an honest review. This book is hauntingly stunning. Following 14 year old Clare who lives with her abusively religious mother after she's kissed by her female best friend, Not My Ruckus is heavy in its darkness. Clare's perspective is heartbreakingly innocent and it breaks you as a reader while you slowly figure out what's really going on beyond the excuses she gives her loved ones time and time again. I don't want to say much more because almost everything about this is a spoiler, but TW for pretty much all forms of abuse. Clare is also written to have both epilepsy and autism, neither of which I have so I can't speak to how well or poorly they're portrayed. The writer has both though so I'm sure it was well handled. From a representation standpoint, neither of which are ever named so not all readers may catch onto the autism aspect (I personally didn't) but Musick makes his intentions clear in the author's note.

  6. 5 out of 5

    camelcasepls

    [I read a pre-release copy] This is one of the most difficult books I've read, but it was worth every sentence. I believe that at its core, Not My Ruckus is a book about human resilience. If you're neurodivergent/disabled and grew up without any acceptance of who you are, this book is going to be especially cathartic. For everyone else, you get an in-depth look of how someone in that situation navigates it, and it's a very educational and moving experience. [I read a pre-release copy] This is one of the most difficult books I've read, but it was worth every sentence. I believe that at its core, Not My Ruckus is a book about human resilience. If you're neurodivergent/disabled and grew up without any acceptance of who you are, this book is going to be especially cathartic. For everyone else, you get an in-depth look of how someone in that situation navigates it, and it's a very educational and moving experience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Hughes

    I am not even sure where to begin with this book. The era feels like a time of my childhood. The real feeling that this is really happening in our world every day makes it a heart wrenching read. As we follow the story of two young girls that are dealing with way too much adult stuff. As most young girls, at this age are just trying to figure out who they are, and then add bad parenting to the mix you have an amazing read. The author does an amazing job at describing the scenes so you can actual I am not even sure where to begin with this book. The era feels like a time of my childhood. The real feeling that this is really happening in our world every day makes it a heart wrenching read. As we follow the story of two young girls that are dealing with way too much adult stuff. As most young girls, at this age are just trying to figure out who they are, and then add bad parenting to the mix you have an amazing read. The author does an amazing job at describing the scenes so you can actually feel it. As the story unfolds and the pieces come together it is not only eye opening, but heart felt. My heart breaks for these two girls. I wanted to take them and protect them. This story would not be for everyone, but I believe is well worth a read! Enjoy!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nathália

    Thank you, BookSirens for sending me an eARC of Not My Ruckus, by Chad Musick, in exchange for my honest review. When I requested this on BookSirens I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This is a coming of age story, set in the USA around the 1980s, following a 14-year old named Clare. We see our main character growing up, finding a best friend in her neighbour Esther, questioning her family and her beliefs, but we do so in a completely twisted way. This book is not for the faint of heart Thank you, BookSirens for sending me an eARC of Not My Ruckus, by Chad Musick, in exchange for my honest review. When I requested this on BookSirens I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This is a coming of age story, set in the USA around the 1980s, following a 14-year old named Clare. We see our main character growing up, finding a best friend in her neighbour Esther, questioning her family and her beliefs, but we do so in a completely twisted way. This book is not for the faint of heart. Its contents are graphic, brutal, and made it so that, by the end, I wasn't even sure if I'd enjoyed it or not. Clare's surrounded by bad people who do horrible things, and at times I felt so sad for the characters being put in those situations I couldn't carry on reading. The story's narrated by our main character, who is one of the most resilient teenagers I've ever come across. She's fierce and fiercely loyal, and the fact that she's also the narrator makes you go on this journey alongside her, and be fully thrown into her emotions, but also makes you have to read between the lines. The author never fully gave you something, unless Clare specifically found that out and I loved this. It leads to a very heartbreaking read, knowing things the character doesn't fully realise yet, and it made me even sadder when she eventually figured it out. The writing was my favourite part of this book. Even though it's a very heavy story, you want to keep reading because it just sucks you in. The characters feel real, and you know that the horrible things they do are still all too present in today's society. The content warnings for this book are endless and the fact that most of the subjects this book deals with are very real and recurring made my heartache not only for our main characters but mostly for everyone out there struggling with these things. Throughout the book, all I wanted was for Clare and Esther to have a happy ending and maybe give them a hug. As I said, I genuinely have no idea how I feel about this book. It's really good and well written, but I can't possibly say I enjoyed it. It wasn't an enjoyable read, it was a thoughtful one. Because as much as you know that this story could be absolutely real (the author himself said he pulled a lot of inspiration from his own personal life), it's completely different to face it from the victim's perspective. The main character suffers from epilepsy and autism (the latter is never stated in the book, but the author makes it clear on the "Author's note"). Musick is both autistic and epileptic, and although I don't have any personal experience with either, this makes me believe that the representation is accurate. There are content warnings for child abuse and neglect (often related to religion), childhood sexual assault, gun violence, food deprivation, self-harm, teen pregnancy, miscarriage, exploitation of children, domestic violence, forced prostitution, arson, mutilation and maiming, incest, ableism, medical neglect, murder, and the author doesn't shy away from any of these, even if they're only implied. I think that if you like to go through emotional and twisted journeys with your characters, this is definitely the book for you. It's one that'll make you think and I can see the story popping back up in my mind for years to come.

