Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata
Publication Date: May 18th, 2014
Publisher: Merit Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
At sixteen, Trudy Baxter is tired of her debutante mom, her deadbeat dad, and her standing reservation at the juvenile detention center. Changing her name to Trudy Sin, she cranks up her major chops as a singer and starts a band, gathering around other girls ill at ease in their own lives. Cassie Haywood, would-have-been beauty queen, was scarred in an accident in which her alcoholic mom was killed. But she can still sing and play her guitar, even though she seeks way too much relief from the pain in her body and her heart through drugs, and way too much relief from loneliness through casual sex. Still, it’s Cassie who hears former child prodigy Harumi Yokoyama playing in a punk band at a party, and enlists her, outraging Harumi’s overbearing first-generation Japanese parents. The fourth member is Esther Shealy, who joins as a drummer in order to be close to Cassie–the long-time object of her unrequited love–and Harumi, her estranged childhood friend. Together, they are Screaming Divas, and they’re quickly swept up as a local sensation. Then, just as they are about to achieve their rock-girl dreams, a tragedy strikes.
About the Author:
Back in the day, Suzanne Kamata spent a lot of time hanging out in a club in Columbia, South Carolina, much like the one in Screaming Divas. (The beat goes on . . .) She later wrote about musicians for The State newspaper, The Japan Times, and other publications. Now, she mostly writes novels. In her free time, she enjoys searching for the perfect fake fur leopard-print coat and listening to the Japanese all-girl band Chatmonchy. Her YA debut, Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible was named the 2013-2014 APALA YA Honor Book and Grand Prize Winner of the Paris Book Festival. For more info, visithttp://www.suzannekamata.com or follow her on Twitter @shikokusue.
Screaming Divas introduces its band members wonderfully. The first few chapters said just enough about each of the girls to leave me wanting more. Sometimes it’s difficult to get into a book but Divas roped me in after the first page. After their lives started to intertwine, however, things started to move at an alarming rate and keeping up with each event was a bit confusing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading about the girls’ friendships, relationships and camaraderie. I sympathized with Trudy, the lead singer. She had an extremely rough upbringing and then when left on her own, didn’t make the wisest choices in lovers. Harumi was by far, my favorite character. Her opening chapter revealed this quiet resolve, ambition and beautiful love of music. I felt for Esther and Cassie.
Divas incorporates some fantastic music. I too, like Trudy, am a fan of The Supremes and honestly wanted to hear the girls’ rendition of their songs. This unlikely band of what would be considered “misfits” are truly endearing.
I give Screaming Divas 3.5 stars