Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

Retta Lee Jones has a dream to become a famous country singer like Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline. She’s just been marking time in high school, waiting tables at Bluebell’s Diner and longing for the moment when she can leave her small town forever and head for the bright lights of Nashville. A few weeks after graduation, in her great-aunt Goggy’s aged Caprice Classic and with just $500 in her jeans pocket, Retta takes off, hoping that talent, drive and determination will be enough to make her dreams come true. But if you’ve ever listened to any country music, you know that’s about as likely as cat getting out of a room full of rocking chairs with it’s tail intact. First she gets in a car accident. Then she gets mugged, losing the rest of her small savings. Soon she’s sleeping in the back seat of the Caprice and bathing homeless style in public restroom sinks. Retta manages to score a singing gig in a local dive outside Nashville, but the cheap owner rarely remembers to pay her, while the audience is pretty small and mostly made up of senior citizens. It seems like every bad thing that ever happened in a country song is happening to Retta–until she snares a spot singing at open-mike night at the Mockingbird Café, a famous Nashville club where lots of singers have been discovered. But just as things are looking up, Retta gets a devastating phone call. Her family is in crisis, and they need her to come home. Will this songbird ever be given the opportunity to fly? Or will her wings be clipped by unfortunate circumstances and bad luck? It’s so refreshing to read a book about a topic that’s hasn’t been rehashed about six thousand times already in YA Lit. Supplee’s chapter headings are famous country music songs that form a playlist for Retta’s journey, along with brief bios of the singers themselves. I loved learning quick facts about country stars from Patty Loveless to Keith Urban and everyone in between. Retta’s determination not to give up in the face of terrible odds is sincere and hopeful without being sappy. While country music may not be your thang, this is one novel that’s long on lit. and short on twang 🙂 (I know, I know. You’re good to bear with me.)

16 thoughts on “Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee

  1. What a timely review! As a person who frequents Music City, I can attest to the fact that Nashville is an interesting place full of charm and quirky personalities. I’m glad to see a YA novel place it in the spotlight, especially in light of their current problems. I look forward to reading this one!

  2. I can not wait to read!! I want to be a Country singer too, and I hope to find this inspiring!! I will achieve my goal someday!! 🙂

  3. I am Suzanne Supplee’s daughter, and found your review through the awesomeness that is Google. Thank you for writing such a great review! I’m very proud of my mom and am happy to find readers like you online who are so enthusiastic about her work. She just found out today, in fact, that she received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which she is ecstatic over! It’s inspiring seeing her hard work paying off.

    You made a very good point for those who may not be huge into country music, because you certainly don’t have to be a country music lover to love this book. I might be biased, but I truly do love this book.

    So thank you again! Thanks to the commenters above me, too; you will not be disappointed by this novel.

    You can find Suzanne Supplee at the website I posted, or on Facebook.

    Take care!

  4. Hi Cassie,

    Thanks for stopping by and chiming in–your mom’s book is great, and I think teens will really like it, too!

  5. I just finished reading this book and i am doing a book project on it for school. I thought it was amazing, and i wasn’t able to put it down. Maybe that’s why I read it in only 3 days!

  6. This book was amazing and I couldn’t put it down. I’ve recommended it to all the girls here at the library. Awesome choice!!

  7. I’m so glad you liked it! I think it’s a little gem and gets passed around word of mouth…

  8. I loved this book.!! I hope other people will, too. If you like Country Music, you should read it. If you like a little of Romance you should read it.! It’s a inspiring book. I really LOVED<3 it:)

  9. I can not wait to read!! I want to be a Country singer too, and I hope to find this inspiring!! I will achieve my goal someday!!

  10. And when I Grow up, I Want to BE Like her. And Become the Fomous Singer BUT When Jesus want TO. 🙂 THANK You SO Much for writing such a great review I Just L.O.V.E It!!!!!!!! 🙂

  11. What is the book about? I don’t want to read it I just need my points for school. Too lazy to read it. It’s too boring. I got half way through it. It boreded me out.

  12. This is a fantastic book. I am using this book for my project, this is probably one of the best books that I have read this year. I enjoyed this book. It is kinda reminds me of the predicament that I am currently in, besides about the singing part. But family wise. I loved your book so much!

  13. This book gives vibes of so much intrigue it is one of those you can’t put down although it is not written with an auster style. It captures you from the beginning .

  14. Loved this book! Im from a small town as well and can relate to some of what was going on which i think is one of the main reasons i loved this book! The only thing i wasn’t to fond of was the ending. yes, it was a good one but it just left you hangin! Other than that it was great!

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