  9. 4 out of 5

    “Maybe you can be so broken that hope and defeat sound the same.” TWs: lesbophobic slurs, homophobia, lesbophobia, internalized homophobia, violent homophobia, child abuse (violent), child neglect, emotional abuse, domestic abuse, parental death, religious trauma, car accident, child death, rape, rape from a family member, pedophilia, incest, ableist slurs, murder, child sexual assault, victim blaming, gun violence, depersonalization, forced abortion, body shaming, fatphobia, ableism, racism, age “Maybe you can be so broken that hope and defeat sound the same.” TWs: lesbophobic slurs, homophobia, lesbophobia, internalized homophobia, violent homophobia, child abuse (violent), child neglect, emotional abuse, domestic abuse, parental death, religious trauma, car accident, child death, rape, rape from a family member, pedophilia, incest, ableist slurs, murder, child sexual assault, victim blaming, gun violence, depersonalization, forced abortion, body shaming, fatphobia, ableism, racism, age gap (14/15 year old and a 17/18 year old), underage drinking, implied miscarriage, suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation, nonconsensual drug use. Review discusses some of the aforementioned trigger warnings. This was great. The story was very heavy (check trigger warnings, I probably missed some), but the resilience of the main character, was almost inspirational. The book follows a fourteen year old Clare through the events of a year as she unravels the secrets of her past and how her family connects with the girl across the street, Esther. Every new thing that was uncovered was both mind boggling and horrifying. The one thing that you can count on is Clare’s love for her friend (or so she always says). She’s willing to do anything to protect her from the people who abuse her. “When other people have hurt you, there’s nothing they can really do to help you heal. Healing is a matter of forgiving them and then seeking forgiveness for having been angry. Some people make that easier than others.” Clare is autistic and epileptic (this is, I believe, the Own Voices part of the story). I will not speak to how either of these are represented because it is not my place, but how the other characters react saddens me. Clare’s mother, especially, is filled with so much bigotry and ignorance that all she tries to do about it is pray, instead of also getting medical help. (I’m not trying to say that religion is the problem here, rather that the way her mother hides behind her religion to treat her kids the way she does is despicable.) Being that it takes place in Texas in the early 1980s, there is a lot wrong with how different things are treated, though whether that is the fault of the author is not up for me to decide. “In some ways, scared mama was worse than holy mama.” Clare constantly had to balance how she knows she should feel (hurt, angry) with everything she learned from her religious mother (forgiveness, even when they don’t deserve it). In the end, I’m not entirely sure whether she succeeded or not, but Gd, I hope she’s well. Clare is a character I don’t think I’ll be able to forget. She’s so persistent and good, even if she doesn’t think she is. She went through so much, and through all of it, she still stood by Esther, even if staying away might have been better for her. “I wished I knew what to say to make him leave her alone. She was mine.” Through it all, it truly is a story of pure love that two teenage girls have for each other. Don’t take this as it will be light and happy; because it’s not. It’s complicated and messy, just like the characters in it. All in all, I’m glad I read this book. “The same hands that had broken me with anger, and now broke me with kindness. People are complicated.”

