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Chin Music Rhubarb

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An inspiring tale of friendship, teenage love and fistfighting from an acclaimed, shortlisted author. When Layton O'Her's sick mother gives him her dying wish, he becomes so focused that he believes that all the trouble he's gotten into has come to an end. But as he embarks on his dream of making the high school baseball team, Layton realizes that there are insurmountable ob An inspiring tale of friendship, teenage love and fistfighting from an acclaimed, shortlisted author. When Layton O'Her's sick mother gives him her dying wish, he becomes so focused that he believes that all the trouble he's gotten into has come to an end. But as he embarks on his dream of making the high school baseball team, Layton realizes that there are insurmountable obstacles in his path. He fistfights his peers who hate his passion for baseball, his coach uses him for his own means and the girl he falls in love with is dating the starting left fielder. As misfortune and conspiracies gather against him, Layton is forced to confront his own behavior. Is he a baseball player, or a fistfighter? Along the way Layton finds friendship, love, the art of hitting and eventually himself.  CHIN MUSIC RHUBARB is a young adult, coming-of-age novel that confronts issues such as toxic masculinity, racism, sexism, white privilege and classism through an 80s lens. 


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An inspiring tale of friendship, teenage love and fistfighting from an acclaimed, shortlisted author. When Layton O'Her's sick mother gives him her dying wish, he becomes so focused that he believes that all the trouble he's gotten into has come to an end. But as he embarks on his dream of making the high school baseball team, Layton realizes that there are insurmountable ob An inspiring tale of friendship, teenage love and fistfighting from an acclaimed, shortlisted author. When Layton O'Her's sick mother gives him her dying wish, he becomes so focused that he believes that all the trouble he's gotten into has come to an end. But as he embarks on his dream of making the high school baseball team, Layton realizes that there are insurmountable obstacles in his path. He fistfights his peers who hate his passion for baseball, his coach uses him for his own means and the girl he falls in love with is dating the starting left fielder. As misfortune and conspiracies gather against him, Layton is forced to confront his own behavior. Is he a baseball player, or a fistfighter? Along the way Layton finds friendship, love, the art of hitting and eventually himself.  CHIN MUSIC RHUBARB is a young adult, coming-of-age novel that confronts issues such as toxic masculinity, racism, sexism, white privilege and classism through an 80s lens. 

40 review for Chin Music Rhubarb

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    Looking at the cover and if you get the title, (although I’m a baseball fan, I had to look it up), you might think this is a book about baseball and it is, but it’s about much more. I’m not a regular reader of YA fiction, but I do love a good coming of age novel, especially when the main character has heart, especially when the story is about more then just a young person finding themselves, especially when the story reflects the times it’s set in, and especially when I want to know what ultimat Looking at the cover and if you get the title, (although I’m a baseball fan, I had to look it up), you might think this is a book about baseball and it is, but it’s about much more. I’m not a regular reader of YA fiction, but I do love a good coming of age novel, especially when the main character has heart, especially when the story is about more then just a young person finding themselves, especially when the story reflects the times it’s set in, and especially when I want to know what ultimately happens to that character because I came to care about him. Fifteen year old Layton O’Her can pitch and swing a bat, but he also can swing his fists and these talents sometimes collide. Some tough things are happening in his life and he’s angry and grieving . He keeps what has happened in his family to himself - “no excuses” he thinks . He has a promise to keep to make the team and play ball. Friendship, first love, a fabulous English teacher, and of course baseball make all the difference in Layton’s life as he carries burdens no one wishes on a young boy . His loyal gang Furble, Sucio, Monique, Gina , none of them seem to fit in . There’s some typical teenage angst, but most of the angst and stress are caused by the curve balls that get thrown at you in life . (Couldn’t resist the baseball metaphor.) The have and have nots, racism, questions about sexual identity are some of the hefty issues dealt with here. It’s funny at times, sad at other times, particularly the times when Layton is searching for a way forward, a way to heal. It’s ultimately an uplifting story that does one’s heart good. (As an aside I found this poignantly personal in a way. I have a 16 year grandson, who himself experienced loss and his desire to play on the high school baseball team last year didn’t come to fruition. He made the team, but COVID struck and when schooling became virtual, there were no sports. Tryouts for this year’s season are coming up . Fingers crossed he makes the team . I’ll be there watching if he does and he’ll have me to answer to if he engages in any “chin music rhubarb”.) I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Davis Stamford

