Thank you to Viking Books/Penguin Young Readers for a copy of It Sounds Like This in exchange for an honest review. (Please note that all quotations are from an unfinished, advanced review copy.)


Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band — fast! — so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.
But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars.

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With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.
But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and Yasmín’s friendship with Sofia deteriorates, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section — especially introverted section leader Bloom, a sweet ace and aro-spectrum boy — might just turn things around. — From the publisher

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What happens at band camp … 

In her dedication, Meriano mentions that It Sounds Like This is a “pandemic book.” The social effects of the pandemic on teens are paralleled here, even if the reason the kids were kept out of school was not a pandemic, but a hurricane. That was a smart choice. Speaking of hurricanes … 

Oh, Yasmín. Anna Meriano’s It Sounds Like This does not let her off the hook. Yasmín truly is a hurricane, a force to be reckoned with, and I loved watching her grow into herself. Meriano unapologetically throws you into Yasmín’s world, without explanation of her family dynamics. I could see readers who don’t come from cultures where filial piety is super important being frustrated with Yasmín (and her choices, especially with regard to her cyberbully). 

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Make new friends but keep the old … 

I cannot adequately express the joy I felt realizing that all of Yasmín’s new band section mates/friends were boys. Don’t @ me, but there are social differences in the way that different genders interact. Though Meriano nicely evades falling into any potential pitfalls here by featuring characters who are trans/nonbinary, who have various sexualities, etc.

In any case, there is a lot of value in being friends with people who are genders other from your own. It’s nice to see it in action.


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Our resident gray aro/ace, Bloom, voices something that I’ve thought for so long but had yet to see in media. He says, “There’s nothing ‘just’ about being friends … friends are the best.”  (Which, like 🤌!!! ) Maybe one day more allo people will realize this. 

I get it, your significant other often holds a different status in your life — but it’s not better than that of a friend. And, often, our strongest and longest enduring relationships in life are friendships. (I have friendships that are two decades longer than my longest romance, for example.) Kudos to It Sounds Like This for putting this to paper. 

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“Saturday morning is Bloom’s church time?”

Religion plays a big part in It Sounds Like This, at least in an undercurrent kind of way. Yasmín is Catholic but doesn’t want to be Catholic in the “traditional” way. Bloom is Jewish, but he mentions he has extended family who is more “observant,” mainly because his own family is Reform.  A few things stood out to me about the way religion was treated in the book. 

First, it fascinated me how little the kids knew about each other’s faiths (Yasmín refers to “synagogue” as “church”). Also, on a larger scale, I understand why we talk about people being more observant if they follow the “older” ways, but maybe we shouldn’t. Just within the context of this book, faith is important to these two characters, even if Yasmín doesn’t believe marriage is only between a man and a woman, or if Bloom drives to temple. 

Food for thought … 

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Should you read it?

For sure! Especially if you are/were a band, theatre or choir kid. And though I’ve not lived there, just having visited, I do feel like Meriano has captured the Houston vibe. She’s certainly captured the post-pandemic vibe of being in school again. It Sounds Like This manages to be easy-breezy, yet deep; really specific, yet universal; and really fun, yet dark — all at once. 

(I mean, let’s be real, though, Anna Meriano had me at Lizzo). 

Content warnings

It Sounds Like This is out on August 2. You can pick up a copy at your local indie book store or library. 📚🎺🥁


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