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The Music of What Happens

Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (246 ratings)
This title is included in Audible Escape

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Publisher's Summary

From the award-winning author of Openly Straight, a story about two teens falling in love over a summer that throws everything possible to keep them apart. 

Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever. 

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart. 

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites. 

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk - to get the thing they want the most.

©2019 Bill Konigsberg (P)2019 Scholastic Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Through the empathetic performances of two narrators, we meet gay Arizona high schoolers Jordan and Max, and their families and friends....  Froomkin and Perez's heartfelt portrayals ensure that listeners are in sync with the characters as they deal with everything from a traumatic sexual encounter and mental health issues to toxic masculinity and figuring out how to be true to oneself." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Beautiful

This book was amazing. It resonated with me on so many levels. I cannot even explain, but it is truly heartbreaking, heart wrenching and beautifully glorious in every way.
The audible narrators were beyond perfect for telling this story. They could not have been more perfectly casted.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Entertaing read!

Bill is so good at character development. I was a little sad when it ended because I wanted more of them. The readers also did a good job of adding to the uniqueness of the characters and added to how the listener experiences the story. It was a cute and touching story which facilitates an interesting conversation about the dynamics of sexual consent.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Want my money back!

The recording sounds like a overloaded stereo! I couldn’t stand listening to it! I had to stop!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyable, heart warming

I really enjoyed this book. The characters had a lot of interesting dimensions. I recommend it to anyone interested in gay fiction that’s more about relationships than hard core sex.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Must read/listen!

Truly beautiful and real story. The volume was jumping a little from chapter to chapter, but other than that - I couldn’t stop listening. Many thanks to author!

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Intense

You can tell pretty early on some of the stuff that's going to happen, the not so good stuff. Foreshadowing and all that. you can prepare for it, but you still kind of have to follow them on that emotional trip and digest it alongside them. Which is kind of amazing it's digestible at all, these experiences that will be traumatic and foreign to many/most, and familiar to some. I ache, but love books that help expose your mind to real problems and pains other people deal with so that your not so ignorant if it connects back to you later in life.

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Superb.

The Music of What Happens is a beautifully written story of two adolescent boys on the cusp of growing into men. Of finding yourself and your connections with others. Of families, both blood and made and how we support each other through the best and worst of times. Adults can be severely flawed, or not. Teenagers can be miraculous; and flawed. In the end it’s the people who support us who matter.
The voice acting was pitch perfect and the combination of words and narration made for a stunning listen.
This novel should be in every school library and should be read by parents as well.
Highly highly recommended.

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wonderful

another beautiful book by bill, a must listen if you're a fan of young teen gay romance

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Great story; HORRIBLE narrator (Froomkin)

I absolutely loved the story, and I absolutely despised Joel Froomkin’s narration. Read the book otherwise expect that horrible voice to interfere with the enjoyment of the story. Anthony did an awesome job, however.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Awe inspiring

This book tells the amazing story of life in all is missed turns, jackpots, and shortcomings. Truly the novel to read for a one of a kind look at masculinity, and matters of happenstance

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  • James Shaw
  • 07-16-19

Something is a little jarring

On paper, this is a book that I ought to have enjoyed given I like very similar books. However, I struggled to finish it, and when I did I was no longer invested.
The style where there are two narrators narrated by different people sounds like a good idea, but it gets really jarring when one does the other's voice as they're very different. Taken separately, the narrators do a good job; the switching is what raises the issue.

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  • Mr Dane P Casserly
  • 04-04-19

Wow just wow

Insane good. Shut up and click buy, you won’t regret it. Love the ending wish it was like 20 hrs longer.

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Profile Image for Mo Sytsma
  • Mo Sytsma
  • 03-20-19

One of my top books of the year!

If I could, I would give all the stars in the night sky to Bill Konigsberg and The Music of What Happens. This YA LGBT novel worked its way into my heart and refuses to let go. With a unique and refreshing cast of characters who aren’t afraid to recognize their shortcomings or tackle the problems life throws at them, this book is probably my top read of the year so far.

One of the real assets of this story was how REAL it was. It wasn’t a stereotypical “summer love” young adult novel. This book showed that sometimes, life sucks. Life is hard, lousy things happen to good people, and not everyone can deal in a constructive and healthy way.

But Max and Jordan forged an unlikely friendship which morphed into a fledgling love and learned to lean on each other, which I found heartwarming and beautiful. I loved that they were able to open up to each other and become a source of strength for one another. My momma bear instincts kicked into overdrive for these two and I have adopted Jordan as my fictional son and want to take care of him forever.

The Music of What Happens deals with some heavy topics and honestly, certain parts were difficult to read. My heart hurt for these boys, especially as I could draw some parallels between their experiences to my own youth (back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth). But I felt they were handled respectfully and thoughtfully.

I listened to the audiobook (of course), and the narration was outstanding. Anthony Rey Perez was a new narrator for me, and he embodied Max perfectly. Joel Froomkin is, well…Joel. Need I say more? If you’ve known me more than a minute, you know my feelings there. Of course, he nails the main characters, but even beyond that, his portrayal of Jordan’s “wives” had me snort-laughing so many times throughout the story. He made even those “secondary” characters so vivid and entertaining, I loved them and couldn’t help but become attached to them.

Konigsberg wrote a story that was heartwarming and silly and serious and authentic and wonderful. I don’t have enough superlatives to describe how I felt about this book. I honestly loved it and feel it truly is a book that so many people, young, old, gay, straight, and anything in between could benefit from reading.

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  • Boberic
  • 03-03-19

Touching story

Flawed-but-likeable characters, engaging performances, a deftly-plotted storyline with touching/tender moments, humour and believable character development.

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  • Brendan
  • 05-29-19

Grower

One of the voices was very cringey at the beginning that I nearly stopped listening. But it grew on me and I enjoyed it overall. Not a complex storyline but nice to listen to in the car.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-19

The Music of What Happens

A nice story though ending far too soon. Great characters, good plot. Worth the listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-31-19

Another incredible creation

Another great story by Bill Konigsberg, so far I've loved every one of his creations. They always tackle really important issues while at the same time making me laugh the whole way through.