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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 S 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.


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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 S 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.

30 review for Muted

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    I just didn't vibe well with the writing. Okay, story in verse. It's fine as long as it tells a good story. What's more, it's fun to read a story in this format. But for this one, I feel the writing was trying too hard. And I just couldn't like any of the characters, especially the main character from whose point of view which the story is being narrated. Trigger warnings for assault. However, I would say it wasn't handled properly. Moreover because of the way how the characters perceived it and t I just didn't vibe well with the writing. Okay, story in verse. It's fine as long as it tells a good story. What's more, it's fun to read a story in this format. But for this one, I feel the writing was trying too hard. And I just couldn't like any of the characters, especially the main character from whose point of view which the story is being narrated. Trigger warnings for assault. However, I would say it wasn't handled properly. Moreover because of the way how the characters perceived it and the way it's been told. And my least favorite parts were the numerous number of times the writing showed some racist remarks now and then unnecessarily. It was infuriating at times. The plot is all over the place and the characters weren't realistic enough. The feelings and emotions lacked the punch. The writing lacked the connection the plot and the characters demand. The ending wasn't that powerful or satisfactory.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olivia (Stories For Coffee)

    Phew. This book took me completely off guard. I picked this up on a whim, hoping to find a novel highlighting the darker side of the music industry, and Muted did exactly that. Told in verse, we follow Denver and her two friends as they try to break into the music industry with the help of a famous rapper who, right off the bat, seems too good to be true. There we see how Denver gets deeper and deeper into a horrific situation she cannot escape. While the first act of the novel was slow moving a Phew. This book took me completely off guard. I picked this up on a whim, hoping to find a novel highlighting the darker side of the music industry, and Muted did exactly that. Told in verse, we follow Denver and her two friends as they try to break into the music industry with the help of a famous rapper who, right off the bat, seems too good to be true. There we see how Denver gets deeper and deeper into a horrific situation she cannot escape. While the first act of the novel was slow moving and a bit hard to get into, once youโ€™re into the book, you wonโ€™t be able to put it down. This really opened my eyes to the horrors and manipulations of the music industry and made me wonder how many people have to deal with this mistreatment on a daily basis to have their talents recognized. Definitely caution yourself before picking this up because it deals with a lot of heavy topics. AT A GLANCE - Hard hitting YA novel told in verse - Explores the darker side of the music industry - Haitian, lesbian protagonist TW: Manipulation, gaslighting, eating disorder, body image, drug use, rape, assault, gun violence

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is my first time reading a book in verse. I had previously listened to Clap When You Land, so I'm happy to have both experiences under my belt. I think both have something to offer in terms of strengths over the other, but I believe I will choose to listen to novels that are written this way in the future. I realize this has nothing to do with the book itself (more the format), but wanted to include it in the event it will help you decide how to consume this book! Before I get into my review This is my first time reading a book in verse. I had previously listened to Clap When You Land, so I'm happy to have both experiences under my belt. I think both have something to offer in terms of strengths over the other, but I believe I will choose to listen to novels that are written this way in the future. I realize this has nothing to do with the book itself (more the format), but wanted to include it in the event it will help you decide how to consume this book! Before I get into my review, I want to mention that I am ignorant and I didn't really think too much about what "true story" this was based off of when I began to read it. I kind of just started the book and as I was reading, I saw some similarities to R Kelly, but didn't give it that much more thought. After finishing the book and doing some googling...WOW. This book has to be based off of R Kelly. If you are familiar with that story and anything in it might be a trigger warning for you - I urge you to consider if you really think you should read this. There are ALOT of trigger warnings. Sexual abuse, manipulation of minors and young women, sexual assault and the list could go on. So please be forewarned. Now to discuss my rating. I'm kind of stuck on how to properly assign a number to this. I think it's a very powerful account and was written very creatively, but the pacing was a challenge for me. It took a good chunk of time for the story to develop and then you got to the end and everything happened really fast (and I mean a lot was put into the end) that it was a little overwhelming and then it just ended. So the book was very back heavy. Some things were resolved in the end, but not enough for me. This isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it was a little jarring. I was fortunate to discuss the book with a friend (who had also read it) before writing this review and we both struggled with just how much was put into the back end and why. After doing my google research on who I believe this story to be crafted after, I sort of understand more about why the author decided to include that much in the end. (I'm sorry if I'm being vague, I don't want to ruin the story for those of you who want to read it.) I've also seen comparisons of this to Grown, which is on my list, but I have not had the opportunity to read yet. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to read, but I don't know enough about YA books of like minded content to tell you where this ranks. All I can do is tell you its worth your consideration and that it comes with a lot of heavy material. I'm really glad to have read it and for the experience it provided me as a reader and I look forward to the author's next book. Thanks to Scholastic YA for the advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review. Review Date: 02/10/2021 Publication Date: 02/02/2021

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach

    What a fantastic book to start my year off with! I devoured it in a day... I typically don't care for books written in verse, but it just WORKED in this novel. I absolutely loved it. Do yourself a favor and mark your calendars for February 2nd and pick up this book. You will not be disappointed. 5 huge stars! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ What a fantastic book to start my year off with! I devoured it in a day... I typically don't care for books written in verse, but it just WORKED in this novel. I absolutely loved it. Do yourself a favor and mark your calendars for February 2nd and pick up this book. You will not be disappointed. 5 huge stars! ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