    I wasn't sure what I was getting when this ARC came in the mail, but it turned out to be a well-written YA story that mixes drama with some hilariously comedic dialogue. It explores the lives of poor but lovably dysfunctional high schoolers in the 1980s. A very thoughtful and smart story, its main theme is about baseball, but in reality it's mostly growing up. I laughed a lot. And bubbled up a little too (I'm not crying you are). The protagonist is a kid who wants to play for the high school bas I wasn't sure what I was getting when this ARC came in the mail, but it turned out to be a well-written YA story that mixes drama with some hilariously comedic dialogue. It explores the lives of poor but lovably dysfunctional high schoolers in the 1980s. A very thoughtful and smart story, its main theme is about baseball, but in reality it's mostly growing up. I laughed a lot. And bubbled up a little too (I'm not crying you are). The protagonist is a kid who wants to play for the high school baseball team. Layton's own mother calls him "grumplestiltskin" due to his anger issues (he fistfights just about everyone), but it takes his friends Furble, Sucio and particularly his savvy girlfriend Monique to help him begin to understand that just because he's homeless and his mother has cancer doesn't mean he shouldn't see things from other people's perspective too. Monique, who is of mixed race and is never taken seriously because of her skin color and gender, Furble, who is Black and struggles with his own sexuality and Sucio, who is Latino and just wants to fit in in a culturally white-dominant society, are the perfect friends for Layton (who other kids call "white trash") to notice that he's not the only one with a difficult life. Together, along with Gina (probably the funniest of them all), the group of friends experience the emotionally volatile ups-and-downs of high school life, yet fight loyally for each other. Their arcs are dramatic, yet the endless punchlines make it a memorable journey. Really enjoyed this one. Highly recommend. I've been a fan of this author for quite a few years now and this one really jumps off the page. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to the author for providing a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. “Chin Music Rhubarb” is author Eamon Loingsigh’s first venture into YA fiction. His previous novel, “Divide the Dawn: Fight” definitely did not fit into the YA category, so I was curious to read this novel, and am grateful to have received one. First of all, I am not a baseball fan ( not really a sports fan at all, really) and “Chin Music Rhubarb” is very much a baseball book. It tells the sto Special thanks to the author for providing a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. “Chin Music Rhubarb” is author Eamon Loingsigh’s first venture into YA fiction. His previous novel, “Divide the Dawn: Fight” definitely did not fit into the YA category, so I was curious to read this novel, and am grateful to have received one. First of all, I am not a baseball fan ( not really a sports fan at all, really) and “Chin Music Rhubarb” is very much a baseball book. It tells the story of fifteen year old Layton O’Her, a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks who, after making a promise to his dying mother, finds an escape in baseball. There are many baseball terms in this novel (and I can say, I learned the meaning of “chin music rhubarb” after reading this novel. It made no sense to me before) and the bulk of the plot relates to playing, practicing or talking about baseball. Layton is a strong character, and he has all the makings of a great protagonist. From a broken home, desperate to escape his circumstances but with no idea how, he uses anger to make himself seen. Layton is a character any young person can get behind, especially those who share his love of baseball. I loved how he overcame his struggles, and could see the humanity and realism in his character. Layton comes to terms with himself, and helps others along the way, as he uses baseball as a way to relate to others and to find himself. Using sports as a backdrop, “Chin Music Rhubarb” is a coming-of-age story with a realistic character. Layton narrates the entire story, and this is very evident through the juvenile slang and the relaxed language that permeates through the book. Although the “baseball parts” of the novel did not connect with me, it was easy to connect to Layton and to root for him. I can see this novel being a great read for an avid, passionate baseball fan. Also, for anyone who is looking for a YA novel that covers world issues (such as homosexuality and race) without being preachy, “Chin Music Rhubarb” is worth a try. This story is for a certain kind of audience, but I think having a male narrator in YA novels is so uncommon these days, that Loingsigh’s newest release will find popularity with its intended crowd.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    It is a special occurrence when you find a book that completely hooks you, makes you fall in love with the characters, and lingers long after the last page. When I first received Chin Music Rhubarb as a beta reader, I was skeptical that I would be drawn in by a book about baseball, particularly as someone who knows little about the sport. And how wrong I was! From the first page, I was hooked. Not only is this captivating YA coming-of-age novel outrageously funny and witty, but it is also poigna It is a special occurrence when you find a book that completely hooks you, makes you fall in love with the characters, and lingers long after the last page. When I first received Chin Music Rhubarb as a beta reader, I was skeptical that I would be drawn in by a book about baseball, particularly as someone who knows little about the sport. And how wrong I was! From the first page, I was hooked. Not only is this captivating YA coming-of-age novel outrageously funny and witty, but it is also poignantly heartfelt as it pulls the reader into a world of baseball, 80s pop culture, and a cast of instantly likable characters struggling to get by in a world of obstacles and barriers. Well-developed characters are at the heart of the story. Main character Layton “Dance” O’Her, nicknamed for the fights he is always getting into, has a prideful chip on his shoulder, but beneath his prickly exterior is a boy struggling to hold his family together and survive in a town that sees him as an outcast. Layton’s closest friends, Sucio and Furble, help when they can. They grew up together in Crimebook, a poor neighborhood full of washed-up Grovers and troubled teens living in a place called the Flop. A friendship forged by hilarious joking banter and Godfather quotes, the trio has been inseparable since their Little League days. And I have to mention Monique as well—a strong-willed and compassionate black girl struggling to become a journalist in a society that doesn’t offer many opportunities. But nothing holds Monique back. When Layton is introduced to her kindness as well as her blunt way of speaking, he falls head over heels—and so does the reader. What follows is an intimate journey that takes the reader through the ups and downs of high school life as Layton navigates team conflicts, the distrust of his coach, the realities of homelessness, a crooked reporter, and the tragedy of terminal illness, all while trying to protect his sister and win over Monique. There are so many wonderful things I could say about Chin Music Rhubarb—the themes, the characters, the craft of the writing are all phenomenal—but I don’t want to give too much away. The experience of reading this book was incredibly special, and everyone who reads it needs to experience the magic for themselves. What I will say is: Read this book! I recommend it to anyone and everyone without reservation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eamon Loingsigh

