Vanessa Jones’s Sing Like No One’s Listening celebrates music

SingLikeNoOnesListeningSING LIKE NO ONE’S LISTENING, by Vanessa Jones, Peachtree Publishing Company, Sept. 1, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)

Vanessa Jones’ Sing Like No One’s Listening transports readers to the cutthroat world of an elite performing arts school.

Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school―the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother’s shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her―and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn’t been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie’s going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she’ll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.

All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class. Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down? —Synopsis provided by Peachtree Publishing

Sing Like No One’s Listening is the one of two YA novels featuring musical theatre I’ve read in recent days. The books are vastly different, but hold a common thread — a love of music.

From the beginning, Sing Like No One’s Listening has a distinct Glee vibe. Duke’s Academy of Performing Arts bears many resemblances to Glee’s fictional NYADA, and I kept imagining Whoopi Goldberg as the school’s director.

Fortunately, Vanessa Jones has created characters that feel more realistic, more grounded in reality. That comes, in part, with Nettie’s grief and anxiety, which flavors her actions and her overall being. Most of Jones’ supporting characters are well-fleshed out. Although a few — particularly the bullies — feel a little too “on the nose.”

Sing Like No One’s Listening flows well. I read it in one day. Due to some more adult situations, including a lot of alcohol consumption, I’d suggest this for older, more mature YA readers.


© 2020, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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