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Who Put This Song On?
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Who Put This Song On?
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"Unflinchingly irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreakingly honest." —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Poet XIn the vein of...
"Unflinchingly irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreakingly honest." —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Poet XIn the vein of...
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  • "Unflinchingly irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreakingly honest." —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X

    In the vein of powerful reads like The Hate U Give and The Poet X, comes poet Morgan Parker's pitch-perfect novel about a black teenage girl searching for her identity when the world around her views her depression as a lack of faith and blackness as something to be politely ignored.

    Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she's in therapy. She can't count the number of times she's been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her "weird" outfits, and been told she's not "really" black. Also, she's spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there's that, too.

    Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat—and it's telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?

    Loosely based on her own teenage life and diaries, this incredible debut by award-winning poet Morgan Parker will make readers stand up and cheer for a girl brave enough to live life on her own terms—and for themselves.

    "Morgan Parker put THIS song on—and I hope it never turns off." —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

    “A triumphant first impression in the YA space.” —Entertainment Weekly

    “An incredibly heartfelt, deep story about a girl's coming of age.” Refinery29

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Susan

     

    This is a story about Susan. Draped permanently on the back of Susan’s chair is a sweater embroidered with birds—­that type of lady. She has this thing I hate, where she’s just always medium, room temperature. Susan looks like a preschool teacher with no emotions. She smiles, she nods, but she almost never laughs or speaks. That might be the number one thing I hate about coming here. She won’t even laugh at my jokes! I know that life with me is a ridiculous hamster wheel of agony, but I’m kind of hilarious, and I’m just trying to make this whole situation less awkward.

     

    I’m the one who begged for my first session, but I was desperate, and it was almost my only choice. Now that I’m actually doing this, I hate it. I just want Susan to buy my usual pitch: I am okay. I am smart and good. I am regular, and I believe in God, and that means I am happy.

     

    By the way, of course my therapist’s name is Susan. It seems like everyone I meet, everyone telling me how to be, is a Susan.

     

    I don’t trust a Susan, and I don’t think they trust me either.

     

    I don’t like Susan, but I want to impress her—­I’m usually so good at it.

     

    But this is what I mean about the bird sweater. I know the bird sweater is awful, and just uncool and unappealing in every way—­it doesn’t even look comfortable. But other Susans like it, and generally all Susans do. It is a sensible piece of clothing; it is normal, and it makes sense. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if I liked the sweater, if I just wore the fucking sweater and didn’t make such a big deal out of everything?

     

    This Is a Story About Me

     

    This is a story about me, and I am the hero of it. It opens with a super-­emo shot of a five-­foot-­nothing seventeen-­year-­old black girl—­me—­in the waiting room at my therapist’s office, a place that I hate. It’s so bright outside it’s neon, and of course the soundtrack is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco, because I have more feelings than anyone knows what to do with.

     

    The smell in here is unlike any other smell in the world, some rare concoction of pumpkin pie–­scented candles and every single perfume sample from the first floor of Macy’s. I bet Susan Brady LCSW decorates her house with Thomas Kinkade paintings and those little figurines, cherubs dressed up for various occupations, I don’t know. The other thing I hate about coming here is the random framed photo of, I believe, Bon Jovi on the coffee table, which also features a wide assortment of the corniest magazines of all time.

     

    (White people love Bon Jovi. When Marissa and I went to Lake Havasu with Kelly Kline, because that’s what white people do here in the summer, Bon Jovi was the only thing her family listened to—­that freaking scratched-­up CD was actually stuck inside the thing on their boat. I had a moderate time at “the Lake,” except for when I had to explain my summer braids to Kelly and Marissa, for probably the eight hundredth time, to justify why I didn’t have a hairbrush to sing into. They made me sing into a chicken leg because of course. I was also shamed for not knowing any Bon Jovi lyrics. That was around this time last summer, but it feels like a past life.)

     

    (Another thing I hate about coming here is how I have to think about everything I’ve lost, everything I’ve done...

About the Author-

  • Morgan Parker is the author of Magical Negro (Tin House Books 2019), There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (Tin House Books 2017), and Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night (Switchback Books 2015). Her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020 by One World. Parker received her bachelor's degree in anthropology and creative writing from Columbia University and her master's in poetry from NYU. Her poetry and essays have been published and anthologized in numerous publications, including the Paris Review; The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop; Best American Poetry 2016; the New York Times; and the Nation. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Find her online at morgan-parker.com and on Twitter at @morganapple.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 22, 2019
    In this thoughtful novel set against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election, Morgan Parker, 17, is a self-proclaimed “super-emo” kid living with anxiety and depression in Southern California. One of the only black kids at her conservative Christian school (a “high school inside a church inside a PacSun”), Morgan regularly experiences racist microaggressions from her teachers and peers, who comment on the music she listens to and the clothes she wears, and how “white” she acts. After a devastating event the previous summer landed her in therapy and on antidepressants, Morgan is determined to “get happy” and learn to love her “intense, ridiculous, passionate, and sometimes hilarious” self and her blackness, whatever it takes. When the election and a project for history class show Morgan how much she doesn’t know about black history, she decides to educate herself and her classmates on what it means to be black in America. Drawing on her own teen experiences, Parker (There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé for adults) adroitly touches upon matters of respectability and “presentableness,” stigmas against discussing mental health issues in the black community and among young adults, and internalized and societal racism. Ages 12–up.

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