  10. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    What a mind-blowing piece of writing this is! And yet, I openly say right at the start of this review, it’s not for everyone. Fourteen year old Clare knows that she’s not “normal”. She’s a tomboy, she carries a gun and knows how to use it too, and she’s obsessively protective about her best friend-cum-neighbour Esther. The day Esther kisses Clare, the latter knows that Esther is the one for her. However, Esther soon begins a relationship with Clare’s brother Frank. Clare finds herself hurt but s What a mind-blowing piece of writing this is! And yet, I openly say right at the start of this review, it’s not for everyone. Fourteen year old Clare knows that she’s not “normal”. She’s a tomboy, she carries a gun and knows how to use it too, and she’s obsessively protective about her best friend-cum-neighbour Esther. The day Esther kisses Clare, the latter knows that Esther is the one for her. However, Esther soon begins a relationship with Clare’s brother Frank. Clare finds herself hurt but still decides that she has to protect Esther at any cost, especially as the problems in her life seem to increase steadily. Adding to the complications in this twist of relationships is Clare’s psychotic father (a banker on the face of things, but with deep sinister secrets), her zealotic mother (who uses her faith to ignore reality to the point of misunderstanding her own flesh and blood and giving them “Jesus love” when needed) and Esther’s uncouth father Gunner (a garage owner with secrets of his own.) Not My Ruckus has a weird, darkly disturbing plot that keeps spiralling into deeper levels of angst and depravity with each subsequent chapter. As literary fiction, it does complete justice to the genre. Many reviews seem to have missed out on the genre of the book and hence rated the book down because of its writing style. Potential readers would do well to remember that the flow in literary fiction is different from general/contemporary fiction. There are so many lines that hit you hard with their depth that I wish I wasn’t hearing the audio version. Of course, it’s not an easy book to go through. Sensitive readers would do better to stay away as various kinds of abuse find their way into the plot. I can write a whole para of trigger warnings for this book. (Thankfully, no animal abuse; that’s my Achilles’ heel.) The characters are memorable for very different reasons as against your typical fictional characters. Each character has such distinct darkness within their minds that you can’t help but wonder what drives or triggers them. They won’t leave your head even after you are done with the book. For a male author to write about female characters so remarkably is a huge deal. If I liked it so much, why am I rating it lower? Two reasons. One: I wasn’t happy with the ending. Not the plot itself but the way it was written. The shifts in the story were too abrupt in the last couple of chapters and took away from the rest of the book. 0.25 stars docked for this. Two: the narrator. The fact that I have completed this book in spite of her monotonous drone in my ears speaks highly for the merit of the book. I wish I didn’t have to say this but at least 2-3 times, it sounded like she was yawning while continuing to read. A whole star docked because of this demerit in the audio version. Thank you, NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC, for the Advanced Audio Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun. Follow me on Instagram: RoshReviews

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cj

    Not My Ruckus takes place in the 1980s and follows 14yr old girl who is being raised in an extremely religious household in the South (USA). The MC is incredible, she is strong and brave and her character will stick with you long after you finish reading. The abuse she faces, and how she doesn’t even recognise it as such is truly heartbreaking. This novel touches on many topics such as being queer in a small religious town in the 80s, having an undiagnosed disability and abuse of all kinds. The Not My Ruckus takes place in the 1980s and follows 14yr old girl who is being raised in an extremely religious household in the South (USA). The MC is incredible, she is strong and brave and her character will stick with you long after you finish reading. The abuse she faces, and how she doesn’t even recognise it as such is truly heartbreaking. This novel touches on many topics such as being queer in a small religious town in the 80s, having an undiagnosed disability and abuse of all kinds. The further you get into the story, the more disturbing it becomes as you find out just how rampant the violence and abuse is. I wasn’t sure what to expect but Not My Ruckus is a beautifully written and super impactful story that will stay with me for a long time. Chad Musick has a real talent and I would love to read more of his work. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia McDonald

    This book captivated me from the first page - I couldn’t put it down. I read it in a single day. I wouldn’t say it’s heartwarming, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The characters are very real, particularly to me; I connected to both main girls in a personal way. I ached for them and hoped for the best possible outcome throughout the book. By the end I found myself only wanting more. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Océane

    I really liked this book. At first I was a little sceptical because usually I don’t really like and read books where the story happen in the past. But in this one it doesn’t bother me at all, while reading this book, I was so caught in the story that I didn’t really realize it was in the past. One of the best things in this book is that there is, if I can say, two different plots, and it makes the book even more interesting and absolutely not boring. I read it very fast and I was totally absorbe I really liked this book. At first I was a little sceptical because usually I don’t really like and read books where the story happen in the past. But in this one it doesn’t bother me at all, while reading this book, I was so caught in the story that I didn’t really realize it was in the past. One of the best things in this book is that there is, if I can say, two different plots, and it makes the book even more interesting and absolutely not boring. I read it very fast and I was totally absorbed in the story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    PM

    Chad is a gifted and compelling writer. Every scene leaps off the page and the character development is vivid. I appreciated that the book is approachable for all audiences.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Kay