  5. 5 out of 5

    Oyinda

    Oh. My. God. What did I just read? *book 46 of 2021 Oh my God oh my God oh my God Wow. Denver, olive juice. Olive juice forever ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ I am so sad and wow, I can't even. Many cheers to anticipated reads that meet and surpass our expectations. I saw this book on Bookstagram and immediately after reading the blurb, I thought of *that book*, which a lot of people have also compared Muted with. *that book* is actually a fave of mine and I was really curious to read Muted and after finding it was a novel-in- Oh. My. God. What did I just read? *book 46 of 2021 Oh my God oh my God oh my God Wow. Denver, olive juice. Olive juice forever ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ I am so sad and wow, I can't even. Many cheers to anticipated reads that meet and surpass our expectations. I saw this book on Bookstagram and immediately after reading the blurb, I thought of *that book*, which a lot of people have also compared Muted with. *that book* is actually a fave of mine and I was really curious to read Muted and after finding it was a novel-in-verse, I knew I had to read it. This book is heavy and dark and heartbreaking. Trigger warnings for rape, grooming, kidnapping, forced imprisonment, rape, recorded rape of a minor, fatphobia, and homophobia. Denver is looking for her big break. When her idol rolls into town and offers her that, she canโ€™t simply turn him down. Along with her two friends Dali and Shak who make up their girl group, they start recording sessions with Merc behind their parents and guardiansโ€™ backs. Denver is too excited to notice the red flags, but Shak tries to warn Denver and Dali, and ultimately pulls out of the arrangement. Dali and Denver move on without Shak but before long, the rose-colored glasses fall off. Denver doesnโ€™t have the best home life and is desperately looking for an out so sheโ€™s all too ready to leave everything behind to follow Merc on tour. Her parents have a somewhat rocky marriage and her dad lives in another state, and they only see him on the weekends. Her big sister is the pride of the family and sheโ€™s not always there when Denver needs her. Denver feels like the odd one out in her family of overachievers because sheโ€™s not doing great in school and she doesnโ€™t want to follow the path set out for her. Dali and Denver soon find themselves tangled in Mercโ€™s world with no end in sight. Denver is put on an involuntary diet to reach the perfect size for โ€œstardomโ€. When they realize that things are not as they seem, itโ€™s a little too late. Denver finds herself in a race against time to get out of Mercโ€™s grip. There was a plot twist/reveal in this book that just shattered my heart to pieces and I found myself crying in a restaurant where I was listening to the audiobook and I am crying again, now, writing this review. This was so heavy to read and I just couldnโ€™t believe it. I love that this is a YA book, and I wish this book would get into the hands of the targeted audience, because itโ€™s not so far fetched from reality. The audiobook was narrated by the author, and she did such an amazing job with the narration. The audiobook itself featured songs in the book that were written by Denver, with sound effects and all of that, so it was really amazing. I loved reading this book so much, and I highly recommend it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Again

