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Note: The new release date for Con Papá is set for June 1, 2022.
"Mylisa Larsen's debut novel has everything I look for in a classic. The story is told in short chapters through five main characters at Connor U. Eubanks Middle School. The themes are universal yet timely: The value of music education in the background of shrinking budgets. The family ties we have to people who are doing harm, and how we feel when we are powerless to stand against it or even talk about it. All of this would be enough for a Middle Readers novel. What takes this book to the next level is Ms. Larsen's development of the unexpected climax and how all the characters are affected. The main characters are 8th graders in a music class called Jazz Lab with their teacher Mr Lewis. Mr Lewis only teaches Jazz at the High School, but comes to the middle school twice a week for Jazz Lab. For Cassie, the saxaphonist, her instrument helps her say things that "she can't find words for" and "because, sometimes, Cassie needs to scream." Cassie's relationships with the other characters goes back years, and they end up intertwining outside school in the real world in ways that cannot be ignored. The characters were so real they brought me to tears. I am torn between thinking of this as a young adult novel with middle school characters or a middle level novel with the pacing, dialogue, and suspense of a classic. Just my own opinion, I would rather read Playing Through the Turnaround than Catcher in the Rye. Especially if I was the age of the characters in the novel. Highest praise for this book." -Carol Mohr (March 20, 2022)