Thursday, January 24, 2019

Melody Trumpet by Gabrielle Tozer

Melody should be the perfect name for the daughter of two famous musicians - Viola Trumpet and her conductor husband Barry T Trumpet but of course it isn't. From her first new born cries it is obvious Melody is not musical. That might not be a problem in a normal family but Mr and Mrs Trumpet are far from normal. They are famous and very rich and they want to stay that way. The hire an acclaimed music teacher with the delightful name Mr Pizzicato to teach their daughter. He does try. He tries for ten years but Melody simply cannot play any musical instrument and her singing is simply awful.

Melody has been attending The Battyville Elite School for Musically Gifted Children but she has been doing so in secret. One of the few people, apart from Mr Pizzicato and a handful of staff, who knows she works in a hidden part of the school each day, is the school Principal. She has a delightful name - Principal Sharp. 

After ten years of study all students at the school are expected to perform at the Debut Gala which this year will be attended by The Prince and Princess of Zanjia.

Things are now desperate. Melody cannot perform. Mr Pizzicato comes up with the perfect plan. To use another girl who looks like Melody but who can of course sing, to take her place. Melody and Mr P. audition over 100 girls but after an exhausting day they can't find anyone to fit this role.

Melody has been isolated by her cruel parents who worry that her failures with music will be revealed. Her one solace is her notebook where she writes her thoughts as poems. In a moment of fury her mother throws the notebook away. This is a terrible moment in the story but also a turning point because the notebook is found by a young girl who can sing, a young girl who likes to compose her own music which she then performs as a busker. There are a lot more twists to this plot before everything is resolved all of which just add to the fun and mayhem.

I have a huge pile of Advance Reader copies from my local bookstore at the moment but I kept putting this one back. The cover did not appeal to me. I thought it would just be another fairly silly story. Boy was I wrong! This book is terrific. I read the whole book, all 240 pages, in one sitting! I read this book in early January. It is due for publication in February, 2019. I think this book will be enjoyed by readers aged 8+ and it is sure to be a book that is passed between friends at school. Gabrielle Tozer is the author of several Young Adult novels.

This book reminded me of two stories with similarly awful parents - Too Small to Fail by Morris Gleitzman and What do you think, Feezal? by Elizabeth Honey. You could also pair this book with The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman.

- Deb Abela, award-winning author of The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery

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