    Wow! I'm honestly speechless. The ending hit me so hard. I don't know what to say. At some point while reading MUTED, you just end up reading as quickly as possible, speeding through the verse in quest of what's going to happen to Denver & Dalisay. (Also. It's queer. Denver is a lesbian. I'm kind of mad no one shouted about this because Denver is in love with her best friend and they have an entire code word to say "I love you" to each other and y'all just stayed quiet about this???) MUTED is bot Wow! I'm honestly speechless. The ending hit me so hard. I don't know what to say. At some point while reading MUTED, you just end up reading as quickly as possible, speeding through the verse in quest of what's going to happen to Denver & Dalisay. (Also. It's queer. Denver is a lesbian. I'm kind of mad no one shouted about this because Denver is in love with her best friend and they have an entire code word to say "I love you" to each other and y'all just stayed quiet about this???) MUTED is both soft and tender, sharp and jagged. The connection between Denver and Dalisay (and Shakira too) is so beautiful & unbreaking. But we also see the manipulation and abuse by the musician who ends up mentoring them, and it's cruel and horrifying. The girls themselves become sharp and jagged because of what they experience, and this becomes part of their weaponry. It's not a a perfect story. It can be harsh and terrifying and you end up aching for the characters, yearning that the find a way out of the situation they're in. But it is evocative and real and something that completely envelops you in Charles' prose. I would definitely highly recommend MUTED if you're looking for a book not just to read, but to experience. If you're looking for a story that has beautiful and ugly moments, and immerses you in them all. Also! Please check out the content warnings because some serious stuff happens in the story. Content Warnings: (view spoiler)[abuse (physical & mental) from a 30-something man towards 18 y/o girls, forced dieting for weight loss, sexual assault (& recording it), death/murder, manipulation, forced isolation from outside world, homophobia (parent calling being a lesbian "just a phase") (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    I listened to the audiobook version of this story which was narrated by the author. Muted follows the journey of seventeen-year-old Denver who is ready for R&B stardom and gets the chance to join Sean "Mercury" Ellis on tour and become his protรฉgรฉ. While Denver and her friend Dali are instantly entranced by the studio time and wild parties, their friend Shak finds Merc creepy and is suspicious. Denver and Dali soon run off despite their parent's skepticism and soon find that Merc's world isn't al I listened to the audiobook version of this story which was narrated by the author. Muted follows the journey of seventeen-year-old Denver who is ready for R&B stardom and gets the chance to join Sean "Mercury" Ellis on tour and become his protรฉgรฉ. While Denver and her friend Dali are instantly entranced by the studio time and wild parties, their friend Shak finds Merc creepy and is suspicious. Denver and Dali soon run off despite their parent's skepticism and soon find that Merc's world isn't all glitz and glamor. It also is rigorous fitness routines, strict diets, creating a certain image, blatant favoritism, and abuse. The narration is a strong point that made it easy for me to listen to this story in one day. Tami Charles brings enough flavor that I can easily picture these girls. As far as the original songs while Tami Charles' has a good voice the audio in those sections sounds rough especially compared to the rest of her narration. It kind of sounded like those pieces were done on an old recorder. The production team dropped the ball in those parts. This story is so fast-paced that I find you don't really get the chance to reflect about what is going on with Denver and these girls. Like something majorly scary would happen and then we'd be right back to talk about Denver's diet which basically consists of water and air towards the end. And I think that takes away some of the impact and connection for me. And since this audiobook is split into 4 parts instead of chapters it's not easy for me to just go back listen to a section. I also don't feel like we had enough background about her family life to understand how she got sucked into this environment. The main conflict between Denver and her parents seems to be that they're strict Haitians that want her to go to college. Plenty of Caribbean parents are like that. I don't think that only makes girls go run to predators. Sure she had some body images issues as well but it's not like he was telling her that he was giving her a self-esteem boost either. Also this will be inevitably compared to Grown by Tiffany D Jackson which released last year due to the similar premises. Which while it's important to tell these stories about predators this was way too ripped from the headlines. To the point where I'm like this is just the R Kelly story so I should just go finishing watching Surviving R Kelly instead. Plus that story is still so fresh. I recall just a few years ago when the stories about R Kelly and those girls he was holding hostage were in the headlines on almost a daily basis and people were trying to make excuses about how those were consenting young women because they refused to see past the music. The only thing that really surprised me was the ending but even that was rushed and didn't have the full impact it could've. Overall it was a little too much like a simplified version of a known story to be impactful. https://womenofcolorreadtoo.blogspot....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Be careful what you wish for. Denver and her two besties have a dream of becoming the next Destiny's Child. They hatch a plan to play their demo for Sean "Mercury" Ellis (Merc) when he performs in a concert near their home. A rollercoaster ride begins as the three are invited to sing their original songs in Merc's recording studio -- with his name on the credits. Told in verse, this new release shows the shadowy side of the music business and how fame may not be all its cracked up to be. The for Be careful what you wish for. Denver and her two besties have a dream of becoming the next Destiny's Child. They hatch a plan to play their demo for Sean "Mercury" Ellis (Merc) when he performs in a concert near their home. A rollercoaster ride begins as the three are invited to sing their original songs in Merc's recording studio -- with his name on the credits. Told in verse, this new release shows the shadowy side of the music business and how fame may not be all its cracked up to be. The format worked well and lent itself to the seamless introduction of Denver's original lyrics. Would like to hear how this is done in audio form. As a parent my heart hurts for the way Mercury separates his chosen ones from those who love them. Thank you to Scholastic Press and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Avery Silverberg

    Thank you Scholastic for the free ARC! OH MY GOD, how can one book be so beautiful and tragic at the same time? If you loved Tiffany Jackson's GROWN, along with Elizabeth Acevedo's THE POET X - this one's for you. I'm so thankful this was a novel in verse. Not only was it so well written, but it also made the EXTREMELY dark subject matter much easier to get through. I also really appreciate how self-aware and mature our protagonist Denver is; she is somewhat spectacle of the R Kelly archetype in Thank you Scholastic for the free ARC! OH MY GOD, how can one book be so beautiful and tragic at the same time? If you loved Tiffany Jackson's GROWN, along with Elizabeth Acevedo's THE POET X - this one's for you. I'm so thankful this was a novel in verse. Not only was it so well written, but it also made the EXTREMELY dark subject matter much easier to get through. I also really appreciate how self-aware and mature our protagonist Denver is; she is somewhat spectacle of the R Kelly archetype in this novel named Merc from the beginning - but his brainwashing (both his & the publics) is so real, you are with her the entire time. ALSO THIS ENDING DESTROYED ME. ***** Just as much as Tiffany D. Jackson's endings. And that is saying a lot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Calyssa

    oh my god

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight

    4.5 stars. This book was not what I was expecting, but not in a bad way. I knew that it would tackle some tough issues, but as the story progressed, it became a thriller (or horror, perhaps used loosely -- I'm not the arbiter of genres). But, it was a complex story. It wasn't just one person's rise to fame or anything, it also dealt with friends and family and sexuality, and some deep evils that actually exist in this world. (I have some thoughts -- I don't think they're really spoiler-ey but it 4.5 stars. This book was not what I was expecting, but not in a bad way. I knew that it would tackle some tough issues, but as the story progressed, it became a thriller (or horror, perhaps used loosely -- I'm not the arbiter of genres). But, it was a complex story. It wasn't just one person's rise to fame or anything, it also dealt with friends and family and sexuality, and some deep evils that actually exist in this world. (I have some thoughts -- I don't think they're really spoiler-ey but it tells you about one of the people who is the "bad guy", so I'll put it in a spoiler just in case) (view spoiler)[ I don't think I've wanted to hurt a character nearly as much as Merc. Like I almost had to put down the book because he was so skeezy... utterly repulsive. The fact that people like him exist is what makes him so sinister. I nearly put down the book because it upset me so much, but I'm glad I continued. (hide spoiler)] This one is verges on spoiler territory though (view spoiler)[ The ending was so shocking. I thought of a few different things that might be happening (considering how the story was told and everything) but I completely did not see the ending coming. There is so much unresolved but that's how it has to be -- it's the only realistic way that this type of ending could play out. I do think that a sequel from Dali's POV would be very interesting. (hide spoiler)] CW: sexual assault, abuse, disordered eating, death, blood (mensuration and injury)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    Unfortunately, when a book comes out months after a previously released book, with the same premise, debuts, readers will unfairly compare them. As a reader, I'm not immune to this action. While I recommend this book, as it has its merits, I'm not as fond of it as the previously released book (which I won't name). Why? As I read, the story felt diluted. If you're going to "go there" with a topic, don't sugarcoat your writing. Reach the heights the story deserves. 3/5 Unfortunately, when a book comes out months after a previously released book, with the same premise, debuts, readers will unfairly compare them. As a reader, I'm not immune to this action. While I recommend this book, as it has its merits, I'm not as fond of it as the previously released book (which I won't name). Why? As I read, the story felt diluted. If you're going to "go there" with a topic, don't sugarcoat your writing. Reach the heights the story deserves. 3/5

