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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

Publication Date: May 5th 2009

SYNOPSIS: High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....

REVIEW: Teresa (Tere) Adams lives in constant fear of being asked to speak out loud in class. Her interactions with others are difficult and often painful. In fact, Tere is so shy that most teachers have given up on calling on her altogether. Tere prefers to hide out in her bedroom, pretending to be a DJ for Miami’s hottest radio station, the SLAM 92.7. Through a stroke of luck, Tere gets her chance to DJ and blossoms under the guise of her alter ego – Sweet T. Meanwhile, she is forced to participate in a group oral presentation project with new crush Gavin, who just happens to love Sweet T and her radio show. How long can Tere keep her radio persona a secret from Gavin and everyone else? And could Sweet T actually help her overcome the shyness in her life and land her the guy of her dreams?

Shrinking Violet is a beautifully written and memorable debut novel that is both humorous and extremely touching. It's a story about a girl who struggles with a commonly misunderstood problem – debilitating shyness. While most people are probably not as shy as Tere, we’ve all had instances where we feel self-conscious or lack confidence in our opinions. As someone who has struggled with shyness all my life, I was really able to connect with Tere and feel all her insecurities and doubts as if they were my own. I loved the way she lived out her dream, despite the sheer terror of taking those first courageous leaps. Gavin, the cute boy she crushes on was my other favorite character. He appreciated her for who she truly was – both her shy self AND the spunky girl deep down inside. I also loved the personalities inhabiting the radio station. Their characters were quirky and a lot of fun, especially the chest hair baring, aging DJ Derek and Pop Tart, the front desk receptionist with the heart of gold.

I thought radio was the perfect venue to transport Tere out of her crippling shyness. Being a DJ means not having to worry about body image and self confidence issues. It's all about the music and the voice. It wasn’t an overnight transformation or one that happened without the support of some great people in her life too. This aspect helped make the story much more realistic for me. And really, what better way for Tere to come out of her shell than to talk about something she was already truly passionate about- her love of great music!

Shrinking Violet is about a girl who chases down a dream despite all the obstacles in her way and comes out a triumphant winner on the other side. Shy girls will be cheering for Tere everywhere. I’d recommend this book for anyone who loves music and is looking for a fun, romantic read with a positive underlying message!

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: MTV (May 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416596968
ISBN-13: 978-1416596967
Buy at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound

Danielle Joseph was a college DJ for five years on the Gyroscope, a world music show. She also interned at several top Boston radio stations while earning her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College. She has taught Creative Writing and English to Middle school students.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and two young sons. These days you can find her cruising around with the tunes blaring and her internal DJ hard at work.

Visit the Official Website of Danielle Joseph and check out her playlist for Shrinking Violet.


Tea said...

This is a great book. Shyness is debilitating. I enjoyed the review so much. Look forward to reading the book.


This book sounds good! Great review Kim ;P

pirate penguin said...

Awww. I actually have the book sitting in my room! I plan on reading it after my next too books x)

Kelsey said...

Great review, I'm ordering this from Amazon soon, I can't wait to read it(:

elnice said...

this sounds like a wonderful, heartwarming story. Great for teens and adults who are or can remember being shy.