    Receiving an ARC of Not My Ruckus was one of the most fortunate book acquisitions of my year (thanks, BookSirens!), and that’s quite a feat as I’ve read my way through the entire year as a means of mental and emotional survival. I’m sure it’s mentioned elsewhere, but this is definitely an #ownvoices work. Musick’s first-hand experience with autism and epilepsy add a whole extra layer to his character’s experience of the world. As a neurodivergent reader, it feels like finally landing on a perfect Receiving an ARC of Not My Ruckus was one of the most fortunate book acquisitions of my year (thanks, BookSirens!), and that’s quite a feat as I’ve read my way through the entire year as a means of mental and emotional survival. I’m sure it’s mentioned elsewhere, but this is definitely an #ownvoices work. Musick’s first-hand experience with autism and epilepsy add a whole extra layer to his character’s experience of the world. As a neurodivergent reader, it feels like finally landing on a perfectly clear radio station after ages of static. Finally: a character who seems to understand the world in the way I do! There are complex topics relating to trauma throughout the story, so readers with any particular sensitivities will be grateful to know that Musick includes an extensive disclaimer going into what will be discussed. Our protagonist’s resilience and earnest desire for connection is so painfully relatable and drives the direction of her story. After a lifetime of loneliness, a sudden friendship with a neighbor changes everything. Rather than sidestepping difficult truths she encounters on her journey, she confronts them. Even when this means accepting that family members aren’t the people she assumed they were. She continues making hard choices and forging her own path regardless of what that means for the ease of her life, especially in regards to keeping those she loves safe. This story is a gift and I could easily go on talking about it. (But I’ve tried not to spoil anything so you can experience it as authentically as possible.) Go. Read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caroline | howdidthatbookend

    Read my full review here: https://www.howdidthatbookend.com/not... TW: Just about every kind of abuse. My review may be triggering to those who have experienced sexual abuse. You know the book you’ve just finished was amazing when you keep thinking about it long after it’s over. Clare is one of the most well-written characters I’ve read in a long time, and I can’t stop thinking about her! She is brave, strong, and determined to protect her chosen family. She also is heartbreakingly innocent, in a Read my full review here: https://www.howdidthatbookend.com/not... TW: Just about every kind of abuse. My review may be triggering to those who have experienced sexual abuse. You know the book you’ve just finished was amazing when you keep thinking about it long after it’s over. Clare is one of the most well-written characters I’ve read in a long time, and I can’t stop thinking about her! She is brave, strong, and determined to protect her chosen family. She also is heartbreakingly innocent, in a way that you have to read the book to understand. I love how Chad depicts the struggle of living with an undiagnosed disability. The plot was interesting, and I was eager to find out what had happened to Esther’s mother. It was heartbreaking how Clare spoke about her parents’ abuse as if it was totally normal. I can definitely pick out things from my childhood that I thought were normal until I grew up more--everyone can, but usually it’s not this dark! I loved the author’s method of show-not-tell writing and the way he portrayed Clare’s innocence. I would read a line and think, “wait, did I read that right?” and as the book progressed I realized my assumptions were correct. Clare described the noise of a zipper as “the sound of papa” which really gave me chills. I appreciated the representation in this book. This was my second novel in a row with a neurodiverse MC, which I love to see. Esther is queer, and Clare is questioning. Not My Ruckus takes place in the religious south in the 80s, and important themes of homophobia are discussed. Hats off to Chad Musick for an absolutely chilling, beautifully written debut. I’m already looking forward to his next book. Not My Ruckus will be available this week on February 16th. Many thanks to Chad for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an audio ARC through NetGalley! unfortunately this book seemed to hold a lot of promise, but i didn't enjoy a single moment of it even as i plowed through. the premise promised a touching queer relationship despite hardships, but i found it completely lacking in meaning and purpose. the queer rep felt awkward and clunky and many of the plot points seemed to fall flat or have no reasoning in the greater scope of the book. and while i unders thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an audio ARC through NetGalley! unfortunately this book seemed to hold a lot of promise, but i didn't enjoy a single moment of it even as i plowed through. the premise promised a touching queer relationship despite hardships, but i found it completely lacking in meaning and purpose. the queer rep felt awkward and clunky and many of the plot points seemed to fall flat or have no reasoning in the greater scope of the book. and while i understand when a story needs to uphold stereotypes or slurs to hold true to what the world is like throughout history, i found these elements too repetitive without being addressed or shown to be harmful. this book was just not for me :(

