Sofi and the Bone Song

S. & S./McElderry. Apr. 2022. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534484368.
Gr 7 Up–Sofi has worked all her life to succeed her father’s position as a lute-playing Musik—one of only five musicians permitted to perform in her perpetually wintery kingdom. At the last minute, her audition is upstaged by Lara, a completely untrained outsider, and Sofi’s father kills himself rather than train Lara to play his beloved bone lute. Convinced that Lara cheated at her audition, Sofi sets off with her on the tour required of all new Musiks with the intention of exposing Lara’s treachery. The relationship that builds between the two girls along the way slides naturally from enemies to gentle crushes, with the romance functioning as a secondary plot rather than the driving force of the book. Although aspects of the big reveal are apparent from the start of the book, there is also crucial foreshadowing cleverly hidden in the nuance of magical lore in Sofi’s world that results in a genuinely surprising plot twist. The cast is racially diverse, and there is strong queer representation.
VERDICT Perfect for teens making the transition from middle grade to young adult books, although older readers are likely to desire more emotional complexity from both the romance and central plot.

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