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Girl Out Loud

Girl Out Loud is a YA contemporary fiction novel by Emily Gale.

Kass Kennedy’s dad is On the Up, which means another chance at public humiliation in his quest to get her to superstardom. This time around he has decided she will audition for The X Factor.

Yep.

Only problem? She can’t sing. Not well, anyway.

She doesn’t have on-stage charisma, since she doesn’t have any desire to be on stage. At all.

But she realizes from experience that explaining this to her dad won’t do any good – though she’ll try.

In the end, Kass knows she’ll have to grit her teeth and get through it because it seems that these ideas he gets are the only thing that keeps him Up – otherwise she, her budding criminal mastermind little brother, and her quiet mother will be enduring the Dark Days of his sadness and depression.

They all know he has something – but he’s never agreed to be diagnosed or treated. And now she’s stuck auditioning in front of, potentially, the world’s definition of a “Mean Judge”. Simon Cowell himself.

Add all this to the sudden sour turn Kass’ longtime friendships are taking, Kass is left wondering if she has to let all the screaming she’s doing on the inside finally come out.

The contents of Girl Out Loud don’t really match the way it’s presented, unfortunately. It’s a bright pink book with a modern-looking, microphone yielding cover combined with a description on the inside jacket cover that leans more toward comedy than drama – not so much the case here.

I tried, and hopefully succeeded, to provide a more matching description above, as when I started Girl Out Loud I was ready for something fun, maybe frothy, and on the silly, amusing side. Because of that, from the outset I was thrown off.

Girl Out Loud is much more solemn than that. In it we are dealing with, essentially, childhood trauma and untreated mental illness in a parent, which is causing this British family – especially our main character – to be torn apart emotionally. Sound like buckets of giggles? Not really.

There’s nothing wrong with that, though. It’s just too bad that that was how it came across, to me anyway; when I picked it up to read. I hadn’t been in the mood for something somber at the time – perhaps that’s why I initially felt the first person voice of Kass sometimes felt forced. Because with a little bit of an adjustment of expectations, I began to feel that instead it was a realistic discomfort that I was sensing from her voice, which is at times riddled with self-deprecating humor.

Girl Out Loud was actually surprisingly engrossing as the family life comes apart at the seams and Kass as a character becomes relatable amidst the pain of life. This book is, in my opinion, the opposite of how it’s packaged. Here we have a serious, bittersweet, coming-of-age tale that really has nothing to do with auditioning for a popular singing competition.

Instead in Girl Out Loud we have a good, solid book that is highly redeemable and enlightening enough to be moving.

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