  13. 4 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    This book is phenomenal. Iโ€™m so thankful to be part of the blog tour and share something special with yโ€™all soon!

  14. 5 out of 5

    โœจRosรฉ Readsโœจ

    4.5 Stars! This was such an emotional read and this hit me hard, especially the ending. Well written and an important topic to spread awareness on - would highly recommend! But there are many trigger warnings, so please look them up before reading if you think something may be triggering for you in this book. Side note, the reason they said "olive juice" is the sweetest thing! (Listening to the audiobook and physically reading it at the same time was great!) 4.5 Stars! This was such an emotional read and this hit me hard, especially the ending. Well written and an important topic to spread awareness on - would highly recommend! But there are many trigger warnings, so please look them up before reading if you think something may be triggering for you in this book. Side note, the reason they said "olive juice" is the sweetest thing! (Listening to the audiobook and physically reading it at the same time was great!)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    5 oh my God that ending was SO incredible and I couldnโ€™t put this down all day STARS. Awesome readalike to Grown by Tiffany Jackson. Denver is a fabulous protagonist and I canโ€™t wait for everyone to read this when it comes out on February 2. LOVE the title and the idea of muting all the monsters. And the cover!!!! I am struggling w the age recommendation. Scholastic and Kirkus both say ages 12+. I would say 13 or 14 as a minimum. Drinking, drugs, abuse, rape all mentioned, although not as explici 5 oh my God that ending was SO incredible and I couldnโ€™t put this down all day STARS. Awesome readalike to Grown by Tiffany Jackson. Denver is a fabulous protagonist and I canโ€™t wait for everyone to read this when it comes out on February 2. LOVE the title and the idea of muting all the monsters. And the cover!!!! I am struggling w the age recommendation. Scholastic and Kirkus both say ages 12+. I would say 13 or 14 as a minimum. Drinking, drugs, abuse, rape all mentioned, although not as explicitly as in Grown. Thank you to Scholastic for the ARC. Sharing immediately w Kidlitexchange for more reviews!

  16. 5 out of 5

    leo(neil)

    CHECK OUT MY BLOG my thoughts once upon a time, there were three girls with voices of gold, most of them were bold, and ventured into a world both familiar and strange. among the girls was denver lafleur, whose musical roots began as a child, her father a great influence. the story follows denver and her friends, their beginning and their ending, and everything that happened in between. originally, i was planning on just promoting the book, because i thought i wouldnโ€™t finish reading it on time. he CHECK OUT MY BLOG my thoughts once upon a time, there were three girls with voices of gold, most of them were bold, and ventured into a world both familiar and strange. among the girls was denver lafleur, whose musical roots began as a child, her father a great influence. the story follows denver and her friends, their beginning and their ending, and everything that happened in between. originally, i was planning on just promoting the book, because i thought i wouldnโ€™t finish reading it on time. hence, i messaged one of the organizers of the tour. bless her, when she replied that i should give the book a chance. it was my first time reading a novel in verse, and at first, i couldnโ€™t grasp the story and what it meant to deliver. it was a struggle, but as i read and read, i finally felt a connection and was amazed at how emotionally charged the content was. it made me remember the feeling i had when i read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. everything i never want an artist to experience happened here, e.g. stolen art, controlling management, body shaming, sexual assault, and other related matters. these can be very triggering, therefore if you have such experiences, i highly recommend that you should be careful when you read the book. this is not me preventing you from reading, this is just me warning. like i mentioned before, this read was my first novel in verse. it fascinated me to the point where i want to write this idea i have in verse as well. although, i still have a lot to learn. for now, iโ€™m doing some research and self-studying. CHECK OUT MY BLOG

