5th Grade and Up
Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her.
When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too.
Lou has a rough life. She has to handle a life of poverty, child neglect and being homeless.If that isn’t all hard enough, she also has sensory processing disorder.Oh and did I forget to mention the culture shock she goes through from living in a truck to living with her aunt and uncle in their mansion of a house. I usually don’t like stories that address so many tough topics at once but this story manages to do so in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the reader.
I’m happy to be finding more and more stories featuring kids with ‘invisible’ disabilities. I did a bit of internet research on sensory processing disorder (SPD) and I believe that the writer’s representation on the matter is as authentic as it can be considering the writer does not have SPD.
Here’s a mini lesson on SPD:
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Certain sounds, sights, smells, textures, and tastes can create a feeling of ‘sensory overload’.
Let me start by saying that being sensitive does not make you weak. Being overly sensitive to things means you have to be stronger than others. I’m not going to pretend to know exactly how Lou feels. I’ve had panic attacks before but they are nothing compared to Lou’s sensory meltdowns. But I know what it’s like to struggle to appear ‘normal’ while your brain is screaming at you and I’m empathic towards anyone who isn’t being given the support they need. That’s why it’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible or you spend most of your life miserable and thinking something is wrong with you.
Speaking for myself here, I don’t understand why Lou didn’t want to use earplugs. I would have loved earplugs in middle school. One partically English class was so noisy that I tried stuffing bits of tissue in my ears to block out the sound. It didn’t work and everyone looked at me like I was insane.
Even though I liked the bond between Lou and her new friend Well, Well just seemed to perfect to me. He’s all understanding and positive and is always there for the lead female character. He’s like the guy friend in an Hallmark movie.
At one point in the story, someone asked Lou, “If that’s okay with you?” This is such an empty question. When someone asks this question, a majority of the time, it doesn’t matter what the other person thinks, the action in question is already set in motion. When you’re a kid it never seems to matter what you want, you’re expected to just go along with what adults tell you to do. That’s what it’s like for Lou in the beginning, blindly doing what her mother says even when it’s tearing her up inside. That’s what this story is about. Lou learning to be her own person away from her mother and learning to speak up and make decisions for herself.
In conclusion, this is an amazing coming of age story that everyone should read.
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about a New Kind of Earbud
A new kind of earbud lets you decide which surrounding sounds you hear – and which ones you don’t.