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Eades

    Thank you to Books items for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. This was a refreshing and brutally honest read. The characters are complex and Lilac is a perfect representation of a 14 year old girl child n her situation. There is a lot going on in this book, and yet the author manages to keep the reading light and the events clear. Lilac and Esther are two girls drawn to each other by some kind of fate to help one another cope with the abuse they face. Each handles things differ Thank you to Books items for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. This was a refreshing and brutally honest read. The characters are complex and Lilac is a perfect representation of a 14 year old girl child n her situation. There is a lot going on in this book, and yet the author manages to keep the reading light and the events clear. Lilac and Esther are two girls drawn to each other by some kind of fate to help one another cope with the abuse they face. Each handles things differently and I loved how the author mixed up their feelings and made them complicated. The characters reflect a mixture of guilt, revenge and sorrow and they force the reader to consider their own feelings and really consider the grey areas between good and evil. Just when you think you have a grip on whether a character is good or bad, something happens to upset it all. The book also delves into the very tricky topic if the cycle of abuse and whether this can justify a person's actions. This is an import read and gripping one. Told simply from the view of a 14 year girl, we are plunged head first into a murky world of love, hate and guilt and all that's in between.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid Tiffe

    This may be a difficult book for many readers as the storyline can be disturbing at times. It was one of those books that often had me cringing but also had me keep reading to see what would happen next. The story is told through the voice of teenager Clare who through perseverance, resilience and even optimism manages to overcome what life has dealt her. The story unfolds with each chapter and you will find yourself reading between the lines. Clare's relationships are fraught with misunderstandi This may be a difficult book for many readers as the storyline can be disturbing at times. It was one of those books that often had me cringing but also had me keep reading to see what would happen next. The story is told through the voice of teenager Clare who through perseverance, resilience and even optimism manages to overcome what life has dealt her. The story unfolds with each chapter and you will find yourself reading between the lines. Clare's relationships are fraught with misunderstandings and emotion as we discover more with each page. Often you may wonder who is the real villain in the story and who is being manipulated. "Not My Ruckus" includes religion, disability, violence and many types of abuse and is not for the lighthearted. If you like a well written gut wrenching drama give this book a try. I received an advance review copy from BookSirens for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ivy Tara Blair

    Lilac will always be with me As the audiobook narrator for this book, I can say with utter sincerity and experience, this book is stunning, beautiful, harrowing, liberating, and honest to itself and to the reader in a way very few books are. Every character is dimensioned, the place and time are vivid, the prose is layered and complex, and yet feels smooth and unencumbered. There is abuse (sparingly described), but the story is not there to abuse the reader - the story is the story of two girls an Lilac will always be with me As the audiobook narrator for this book, I can say with utter sincerity and experience, this book is stunning, beautiful, harrowing, liberating, and honest to itself and to the reader in a way very few books are. Every character is dimensioned, the place and time are vivid, the prose is layered and complex, and yet feels smooth and unencumbered. There is abuse (sparingly described), but the story is not there to abuse the reader - the story is the story of two girls and the ways they find to live and thrive and become themselves - THAT is the story. The story is of personal liberation, of growing into agency over one's own life. This is the kind of book, that even after it wrings you out like a dishrag, you will thank it for coming into your life. And you will read it again. And every time you do, you will find ever more richness in the detail and love it was written with.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kerry-Ann Clarke

    This story was quite heavy, unlike any book that I have ever read before; however, it was an important story that had to be told. A story that brings awareness to situations of child abuse, family abuse, and experiences of teenagers outside of one's sphere. The story was written beautifully, with a lot of suspense, and built up quite well to the end. It also left the reader yearning to know more about the characters and could be easily developed into a Not My Ruckus Part 2. Throughout the chapter This story was quite heavy, unlike any book that I have ever read before; however, it was an important story that had to be told. A story that brings awareness to situations of child abuse, family abuse, and experiences of teenagers outside of one's sphere. The story was written beautifully, with a lot of suspense, and built up quite well to the end. It also left the reader yearning to know more about the characters and could be easily developed into a Not My Ruckus Part 2. Throughout the chapters, the reader may feel a lot of confusion and emotions, but somehow I believe that is exactly what the reader wanted, to connect with the characters, become a part of the story, and experience each moment as it is written. I highly recommend this book, I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kiersten

