Thank you Terminal Tours and Scholastic Press for an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.
A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds! Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.
For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown.
So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean “Mercury” Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it.
Until they’re not.
Denver begins to realize that she’s trapped in Merc’s world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken.
Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl’s dreams can be used against her — and what it takes to fight back.
Praise for MUTED
★ “Charles’s heartbreaking novel in verse shows the harsh realities of the music industry and runs parallel to the real-life #MuteRKelly and #MeToo movements. . . . Hand this to fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Tiffany D. Jackson.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“A groundbreaking tome.” —Entertainment Weekly
“This is one of those books that when you finish, you stare at it for a little bit and need a moment before you can do other things – it is that good.” —BuzzFeed
“This novel ripped from the headlines is a necessary reckoning that amplifies the voices of Black and brown girls.” —Kirkus Reviews
“MUTED blends the music of beautiful poetry with a powerful and relevant message. A stunning book.” —Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree and Young People’s Poet Laureate Emeritus
“A captivating and unflinching view into the dark corners of the music industry where souls are crushed in the silence between songs.” —Lamar Giles, Author of Spin and Not So Pure and Simple
“An intense ride that unfolds lyrically, MUTED is thrumming with emotion, tension and, most of all, heart. A heart-pounding page-turner, from start to finish.” —Debbie Rigaud, New York Times bestselling author of Truly Madly Royally and co-author of the Hope series
“Mesmerizing! Raw and honest, Charles captures the voice of a bright young star trapped between a dream and a nightmare in this devastatingly beautiful novel-in verse—a page-turning lyrical journey!” —Kim Johnson, best-selling author of This Is My America
Before I begin my review, I want to disclose the following trigger warnings:
- Sexual Abuse
- Mention of Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Manipulation of minors
Muted is more than a book, it is a whole experience. Written in verse, Muted felt raw, real and tore at my heartstrings. As a person who watched Surviving R. Kelly, I found similarities in Muted to some of the survivor stories on the show. Muted will not be an easy read, but it is a book everyone should read. I hope it is a book that will start more of those tough conversations. While Muted is complex, it is also filled of three young girls finding themselves and learning to not be silenced. It shows that the voice can be a powerful tool of power, a tool of hope. Muted follows the story of Denver, Dali and Shakira; three young teens who are shooting their shot to fame and finds that opportunity when they perform for Sean ‘Mercury’ Ellis before one of his concerts. Their song leads them to Sean inviting them to future recording session and an experience that is more nightmare than dream.
Denver is a spunky force of nature. She is also a teen who is understanding her sexuality [she is a lesbian] while tackling insecurities about her body. She is also in love with her best friend Dali. Dali is an ambitious, go-getting and strong-willed. She is also a girl who is unsure of her future, loves and misses the family members that are not around her and what do what she can to make it all a little bit easier. Shakira is a bit shy, reserved and a realist. She is also caring, loves and worries about her friends and will not let anyone make her feel like she has to do something she doesn’t feel right doing. All three girls have such strong characteristics and great personalities. All three are also teen girls struggling with experiences that most teens their age do not deal with and are trying to silence those who want to silence their voice. You find yourself rooting for each girl to find some form of happy ending after the experiences they faced. You ache when they are going through trauma and emotions added on top of normal teenager things.
The one thing that was odd was the pacing of the story. There was a lot not said in the beginning that was jumbled into the end. While the pacing was weird, it wasn’t hard to follow the story and understand what was happening in each point. This story managed to pull at my heartstrings while simultaneously wanting to hug each girl. It is a rollercoaster of a read as you learn the crimes Sean’s commits, the cost the girls are unaware of when signing to be the next big thing and the overwhelmingly destructive nature the music industry can have on those who are not prepared going in but have to fight to leave out alive. Tami Charles knows how to write a story that allows the reader to walk in their shoes while also understanding the larger message the story wants to portray.
Overall, it was such a good read. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. It is a book I would recommend to anyone.
“ I muted the monster once and for all”
About the Author
TAMI CHARLES is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books for young readers, including instant New York Times bestselling All Because You Matter. In her teens and early twenties, Tami enjoyed a taste of fame as a member of an all-girl R&B trio. They performed for Boyz II Men, BET, Showtime at the Apollo, and had a one-hit wonder on the radio. For more information on Tami and her books, visit tamiwrites.com.