We Are the Song

- Catherine Bakewell

Goodreads Book Blurb:

A lush and beautiful fantasy set in a world where music is magic and the fate of many thrones lies with one girl…

Twelve-year-old Elissa has been raised in seclusion as a devotee of the Mother Goddess. She is a special child, a blessed child, a child who can sing miracles into being. Her voice can heal wounds, halt landslides, cure hunger–and even end wars.

But there are those who would use her gift for darker things. And when Elissa finds herself the farthest from home she’s ever been–along with her vain and jealous music tutor, Lucio–she will have to develop the judgment to decide who wants to use her song to heal… and who wants to use her song to hurt.

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My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Holiday House for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

enjoyable/easy to read:
3.5/5
Redefining what to expect from middle-grade fiction, We Are the Song is so much more than meets the eye.

Sure, it was probably a little too religion-y at times, but I appreciated that Bakewell’s characters spanned the spirituality scale. Some twist others’ beliefs to fit their motives, while others are more humble in their understanding of these beliefs – with characters ranging from questioning to fanatic, it was easier to stomach.

I was surprised this was a standalone. It took some time to build up to Elissa’s quest, and it didn’t feel like there were enough pages left to complete it satisfactorily. In the end, it may have seemed a little rushed, but I was pretty happy with the story as a whole. Elissa’s determination and perseverance against all the odds is inspiring.

It can be pretty easy to discount middle-grade fiction within the YA genre, but I was impressed with the level of detail in this world. While they’re very different stories, I wouldn’t hesitate to put We Are the Song in the same category as Pierce’s Circle of Magic series or the first couple books in Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Despite their youth, these characters are well-developed and have difficult decisions to make that impact more than themselves.

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