    This book was extremely difficult to read, so I want to start by offering content warnings for child abuse, sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse, religious trauma and abuse, violent homophobia, child death, and homicide. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about. That’s my own fault - I only read the first half of the synopsis, enough to know that it was about a teenage girl questioning her sexuality after being kissed by her best friend. While that is the This book was extremely difficult to read, so I want to start by offering content warnings for child abuse, sexual assault and sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse, religious trauma and abuse, violent homophobia, child death, and homicide. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about. That’s my own fault - I only read the first half of the synopsis, enough to know that it was about a teenage girl questioning her sexuality after being kissed by her best friend. While that is the start of the book and a theme present throughout the story, that doesn’t really tell you what the book is about. If you’re planning to read this book, I would strongly recommend reading the full synopsis and list of content warnings. Not My Ruckus takes place in early-1980s Texas. Fourteen year old Clare has epilepsy and autism, both undiagnosed, and a mother who believes her seizures are the work of the devil. She and her best friend, Esther, both live in wildly abusive households next door to one another - Clare with her parents and older brother, and Esther with her father. The book opens with Esther kissing Clare just before learning that their mothers have been in a car accident together, which resulted in the death of Esther’s mother. From there, the book follows both girls - and in particular, Clare - for about a year over the summer and during their first year of high-school. The girls lean heavily on one another and, at times, Clare leans on her brother Frank for support as they learn things about their parents, themselves, and their relationships to one another. I think the most difficult part of reading this book was that Clare could recognize the abuse her friend was experiencing, but not that she was. As difficult as Not My Ruckus was to read (and I want to stress that many of the content warnings listed above were not simply references or allusions to, but were described in various levels of detail), I did enjoy it. Musick’s writing was extremely powerful, and each of the characters felt incredibly real. There were several parts where I had to put the book down and walk away, while others left me filled with actual dread and a desperate need to know what happened next. The ending in particular was perfectly executed, in my opinion. In a short note at the end of the book, Musick explains that Clare’s character and several of the events which take place in the book are in some part based on his own childhood, though he clarified that no one character beyond Clare is fully based on any living person. I think this personal experience likely added to how powerful this book was. Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Potterhead Aanya

    Not a huge fan of this book, I didn't enjoy this book much, thank you netgalley for a copy of this. My rating ⊱ ─ {⋅. ✯2.5 stars✯ .⋅} ─ ⊰ Not a huge fan of this book, I didn't enjoy this book much, thank you netgalley for a copy of this. My rating ⊱ ─ {⋅. ✯2.5 stars✯ .⋅} ─ ⊰

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsay

    Trigger warning: domestic violence, gun violence, sexual assault, rape. Oooff! This book had all the feels, however mostly the kind of feels that make you question humanity. It was a haunting and beautifully written story about a young girl, Clare, growing up in an abusive household and follows along as she explores her sexuality, fights for those she loves, and creates a life for herself away from those who have harmed her. Wow. It was a difficult book to read, but knowing it is based on the au Trigger warning: domestic violence, gun violence, sexual assault, rape. Oooff! This book had all the feels, however mostly the kind of feels that make you question humanity. It was a haunting and beautifully written story about a young girl, Clare, growing up in an abusive household and follows along as she explores her sexuality, fights for those she loves, and creates a life for herself away from those who have harmed her. Wow. It was a difficult book to read, but knowing it is based on the author’s life experiences gives me a whole new perspective and appreciation of the bravery it took to tell this story. Sincere thank you to NetGalley and Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC for an advanced audio copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ᴳᵃᵇʳⁱᵉˡᵃ

    4 stars out of 5. ❝Momma was crying. Not making a fuss of it, just tears of grief rolling down her cheek. She wasn’t a mother’s love, but she was the echo of it.❞ This book was hard to read. Apart from the fact that school is getting harder and i should focus more on it- i could not put this book down. It made me incredibly sad many times. Clare is a really strong character, written to be autistic and epileptic, but that's not her main characteristic alright. She was born in an abusive family, that 4 stars out of 5. ❝Momma was crying. Not making a fuss of it, just tears of grief rolling down her cheek. She wasn’t a mother’s love, but she was the echo of it.❞ This book was hard to read. Apart from the fact that school is getting harder and i should focus more on it- i could not put this book down. It made me incredibly sad many times. Clare is a really strong character, written to be autistic and epileptic, but that's not her main characteristic alright. She was born in an abusive family, that mentally and physically abused her for the biggest part of her life. Her best friend's mom dies and everything goes downhill for there. From her trying to keep her friend, to navigating school to have his whole dark mystery hovering over her family, being kept back by 'the devil' and possessed too. I cannot recommended this book enough! It's hard to read, you might cry a few times but it says some really harsh stories and we see evil in its many forms from the eyes of an 14-year-old. But it might not be suited for audiences that can be triggered easily. This book touches lots of sensitive topics and might not be ideal to some. It didn't get my five stars precisely because it saddened me so much. It was great, don't blame me, but my heart got so heavy- Many congrats to Chad Musick for this one! [ I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. ]

