Monday, November 5, 2018

THE SWEETEST SOUND by Sherri Winston

An absorbing novel about a girl with social anxiety who learns to speak up for herself.

a review of a middle grade novel about a girl with social anxiety who learns to speak up
Description from Amazon:

For ten-year-old Cadence Jolly, birthdays are a constant reminder of all that has changed since her mother skipped town with dreams of becoming a singing star. Cadence inherited that musical soul, she can't deny it, but otherwise she couldn't be more different -- she's shy as can be.

She did make a promise last year that she would try to break out of her shell, just a little. And she prayed that she'd get the courage to do it. As her eleventh birthday draws near, she realizes time is running out. And when a secret recording of her singing leaks and catches the attention of her whole church, she needs to decide what's better: deceiving everyone by pretending it belongs to someone else, or finally stepping into the spotlight.

The Sweetest Sound, written by Sherri Winston, was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2017.

Why you want to read this book… 

As an introvert myself, I could emphasize with Cadence’s fear of speaking to others and her anxiety about singing in public. It was interesting how her friends reacted differently after they discovered her singing ability.  I really wanted to read on to find out what happened to their friendships!

A funny thing happens when people are constantly trying to fix you: Eventually you believe you need fixing. Being everyone’s favorite makeover project was simply exhausting.


Birthday s are a problem for me.

If you’re a writer… 

You might want to take a closer look at this book to see how the author used sensory details to help create emotion and build character. Even though I’m not religious, I liked the way the author included references to God and the details of the religious side of Cadence’s life as part of her church. It helped her character to feel like a real person. There are some fun references to other middle grade books that writers may appreciate.

I breathed in air that was cold and tasted like winter, even though the calendar still said fall.

If you’re an educator…

I think this novel has the power to inspire quieter students who may be worried about taking risks to show their inner selves. The thread of Cadence learning to cope with the mom who left her and strengthening her relationships with other adults may strike a chord with some students.

Sometimes when the doorbell rang unexpectedly, for a brief second, I thought she’d be there. Waiting. And I never felt sure if the idea of her showing up made me happy or sad.

For another take on this book, check out Greg Pattridge’s review here.

There’s lots more middle grade fun for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. Yes, I did like this one! Your idea to inspire quiet students with it is a great idea. The cover is also a good attention grabber for potential readers. Thanks for your review.

  2. OK, I am definitely going to be reading this book, and soon! I am glad to learn that the author included details about God and Cadence's church because so many parents/grandparents I know are searching for this type of literature for their middle-graders. Thank you for mentioning those details in your review. I'm so glad you shared this book for MMGM. Thanks!

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I loved it too. Soft, sweet, and beautiful showing of this young girl's growth. Happy MMGM!

  4. I can relate too as an introvert. Sounds like a great read!

  5. I love how you included some different perspectives to view the book from and what it did well. I understand being afraid to get out of your comfort zone, and THE SWEETEST SOUND sounds like one I'd enjoy. Thanks for your review!

  6. I am really intrigued by the line, "And I never felt sure if the idea of her showing up made me happy or sad." This sounds like a book every library and classroom in the middle grades should have. I will be looking for this one. Thanks for the review.


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