Welcome to July and to another book review from me!
Music from Another World is a beautifully written and heartfelt novel which deals with some diverse issues in a different time period. While it is ultimately classed as YA historical fiction, it feels more like a contemporary novel which delves into 1970s America and follows the two protagonists as they fight for causes close to their hearts. At times it made me smile, laugh and cry all in one!
The book follows Tammy, a closeted lesbian from Orange County and Sharon, a girl just trying to find her place in a hyped up San Francisco and their journey as pen pals over a year long period. Both girls attend highly religious Christian schools and are working towards supporting the LGBTQI scene, but attempting to conceal it so that they are not punished by their families. At this time, the LGBTQI scene was only starting to emerge and this is evident throughout the book as the girls come to terms with what it means to support the cause and how it may impact their lives forever.
First up, I need to rave about how this book was formatted. It was written as a series of letters, between both Tammy and Sharon and their own personal letters that they wrote in their diaries. It gives the story a personal touch as you get an insight into how they were feeling and wanted to approach different situations they were confronted with. In these letters, they also went into detail about things that they were doing and how they unfolded which other books written in this way tend to neglect. I also liked how there were gaps of time in the plot. While there were a couple of months missing at various points, the narrative still plodded along and it was easy to decipher what had happened during this time without missing knowledge.
Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed were the characters. While the plot of the book was extremely engaging, the characters really made this book. I loved reading from the perspectives of both Tammy and Sharon: Tammy who wanted to reveal herself to her family but was too afraid of how they would judge her and Sharon who wanted all LGBTQI people to be equally treated and respected within society. Both of these girls were genuine, had flaws and faced issues which were representative of the time in history. Despite the hardships that they faced, I loved how they remained true to themselves right the way through. Another character that really made the book was Tammy’s aunt. While depicted as the ‘villain’, I felt that Aunt Mandy added an extra element to the book. She was nasty, she was manipulative while putting on a façade and having her as a close contact as Tammy made it even more realistic- I am sure that there were situations like this that have arisen throughout history as families attempt to oust family members because they may not conform. Sharon’s brother was also a favourite as he was the only one that she could rely on to be honest with her.
The diversity in this book is what made it such a great read for me. While I have read a number of books with gay main characters (namely Simon Vs, Autoboyography), I had never read a book featuring lesbian main characters. I feel like there may not be as many books featuring female-female relationships but am hopeful that more will be featured/more well known in times to come! I also really enjoyed the contrast between the Christian characters and those hoping to break free from the constraints.
Overall, a very informative and enjoyable read with some strong themes throughout! I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting a quick read with a strong message at the forefront.
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with a copy of the book for review. Music from another world is available for purchase in Australia now!