Before I give a thumbs up or thumbs down on Suzanne Supplee’s newest book “Somebody Everybody Listens too” I need to tell you I am so not a country music person. I don’t own any CD’s and I don’t think my car radio has ever been tuned into a country music station. Out of the zillions of country songs out there I may only like a handful of them.  

Honestly, I wasn’t all that enthused about the plot when I read the book jacket at first but decided to read it because she truly has the gift of storytelling which was so apparent in her first novel “Artichoke’s Heart.”  So what was the verdict?  Did I like it as much as her first novel? You bet I did! “SomebodyEverybody Listens to”  is a good poolside book.  It is light and refreshing read.  Supplee proves once again that she is a YA novelist to reckon with.  I can’t wait to read her next book.

Retta Lee Jones can sing and has dreams of making it big one day in Nashville as a country music star but everywhere you turn in Nashville, there is someone who wants to be the next big star. It’s easy to dream just not so easy to do.  Retta’s story begins right after graduation. The world is pretty much her oyster as long as it includes transportation and costs less than $514.76 which is all the money she has in the world. She knows what she has to do but in the meantime, she is working as a waitress at the Bluebell Diner helping her parents with expenses around the house. Every minute of every day she ponders whether she should stay or go. As luck would have it, Retta finds transportation, an old jalopy her Aunt has coveted for many years.  It’s now or never and Retta throws her guitar and some clothes in the car promising to keep in touch and drives off to find to follow her dream in Nashville. 

Don’t think for a minute that this is the end of the story. She didn’t just arrive in Nashville, meet a record producer and become famous over night. The path was a little more rocky starting with a fender bender and a mugging that robs are of all the money she has leaving her homeless sleeping in the backseat of a car.  Sounds just like country song doesn’t it? In fact as I was reading the book,  in my head I was doing it all with a country twang.

Retta is so likable that you can’t help rooting for her. You want her to catch a break. You want her to become a big star. It is scary to go out on your own and do your own thing.  I get it though. I get Retta’s insecurities and fears.  Years ago I moved far away from home with a plan and not much else ready to make my mark on the world.

I enjoyed the brief biographies of country legends,  Supplee added in the beginning of each chapter, such as Patsy Cline, Shania Twain and Dolly Parton. These people, like Retta was learning, didn’t become stars over night and worked very hard to get where they are.  Any country music fan will get a kick out of the little bits of information but don’t worry you do not need to be fan of country music to be fan of Suzanne Supplee.

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