  17. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. For 2021, I vowed to step outside of my comfort zone and experience new genres, new authors, and expand my literary prowess. I vow a lot of things that I never get around to doing. But I succeeded so far this year. Told in verse, MUTED follows seventeen-year-old Denver who wants nothing more than to make it big in the music industry. When she and her two friends take a chance in exposing themselves to a legendary R&B singer, they quickly f I received a free copy of this book for my honest review. For 2021, I vowed to step outside of my comfort zone and experience new genres, new authors, and expand my literary prowess. I vow a lot of things that I never get around to doing. But I succeeded so far this year. Told in verse, MUTED follows seventeen-year-old Denver who wants nothing more than to make it big in the music industry. When she and her two friends take a chance in exposing themselves to a legendary R&B singer, they quickly find themselves drowning in promises of stardom, all at the hands of a man who may or may not have their best interests at heart. We spiral down with Denver, down, downโ€ฆ Sheโ€™s stepping into the viper pit of drugs and parties and manipulative men. As the story progresses, we see hints of danger screaming at us from short bursts of the narrative. But the glam and the pretty words only cover up a lethal reality that crescendos into one of the most heartbreaking stories Iโ€™ve ever read. MUTED is based on true events, and one can make theories into what events, but most of us can make an educated guess. Muted is the first novel Iโ€™ve ever read in verse, and I cannot express how floored I am. Are all novels in verse this astounding? Have I been sleeping on this style of narrative poetry? If Iโ€™ve been this closed off in my reading, what else am I missing? I digressโ€ฆ In closing, I cannot say I loved this book for it stands as an example to the dark side of the music industry and it is not all happy endings and rainbows and butterflies, but I appreciated the message and the beauty of its words. Rating: ***** QUEER REP (Denver is a lesbian) TRIGGER WARNING for rape, kidnapping, homophobia, drug use, forced weight loss, and violence

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Alvarez

    This was so incredibly powerful. That ending was a punch in the gut.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamele (BookswithJams)

    Oh my gawd this book is phenomenal. Written completely in verse, I havenโ€™t read anything like this in a long time. I just finished and am sitting here blown away by this story, which is inspired by real events, which is just amazing. It is the story of Denver, Dali, and Shak, three high school friends who have a dream of making it big and singing together, with Denver leading the way as the writer for their songs. She gets them together and they sing their way into the sights of one of the bigge Oh my gawd this book is phenomenal. Written completely in verse, I havenโ€™t read anything like this in a long time. I just finished and am sitting here blown away by this story, which is inspired by real events, which is just amazing. It is the story of Denver, Dali, and Shak, three high school friends who have a dream of making it big and singing together, with Denver leading the way as the writer for their songs. She gets them together and they sing their way into the sights of one of the biggest R&B stars of their time, Sean โ€œMercuryโ€ Ellis, and he takes them under his wing, giving them anything their hearts had ever dreamed of. It all seems too good to be true and so it is easy to overlook the subtle hints of things going awry. Haters are gonna hate, amiright? But then things continue to be just a bit off, and Denver can no longer ignore what is in front of her and she suddenly has a pretty big choice to make - follow her dreams or decide if it is worth it. And the ending??? I HAVE NO WORDS. I am still shook. This is such a great book, my first YA of the year and what a way to kick it off. Highly recommend this one. Thank you to Scholastic Press for the advanced copy to review, and I am so happy to be participating in #ReadMuted week with @ireadya.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie (readingwordsmith)

    Thank you to Scholastic Press for the free ARC copy of Muted. Before diving into my review, please note that it is based on my opinion of the book. As you consider my thoughts, remember that you are allowed to have different feelings about this book. I was sent a free copy by the publisher Scholastic Press as an early review copy, however, that does not affect or influence my review of the book. If you haven't read it yet, feel free to pick up a copy and form your own opinion on it. Synopsis: Mut Thank you to Scholastic Press for the free ARC copy of Muted. Before diving into my review, please note that it is based on my opinion of the book. As you consider my thoughts, remember that you are allowed to have different feelings about this book. I was sent a free copy by the publisher Scholastic Press as an early review copy, however, that does not affect or influence my review of the book. If you haven't read it yet, feel free to pick up a copy and form your own opinion on it. Synopsis: Muted by Tami Charles is a YA novel following Denver and her two close friends, Shak and Dali who are trying to fulfill their dreams of becoming famous singers. Inspired by the R. Kelley events, this book explores the dark, hidden side of the music industry. It shows how a young girlโ€™s dreams are used and exploited against her. Content Warnings: Sexual Assault, Emotional Abuse, Eating Disorder, Body Shaming, Rape, Grief, Murder, Toxic Relationship Note: This book contains mature and alarming content, please proceed with caution. Review: Muted by Tami Charles takes place over the span of a short two-hour plane ride. The entire story is told in flashbacks after all the events have occurred. I loved that we get some good character development on Denver, Shak, and Dali before things start to happen. It really helped me understand their motivations and what really drove them to seek success in the music industry. I love that the side characters were well fleshed out and developed. I really felt like I could empathize and understand where Denverโ€™s, Shakโ€™s, and Daliโ€™s families were all coming from. There are subtle clues throughout the entire story that I picked up on before any of the main cast that revealed the true nature of Sean โ€œMercโ€ Ellis. I was surprised it took Denver SO LONG to see what was actually happening. She just closed her eyes to reality because of her DESPERATE desire to become famous which is understandable but frustrating. One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the fact that it was written in verse. It didnโ€™t feel like flowery poetry which was what I feared going into the book. Instead, it was a brilliant way of telling the story. I also loved that the songs that were written in the story, were included and it really helped immerse me into Denverโ€™s world. The format that the story was written in was really consumable and easy to read which also helped to immerse me into the story and the events that were occurring. The entire plot was leading up to a climax and an UNFORGETTABLE ending. There were a few moments of shock leading up to the main reveal in the story, but they did NOT prepare me. I bawled my eyes out for a good hour after reading the last 30 pages of the story and discovering where the airplaneโ€™s final destination was. This book really illustrated the problems with relationships that feature a MAJOR imbalance in power. It also showed the corrupt nature of the music industry in a way Iโ€™ve not seen anywhere else. I will continue to reflect on this story and recommend this book for a long time to come. Rating: 5/5 stars (also 5/5 in terms of tears) Author: Tami Charles Genre: YA, hard-hitting contemporary Publisher: Scholastic Press