  26. 5 out of 5

    María

    ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. This book absolutely surprised me, and in the best of ways. It is definitely one of the hardest things I've read: it was so brutal at times that I wasn't sure I was enjoying it, but I can now say that it was so worth it. My opinion changed so badly all throughout the book, and I am so glad of it. All I could think about at first is how much this reminded me of Emily M. Danforth’s *The Miseducation of Cameron Post,* with the friendship and ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. This book absolutely surprised me, and in the best of ways. It is definitely one of the hardest things I've read: it was so brutal at times that I wasn't sure I was enjoying it, but I can now say that it was so worth it. My opinion changed so badly all throughout the book, and I am so glad of it. All I could think about at first is how much this reminded me of Emily M. Danforth’s *The Miseducation of Cameron Post,* with the friendship and the religion and the having a parent die at the same time that they were kissing. But similarities end there. But then, was I mislead or did the synopsis just not give enough information? I don't complain at all because this book was a really pleasant surprise, and I liked finding out every detail on the way without any expectations. Not "enjoyed" because this book isn't enjoyable, it's just really thoughtful and the execution of such difficult topics was great. The 14-year-old first person POV was brilliantly delivered; Clare's thoughts were simple but we grew with her as she was getting more and more answers about the situation surrounding her. This story is incredibly sad and upsetting at times, but it's not about that; it's about freedom, about resilience. It's about how two girls have to endure so much more than they should, than anyone should. Even when they’re talking about mature topics, they have that childish trait to them, of being able to say everything completely unfiltered. Clare's and Esther’s innocence and naïveté just made it all more heartbreaking. How they talk about money, sex, adulthood, their families... But then as it progressed, I realized that they weren't innocent at all. That had been taken from them. Their choices, gone. As the story unfolded, the reader realizes what is really going on before the main character does, and it made it such a heartbreaking read; even more when she finally finds out. Since our main character is the narrator, we navigate the story as she does, and things are never explicitly revealed until she finds out herself. It was beautifully written, and I'm so glad I decided to dive into it with nothing but a couple of lines of information. I will think about this for a really long time. [ Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, child abuse, violence, incest, forced prostitution, gun violence, food derivation, miscarriage, exploitation of children, ableism, murder, domestic violence, homophobia, inner homophobia, etc., some explicit and some implied. ]

  27. 4 out of 5

    AJ G

    Trigger Warnings: ableism, abuse - physical and sexual, child neglect, incest, molestation, rape, religious trauma, food deprivation, domestic violence, murder, homophobia, miscarriage, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, pedophilia, arson, attempted murder, gun violence, mutilation Not My Ruckus by Chad Musick is set in Texas in the 1980s. It tells the story of 14-year old Clare as she struggles with an undiagnosed disability and abuse, while exploring her sexuality and living in an extremely re Trigger Warnings: ableism, abuse - physical and sexual, child neglect, incest, molestation, rape, religious trauma, food deprivation, domestic violence, murder, homophobia, miscarriage, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, pedophilia, arson, attempted murder, gun violence, mutilation Not My Ruckus by Chad Musick is set in Texas in the 1980s. It tells the story of 14-year old Clare as she struggles with an undiagnosed disability and abuse, while exploring her sexuality and living in an extremely religious household. A first kiss and a murder. Secrets unravel and the problems in Clare's life grow as her relationship with Esther becomes more complicated. As the story continues, we learn just how connected Clare is to Esther. Clare is probably one of my favorite protagonists. She's kind, loyal to a fault, protective and hilarious. Her thought process can be chaotic at times, and she doesn't pick up on most social cues. She's often dismissed because no one wants to take the time to explain what they mean. And she doesn't always think things through, but she means well. Her relationship with Esther was interesting to say the least, and at times it felt like Esther was taking advantage of Clare. I think if I'd read this book, it would be a lot easier to follow along. Seeing as I was listening to a narrator, it did get confusing at times trying to understand where the story was going. It's fast-paced and filled with action with a continued element of horror. It's listed as a coming of age story, but I would not recommend this to any one under 18. It was hard for me to get through it, and I'm well over 18. The story is dark and covers very heavy topics, and a few of the scenes are quite jarring. Even though some of the topics aren't explicitly described, it was still pretty raw and haunting. I can't say that I enjoyed or didn't enjoy the book because it just wasn't at all what I was expecting. It's definitely well-written, so if you enjoy dark stories, I'd recommend this one. It covers the horrors of societies that are often overlooked and shows that even the people we believe we know can have a dark nature. Final Rating: 4 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ana Lana

