How To Write the Soundtrack To Your Life by Fiona Hardy
Fiona Hardy you have done it again! The dreaded second novel that often stalls writing careers is nowhere to be seen here. A deft and very capable writer’s hand has gifted young readers with a mystery that has beautifully developed characters, huge heart and the sort of inclusiveness that sings a song of acceptance for all manner of personalities and human conditions.
Murphy Parker loves music and is often to be found composing on her trusty keyboard with headphones plugged in, a safe place away from the madding crowd where no one can hear her play. Her shyness has kept her on the fringes of school and friendship, but when she and her dad go to the local music shop and play around on the instruments she feels creative and free. One day, in music class, the students are encouraged to experiment; thinking her headphones are on, Murphy plays a piece that everyone loves and, while shocked that they have heard her music, she enjoys the praise. The next day is a different story when she is accused of stealing the song from a band who have posted themselves playing a version of it on YouTube. Her peers ridicule her and once again she is cast out. What happens after this is an uplifting story of activism and friendships, with all their thorny compromises and revelations.
Murphy and her friends form a terrific cast, along with her supportive family, and Fiona has a wonderful ability to create a safe but flawed society that gives the reader a realistic experience as well as the added thrill of a mystery. Top notch fiction for ages 9–12. I enjoyed every moment.