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ladzinski

    Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: abuse (physical, sexual, mental), kidnapping, gaslighting, manipulation, abuse, forced dieting and weight loss, homophobia, sexual assault A dream turns into a nightmare as Denver sees an opportunity to get into the R&B industry through superstar Sean โ€œMercuryโ€ Ellis. It starts off with the lavish trappings of fame like parties and studio time, but devolves into manipulation and abuse as Merc tries to stamp out Denverโ€™s voice, while also showing the ways Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: abuse (physical, sexual, mental), kidnapping, gaslighting, manipulation, abuse, forced dieting and weight loss, homophobia, sexual assault A dream turns into a nightmare as Denver sees an opportunity to get into the R&B industry through superstar Sean โ€œMercuryโ€ Ellis. It starts off with the lavish trappings of fame like parties and studio time, but devolves into manipulation and abuse as Merc tries to stamp out Denverโ€™s voice, while also showing the ways she can fight back. With parallels to the 2019 documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, this novel in verse does not pull any punches, exposing the dark side of the music industry and the ways young women can fight back. The prose in this novel is simply breath-taking. I didnโ€™t feel so much as I was reading it, but being taken on this harrowing journey with Denver and her friends, Dali and Shakira. My heart hurt for them from the very first page. There is so much optimism for escaping the lives they knew, only to be sucked into a nightmare. The complexity of parent-child relationships particularly resonated with me, with Denver showing enough maturity to reason with her parents, while they have their own plans for her. What makes this story so horrifying is just how self-aware Denver is from start to finish. Watching Merc pull her tighter into his circle, and the glimpses of messages not received were effective in giving a holistic portrayal of the trap Denver and her friends fell into. Denver is a lesbian, and the way Charles presented her relationship with Dali both romantically and platonically was a shining ray of hope through all the ugliness. The female friendships in general were so powerful, showing the unbreakable bond that can be formed between girls, despite this all-too-powerful abuser trying to tear them apart. All the small details of how they interact in real life and via technology felt true to life, which makes the isolation later on in the story that much scarier. Heartbreaking with clear parallels to stories of survivors of R. Kelly, this novel-in-verse pulls no punches while also depicting the power of female friendship and resilience.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Book 12 of 2021: 4 out of 5 Stars ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ I Read YA & the author ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ an advanced physical copy ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ. "...๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐€๐…. ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ˆ'๐ ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐›๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ง ๐ฉ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐›๐ญ๐ฌ." Written in verse and interspersed with lyrics, texts, emails, & news articles, ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž๐ is a poetic and potent contemporary with a powerful message that demands to be heard. Inspired by real-life events, this music-infused story is centered on a trio of teenaged girls that are tak Book 12 of 2021: 4 out of 5 Stars ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ I Read YA & the author ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ an advanced physical copy ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ. "...๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐€๐…. ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ˆ'๐ ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐›๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ง ๐ฉ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐›๐ญ๐ฌ." Written in verse and interspersed with lyrics, texts, emails, & news articles, ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž๐ is a poetic and potent contemporary with a powerful message that demands to be heard. Inspired by real-life events, this music-infused story is centered on a trio of teenaged girls that are taken under Grammy-winning Sean "Mercury" Ellis's wing after a chance encounter at his concert. The 39-year-old "King of R&B" agrees to mentor the group & seemingly make all their dreams come true. But Denver & the girls will soon learn that fame isn't for the fearless, and if they want to be the next "big thing" they'll need to make some serious sacrifices along the way. But unfortunately Merc's payments aren't industry standard -- or are they? Covering everything from parental abandonment & sexual orientation to the desire to fit in versus chasing your dreams, Denver's story is one that many readers will see themselves in. However, I should warn you that this YA novel takes a stark dive into the dark side where abuse and assault run rampant. Denver is constantly dodging heavy issues until her ultimate showdown with the big bad. Fierce until the end, this story will shock you and stay with you long after that final reveal. If you loved Jackson's ๐˜Ž๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ, I encourage you to pick up this equally eloquent take on the flaws of fame -- or, more accurately, the battles with the beasts lurking within the industry. Charles does an incredible job of demonstrating the lengths people will go to ensure their voices are heard while encouraging all of us to ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ we encounter in our daily lives. TW: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse/assault, rape, pedophilia, confinement, kidnapping, drug use, death, gun violence, body shaming.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    Thanks to Scholastic for sending me an ARC of this to review! I will say, the premise reminded me a lot of Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. But both authors take different approaches, making each of these stories their own. Muted is a novel in verse, and this is where this story excels. The format of the verse works well in portraying Denver's story. First of all, this book has a great, diverse cast, both in race and sexuality. There was nothing about the characters in this book being LGBTQ, but Denv Thanks to Scholastic for sending me an ARC of this to review! I will say, the premise reminded me a lot of Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. But both authors take different approaches, making each of these stories their own. Muted is a novel in verse, and this is where this story excels. The format of the verse works well in portraying Denver's story. First of all, this book has a great, diverse cast, both in race and sexuality. There was nothing about the characters in this book being LGBTQ, but Denver is a lesbian, a little in love with her best friend Dali. The characters are probably one of the best aspects of this book. You can feel how badly Denver wants to make it, and what she's willing to do to get there. Even if she starts putting herself in danger to do it. Merc is the kind of creepy scumbag we've seen in the music industry before. He's so realistic that it hurts, honestly. The pacing of this book is also spot on. As Denver gets further and further into Merc's control, you just want to keep turning the pages. You want to do anything you can to save Denver from the path you know she's going down, but you can't. Formatting the novel in verse really helps with the pacing; it made me speed through this book. Even though I knew where this plot was going, the end was a bit shocking. But it definitely has the effect Charles was going for. If you're looking for a powerful, own voices thriller to read this February, definitely check this one out! ------- Told in verse, this book is timely and powerful. More in a review to come later this week!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anya