    I received an ARC of this audiobook through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Clare is a 14-year-old girl living in Texas during the 1980s. She is considered a tomboy and she is struggling with her sexuality and undiagnosed disability. The story follows this resilient young girl and her complicated relationship with her family and Esther (her friend/neighbour/love interest). This novel is quite dark and it touches many difficult topics, which could be triggering to some people (some TW I received an ARC of this audiobook through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Clare is a 14-year-old girl living in Texas during the 1980s. She is considered a tomboy and she is struggling with her sexuality and undiagnosed disability. The story follows this resilient young girl and her complicated relationship with her family and Esther (her friend/neighbour/love interest). This novel is quite dark and it touches many difficult topics, which could be triggering to some people (some TWs: abuse, rape, homophobia, molestation, ableism, pedophilia, domestic violence, etc.) One aspect of this book that I really liked is the fact that the main character - although not explicitly mentioned in the text - lives with a disability. The truth is that unfortunately I have not yet read much literature with representation of disabled people, so I am happy to have read this. When I saw in the synopsis that the story was narrated by a 14-year-old, I wasn't expecting it to be so tragic, disturbing and full of misfortunes. This in part also made the novel more interesting, as the story becomes more mysterious, being told by someone who does not understand exactly what is happening. It's a small detail that I think adds value to the narrative and made me more invested. 'Not My Ruckus' is very fast-paced and it was really entertaining to listen and I would recommend it, but it is definitely not for everyone. I also really liked the narrator, who had a lovely accent and I feel like she did a great job with the storytelling and portraying the emotions of the characters. ((One thing I'm still not sure how I feel about is the fact that a man wrote this. And with that, I don't mean to say that men can't write about women issues (or the other way around), but in this particular case I must say that at times it felt awkward to read.))

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    To start, this book was amazing. We follow 14-year-old Clare (who also goes by Lilac) and her friendship with her neighbor Esther. The book starts off when Esther kisses Clare but things get extremely complicated when Esther's mother is killed at the same time. It was extremely interesting to see how Clare worked through things, like Esther's mother's death and her father's abuse, and Clare's religious upbringing at its flaws. The "twist" was well planned out and made sense, the characters that To start, this book was amazing. We follow 14-year-old Clare (who also goes by Lilac) and her friendship with her neighbor Esther. The book starts off when Esther kisses Clare but things get extremely complicated when Esther's mother is killed at the same time. It was extremely interesting to see how Clare worked through things, like Esther's mother's death and her father's abuse, and Clare's religious upbringing at its flaws. The "twist" was well planned out and made sense, the characters that we trusted and didn't at the end made sense, I felt uncomfortable with the characters that were bad people. I also appreciated the content warnings being included in the book, I think it's incredibly important for the author to include that. A list of the content most commonly mentioned as potentially distressing that appears in this book, with a note about how explicit the content is: childhood sexual assault (implied, except one explicit paragraph describing groping); child abuse, physical (explicit and frequent); gun violence (mentioned); blood; food deprivation; self-harm (intentional triggering of seizures, no other self-harm); animal death (described: birds; mentioned: other); teen pregnancy; miscarriage (implied); physical violence (explicit); exploitation of children (mentioned, implied); domestic violence (explicit); gaslighting (implied); forced prostitution (implied); arson (explicit); mutilation and maiming (explicit); incest (implied); ableism (explicit); medical neglect (explicit); murder (described).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fernanda W.

    This book was such a rollercoaster. There were times I simply hated every single character, other times I looked at them sadly and wish life had given them a better path, but overall it was a frustrating read. The story and the main character's viewpoint are so laced with blind faith in everything her parents tell her that it's hard to believe people so sheltered exist. When she starts to question what she's being told she only makes things worse by botching everything and never thinking things This book was such a rollercoaster. There were times I simply hated every single character, other times I looked at them sadly and wish life had given them a better path, but overall it was a frustrating read. The story and the main character's viewpoint are so laced with blind faith in everything her parents tell her that it's hard to believe people so sheltered exist. When she starts to question what she's being told she only makes things worse by botching everything and never thinking things through or listening to the people who want to help her. Honestly, everyone in this story was a mess, some people more than others, but this mess hooked me, especially at the end. It was not a pleasant story, but if you give it a chance you'll want to finish it, even if it is to know if vengeance was served or to watch how this trainwreck of a life ends. It got me so emotionally invested that it made me cry when (view spoiler)[both girls finally find a safe place with Oma and Opa. They're the stars of the book and I'd love to read a story just about them (hide spoiler)] . A note about the narrator: what a wonderful job she did. Her US southern accent is the perfect fit for this story, and the way she weaved the sentences was marvelous, it brought everything together and gave so much character and life to the narrative. Anyways, my review is a mess because I simply cannot sort how I feel about this, hence the 3 stars. This audiobook was provided by NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

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