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A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds!Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is...
A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds!Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is...
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  • A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds!

    Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown.So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it.Until they're not.Denver begins to realize that she's trapped in Merc's world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken.Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl's dreams can be used against her — and what it takes to fight back.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2020
    Denver Lafleur, along with friends Shak and Dali, is out to achieve her dreams while being pulled into the dark side of the music industry by a conniving, exploitative, male R&B superstar. Readers are introduced to the wonderful harmonies of these three girls of color as they win $50 at a Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, corn festival. They hold on to each other, their love for music a refuge from the racial tensions of their mostly White home, far away from Denver's Brooklyn roots. They know all too well that they are bigger than this place and, after sneaking off to Newark, manage a chance meeting with king of R&B Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc notices their talent and provides a platform for them to reach an audience, but red flags appear, pointing to his controlling behaviors. Something more sinister is at play, and with the teenage girls away from familial support in Merc's world, who will protect them? Charles, herself a former young R&B artist, draws upon themes from the still-unfolding criminal investigation of R. Kelly. The powerful, smoothly flowing text will drive readers to seriously challenge the societal vulnerabilities and toxic ideologies that leave girls of color open to sexual violence and harm. Themes of friendship, family, cultural inheritance, and taking a stand are strong throughout. This novel ripped from the headlines is a necessary reckoning that amplifies the voices of Black and brown girls. (Verse novel. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2021

    Gr 10 Up-Haitian American 17-year-old Denver and her friends Dalisay, who is Dominican, and Shakira, who is Black, are a local Shohola Falls, PA, R & B group called Angelic Voices. When they are noticed by popular singer and producer Sean "Mercury" Ellis, their world, which looks bright and promising, becomes full of deceit and isolation. Charles's heartbreaking novel in verse shows the harsh realities of the music industry and runs parallel to the real-life #MuteRKelly and #MeToo movements. Denver's first-person narration is completely believable. She is an honest and reflective character who often thinks about her choices and how she is doing the best she can with what she knows. Denver shares insight to her family life, her love of music, and also her secret love and adoration for Dalisay that is hidden from her family and Shakira. Denver's voice is unique, delicate, and written from the point of view of a relatable teen girl who struggles with her identity. Readers are advised of themes that may be triggering such as "rape, eating disorders, abuse, manipulation, and divorce." These themes are worth exploring and may teach readers that these tragedies can happen to anyone. The book also shows the importance of having a trusted adult to talk to and the warning signs of manipulation. VERDICT Hand this to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Tiffany D. Jackson.-Kharissa Kenner, Bank Street Sch. for Children, New York City

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2021
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Together, Denver, Dali, and Shak make up the Angelic Voices, a girl group desperate to be discovered. So when famous R&B star Sean "Mercury" Ellis takes an interest in the girls after hearing them sing outside of his concert, it seems like the stars have finally aligned. Despite the incredible opportunity this presents, Denver's parents agree that their 17-year-old daughter will not be going off to work with a 30-something man. Or so they think. What first seems to be a rags-to-riches affair takes a murky turn for the worst as this novel in verse shows the girls' flashy life with Mercury morph into one where they are held hostage and abused. Charles plays continuously with space and language here, effortlessly weaving together the story of Denver's and Dali's traumas associated with family, friendships, and desires for stardom. Trigger warning: there is explicit mention of sexual assault here, in addition to physical abuse. Ultimately, this book's ending will leave readers at a heart-racing stall, asking, Can chasing fame really cost you your life? Teens enamored by the writing of Tiffany D. Jackson and Jason Reynolds will be swept away by this taut and gritty read.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Scholastic Inc.
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