    Content warnings: (view spoiler)[ Rape, homophobia, emotional abuse/manipulation, grooming, forced weigh loss, physical abuse, sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping, murder (hide spoiler)] I knew before I was even a quarter of the way through this book that it was going to be 5 stars. The writing just hit me in a way that I knew this story would knock me on my ass, and by the end, I was a wreck. One of my favorite things about novels in verse is that when they are done well, they are done SO WELL Content warnings: (view spoiler)[ Rape, homophobia, emotional abuse/manipulation, grooming, forced weigh loss, physical abuse, sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping, murder (hide spoiler)] I knew before I was even a quarter of the way through this book that it was going to be 5 stars. The writing just hit me in a way that I knew this story would knock me on my ass, and by the end, I was a wreck. One of my favorite things about novels in verse is that when they are done well, they are done SO WELL. They manage to pack such a punch with so few words, and it is something that takes such skill and nuance. For me Elizabeth Acevedo has always been the top tier of that. Tami Charles has vaulted herself up to that same level with this book, in my opinion, because MUTED is a powerful, lyrical, painful, deeply personal book that already had me in tears 80 pages in. I was on edge throughout the book, yelling at Denver in my head because, as an adult, I could very obviously see that Merc was an abusive, manipulative asshole. And while it took her longer to come to that conclusion, especially without any other trusted adults around, it definitely made for a tense reading experience. But Charles very accurately and believably portrayed the mindset of an 18-year-old girl: at that point in your life, you think you know everything. Youโ€™re technically an adult, so you take that to heart, and think you know enough to take care of yourself. This is especially true of Denver because sheโ€™s watching her parentsโ€™ marriage fall apart. They canโ€™t even get their own lives under control, so who are they to tell her what to do? So many things happened in this book that I did not expect, and I do not want to spoil anything, so all I can say is that you do NOT want to miss this book! I have been waiting for a book to take my breath away this year because my reading has been somewhat lackluster in 2021 so far, and this one knocked it out of the park. Definitely pick it up when it releases on February 2nd! I have read some of Charlesโ€™ other books, but this is my first of her YA novels. After this, I am definitely interested in getting into some of her other YA works, and I canโ€™t wait to see what else she does in the future. Hopefully more novels in verse! Those are some of my favorite things to read, and this is one of the best.

  25. 4 out of 5

    oohlalabooks

    Wow this book is beautifully written in verse and yet itโ€™s heartbreaking. Iโ€™m sure itโ€™s every young fan/artistโ€™s dream when you see your favorite singer in concert, you go back stage ask for a picture, a signature or if youโ€™re like Denver you sing your song hoping itโ€™s good enough for a recording contract. Seventeen year old Denver and her friends, Dali and Shak, meet Sean โ€œMercuryโ€ Ellis one of the biggest R&B singer. Merc gives them parties, perks, and the glam but all for a cost thatโ€™s unbekn Wow this book is beautifully written in verse and yet itโ€™s heartbreaking. Iโ€™m sure itโ€™s every young fan/artistโ€™s dream when you see your favorite singer in concert, you go back stage ask for a picture, a signature or if youโ€™re like Denver you sing your song hoping itโ€™s good enough for a recording contract. Seventeen year old Denver and her friends, Dali and Shak, meet Sean โ€œMercuryโ€ Ellis one of the biggest R&B singer. Merc gives them parties, perks, and the glam but all for a cost thatโ€™s unbeknownst to the girls. Eventually Merc is accused for keeping girls hostage and parents have come forward with accusations of their own. In response to this Merc and his team states these girls have signed contracts, that all relationships is professional, are molded to become recording artists. Music is Denverโ€™s life, reality is sinking in and sheโ€™s seeing the bad parts. Does she give up her dreams? I highly recommend this book! Thank you to I Read Ya, Scholastic Press and Tami Charles for a gifted copy. This is my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ericka

