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Reviewed by Paul F. Murray for Readers' Favorite
Auburn by Valerie Thomas is a beautiful story about a young high school student named Ashley Nimzovitch who wants to be a band singer. Ashley does more than just dream about it — she works steadily toward her goal with her band mates/friends, Charlie and brash Joey, and she does not let expected early discouragements such as at the Cat’s Cradle music store stop her. Ashley has no letup in her drive and will to achieve her goals. Depressed at times by her life’s circumstances at school and living in an apartment with a single mom, Ashley uses music to express her frustrations in a more productive and positive way than perhaps some options which other teens in her situation might choose. Through it all, though, Charlie and Joey support Ashley in her novice mistakes, and her ordeal with Jessica, who loves to post nasty, brutally unkind Facebook messages about Loser McGee. Adding to Ashley’s unfortunate life are her single mom and her mom’s bartending job, and her mother’s boyfriend Kent, which make Ashley feel lonely and ignored at times.
I thoroughly enjoyed Auburn by Valerie Thomas. Ashley is a beautiful, endearing young teen with long auburn hair as lovely as any blonde’s. As the novel picked up steam I had difficulty putting it down. The Auburn band (love that band name!) works hard, if unsuccessfully at first, to get gigs and a chance to show off their music and themselves. Later, when the band’s success starts to take off, readers will be cheering for Auburn and Ashley as they work to transform themselves from school nobodies into school celebrities.