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The Music of What Happens

Written by: Bill Konigsberg
Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of Openly Straight, a story about two teens falling in love over a summer that throws everything possible to keep them apart. 

Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. 

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart. 

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites. 

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk - to get the thing they want the most.

©2019 Bill Konigsberg (P)2019 Scholastic Inc.

What the critics say

"Through the empathetic performances of two narrators, we meet gay Arizona high schoolers Jordan and Max, and their families and friends....  Froomkin and Perez's heartfelt portrayals ensure that listeners are in sync with the characters as they deal with everything from a traumatic sexual encounter and mental health issues to toxic masculinity and figuring out how to be true to oneself." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Music of What Happens

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting contemporary narrative

The narration is great. The author did an amazing job narrating the contemporary life in the 'community'.

1 person found this helpful

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Be warned - Narrator is distracting.

LOVED the story, so let’s put out there straight way. Anthony Ray Perez did an excellent job of narration. Joel Froomkin; not so much. I found the latter’s reading to be so mismatched to the character - sounding about 20 years too old to be a teenager, especially the god-awful attempt at a Latino accent when quoting Max that it’s borderline offensive. It’s almost as if the two narrators didn’t even meet each other to discuss how best to work this out. The audio for Jordan’s part is off too and you’ll find yourself turning it up and down as you flip between the chapters as Joel Froomkin spent his half of the reading screaming into the microphone. If you can get over the “Jordan” readings, the story is a very potent piece of YA fiction that addresses very serious questions of assault, consent, race, masculinity and queerness in today’s society.

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This book will stay with me

I picked this book on a whim and am so glad I did. What I thought might be a light romance turned into a thought provoking story that had so much more depth to it.
Moved me to tears a couple of times and made me smile big at other times while in my car listening.
Quite beautifully written with a lovely pace to it. I like that it wasn't "all tied up with a bow" in the end which leaves me to imagine what the future holds for the two main characters.

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  • L. Cothren
  • 2019-03-14

Beautiful

This book was amazing. It resonated with me on so many levels. I cannot even explain, but it is truly heartbreaking, heart wrenching and beautifully glorious in every way.
The audible narrators were beyond perfect for telling this story. They could not have been more perfectly casted.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Aptsolecist
  • 2019-03-13

Entertaing read!

Bill is so good at character development. I was a little sad when it ended because I wanted more of them. The readers also did a good job of adding to the uniqueness of the characters and added to how the listener experiences the story. It was a cute and touching story which facilitates an interesting conversation about the dynamics of sexual consent.

5 people found this helpful

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  • chris
  • 2019-04-05

Enjoyable, but...

I'll start by saying, if you've listened to "Openly straight and Honestly Ben", you wont get the same character and plot development. Both of those books were amazing. That being said, if you enjoy the author's writing style, you'll also enjoy this book. Overall, the characters were pretty thin with exception of the two leads. The friends of both the boys, were just accessories. It's enough for you to identify with and get their purpose, but you won't go away with fond memories like in the other books.

In some ways this could have just been a story about the two guys over a weekend getting to know one another. The other characters didn't really add much. What I did enjoy was the examination of something else in the gay community that probably doesn't get the attention that it needs (spoilers) so I won't say much more.

Lastly, the "Jordan" narrartor was THE WORST. I almost cringed everytime I heard his voice. I couldn't wait to flip back to Max. The narrartor for Max while 10 times better, he wasn't perfect but played a teenage jock boy enough where I could imagine vidvidly what he would be like if he were real

The book was satisyfing, and was a nice distraction from my normal listens. Accept this for what it is and you'll enjoy too.

4 people found this helpful

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  • rosalinda lam
  • 2019-06-26

Every time I see I food truck...

I really liked this book. I loved that even though the author discusses themes like coming of age, sexual preferences, class, race, mental illness and family disfunction the book never feels heavy or hopeless. I actually laughed out loud several times and the dialogue between the characters always felt real. The only problem is that every time I see a food truck now I make a love story in my mind about the people working there and I can’t help but smile like an idiot

2 people found this helpful

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  • Devin Murphy
  • 2019-09-26

The voices are not bad

I don't understand why everybody is down on the reader for Jordan. He sounds exactly like an anxious teenage boy, which is super accurate to the story. I actually really loved how the boy voiced each other. It really highlights the differences in what we think, what we say, and what is heard by others. A really interesting perspective that is not often tackled in writing. The only issue I had was the leveling between the 2 readers always had to turn up the volume for Max which left Jordan yelling in my ear.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-25

Beautiful and Honest

Thank you to the author and the narrators for bring this beautiful and honest story to us.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Melanie Maynor
  • 2019-09-25

Great story

I don't usually write reviews, but this book was so great, that i couldn't help it. This book deals with all kinds of serious issues while, also, being laugh out loud funny. This was one of the sweetest love stories I've come across lately.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robby
  • 2019-08-27

Intense

You can tell pretty early on some of the stuff that's going to happen, the not so good stuff. Foreshadowing and all that. you can prepare for it, but you still kind of have to follow them on that emotional trip and digest it alongside them. Which is kind of amazing it's digestible at all, these experiences that will be traumatic and foreign to many/most, and familiar to some. I ache, but love books that help expose your mind to real problems and pains other people deal with so that your not so ignorant if it connects back to you later in life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janice Birnie
  • 2019-08-16

Superb.

The Music of What Happens is a beautifully written story of two adolescent boys on the cusp of growing into men. Of finding yourself and your connections with others. Of families, both blood and made and how we support each other through the best and worst of times. Adults can be severely flawed, or not. Teenagers can be miraculous; and flawed. In the end it’s the people who support us who matter.
The voice acting was pitch perfect and the combination of words and narration made for a stunning listen.
This novel should be in every school library and should be read by parents as well.
Highly highly recommended.

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  • Ryan Knights
  • 2019-07-17

wonderful

another beautiful book by bill, a must listen if you're a fan of young teen gay romance

1 person found this helpful