    2/10/2021 Man oh man. Review to come. I am unwell. 2/12/2021 I think I need to say that I read this book in under 24 hours. Thats including me sleeping, commuting to work, working the full day, and everything in between. THATโ€™S how captivating this book is. Denver Lafleur wants to pursue her dreams of being a singer. Her ambitions push her and her friends to seek out the help and attention from a music mogul Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc gives them everything: money, perks, and the studio time theyโ€™v 2/10/2021 Man oh man. Review to come. I am unwell. 2/12/2021 I think I need to say that I read this book in under 24 hours. Thats including me sleeping, commuting to work, working the full day, and everything in between. THATโ€™S how captivating this book is. Denver Lafleur wants to pursue her dreams of being a singer. Her ambitions push her and her friends to seek out the help and attention from a music mogul Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc gives them everything: money, perks, and the studio time theyโ€™ve been wishing for. It was all seemingly worth it until the sacrifices began to outweigh the rewards. I wasnโ€™t sure if I was in a mental space to enjoy this book as it is inspired by true events but like most difficult reads, it is necessary. When I read the synopsis, it reminded me of Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson and her take on how the music industry preys on young women but Tami Charles went another route and I commend her for it. The first thing that drew me in was writing style, Iโ€™m a sucker a book written in verse. The next thing was the pacing. This book was not drawn out at all. We got right to the nitty gritty. This book was not written to be enjoyable. It was not pleasant whatsoever. Even so, I need more people talking about this book. This one AND Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. These books are a call for people to listen, believe and protect Black women! Also, shoutout to the Haitian representation in this book, we love to see it. Bon Bagay!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I was enjoying this one well enough until the end, when it took a turn that made me really appreciate the choices Charles made. They weren't easy ones, but the book was made stronger for them. Pair this novel in verse with Grown, as both follow young girls of color desperate to make it in the music industry but who are manipulated and taken advantage of by older men. I was enjoying this one well enough until the end, when it took a turn that made me really appreciate the choices Charles made. They weren't easy ones, but the book was made stronger for them. Pair this novel in verse with Grown, as both follow young girls of color desperate to make it in the music industry but who are manipulated and taken advantage of by older men.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Johnson

    Once upon a time, the gray-eyed monster kissed his prey in the still of the night, not knowing that come morning, that one kiss would birth another monster far more powerful, its fangs and claws dripping with honey-coated venom. Denver is a young, aspiring musician in a three-girl singing group. On their way to stardom, the girls fall into orbit with a music executive, Merc, who promises to make their dreams come true but turns out to be a manipulative monster. Tired of being abused and taken adv Once upon a time, the gray-eyed monster kissed his prey in the still of the night, not knowing that come morning, that one kiss would birth another monster far more powerful, its fangs and claws dripping with honey-coated venom. Denver is a young, aspiring musician in a three-girl singing group. On their way to stardom, the girls fall into orbit with a music executive, Merc, who promises to make their dreams come true but turns out to be a manipulative monster. Tired of being abused and taken advantage of, Denver has to choose between her music career or exposing the truth. MUTED is a powerful YA novel written in verse. With unrelenting fervor and lyrical prose, Charles addresses consent, violence and sexual harassment within the music industry. This is a dark, heartbreaking story that can be hard to stomach at times but itโ€™s very real and is a story that needs to be told. It packs a punch and goes out with a bag. I highly recommend. CW: sexual assault, mental/physical abuse, homophobia, abusive food control

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dallas Strawn

    I really enjoyed Muted. This was a tough read; very hard to swallow. Iโ€™m not a big fan of books in verse, but it did work pretty well in this story, although there were several times in the book where I was just begging for more detail and dialogue. It needed more to the narrative imo. And it has to be said that this is a lesser quality version of Tiffany Jacksonโ€™s masterpiece Grown. I think if I had not read Grown I would have loved this a lot more....but the plot here is like 65% the same (of I really enjoyed Muted. This was a tough read; very hard to swallow. Iโ€™m not a big fan of books in verse, but it did work pretty well in this story, although there were several times in the book where I was just begging for more detail and dialogue. It needed more to the narrative imo. And it has to be said that this is a lesser quality version of Tiffany Jacksonโ€™s masterpiece Grown. I think if I had not read Grown I would have loved this a lot more....but the plot here is like 65% the same (of an R. Kelly like musical icon taking an underage girl under his wing and then brainwashing her and essentially kidnapping her until things go very wrong....) some of the same things went down verbatim in Muted how it happened in Grown and it just felt kinda of a ripoff to me.... but.... the book was still a good read. (Spoiler alert- Trigger warnings: rape, physical abuse, mental abuse, murder)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Singrey

    โ€œAnd Iโ€™m sorry, Papi. For lying. For leaving. But not for the music.โ€ Wow! This book rips your heart out and stomps on it. Denver has big dreams of making it in the R&B world with her three-girl singing group. So when the King of R&B is playing nearby, she thinks itโ€™s her chance. She may be in a crowd of hundreds of girls clambering to get his attention, but she and her friends are the only ones singing. When a backstage invite leads to an invitation to record, Denver and Dalisay are over the moon. โ€œAnd Iโ€™m sorry, Papi. For lying. For leaving. But not for the music.โ€ Wow! This book rips your heart out and stomps on it. Denver has big dreams of making it in the R&B world with her three-girl singing group. So when the King of R&B is playing nearby, she thinks itโ€™s her chance. She may be in a crowd of hundreds of girls clambering to get his attention, but she and her friends are the only ones singing. When a backstage invite leads to an invitation to record, Denver and Dalisay are over the moon. Only their friend Shak keeps seeing red flags. Sheโ€™s the only one to not sign the contract and run away to live with Merc in Atlanta. The girls are so set on getting their big break, theyโ€™re willing to ignore giant red flags. They canโ€™t have their phones or internet access or even see each other so they can โ€œfocus.โ€ He controls what they eat so they can have the star image. They only see #teammerc crew, who are forbidden to talk to them. Anytime they start to rebel, he takes them to a club or introduces them to a celebrity they would have never met otherwise or gives them a splashy, expensive gift. Finally, theyโ€™re so far in itโ€™s hard to see a way out. The language is beautiful and powerful, and I was pulled into Denverโ€™s head. I could see why she made every choice she did, even when they were the wrong ones. Of course, the news stories about R Kelly were running through my head while reading this. The author has music industry experience, performing at events with Boyz II Men and others, which I think makes the story richer. This is one that will stay with you for a long time. Thank you to the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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