    I wanted to write about some experiences I’ve had in life being the kid who was descriminated against due to perceived class. I know that the struggle of women and people of color take precedence these days, but classism in the United States is much more prevalent than anyone is willing to admit. I believe that is because people who are in the lower classes do not accept it, and reach upward, denying where they came from. It’s hard for me to admit that I grew up poor and under-privileged. I get I wanted to write about some experiences I’ve had in life being the kid who was descriminated against due to perceived class. I know that the struggle of women and people of color take precedence these days, but classism in the United States is much more prevalent than anyone is willing to admit. I believe that is because people who are in the lower classes do not accept it, and reach upward, denying where they came from. It’s hard for me to admit that I grew up poor and under-privileged. I get it. As Americans, we believe in democracy, which means one person, one vote. But in reality we live in an oligarchy where laws, culture, status, opportunity... are all determined from the top down. We are bombarded by ads from rich companies that want you to value their products, these same rich companies spend billions lobbying congressmen/women and media is owned by big business, which shows you what music is cool, what news you should hear about (and not hear about) and frames arguments in a certain way that benefits the owning class. For the rest of us? We have to “fake it til we make it.” To do that we live beyond our means, wear gold, lie about our income... all in an attempt to be among the influencers or the owning class. People really are descriminated against and excluded due to the way they act, where they live, what education level they are. Not just what color and/or sex they are. And this story emphasizes these things. I realize that people will disagree and continue to deny classism exists in America, but perception is everything. It’s there if you look. But if you’re so caught up with the messages that you are fed, well, it’s like it’s not even there. Certainly, the owning class does not wish you to see their advantage over you. Check out some videos Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlmYD... And here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJHQ4...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I am so glad that I found this book. I am a mother with an incurable lung disease. I have a daughter who is about to start her 7th Fastpitch season. She is so much like Layton that it touches my soul. She is always caring for me. It has taken her years to open up to her team about my illness. Truly the only reason she ever said anything... is because I show up to every game and I am 35 and drag a huge green oxygen tank everywhere. Softball gives her a place to release that pent up pain and it ma I am so glad that I found this book. I am a mother with an incurable lung disease. I have a daughter who is about to start her 7th Fastpitch season. She is so much like Layton that it touches my soul. She is always caring for me. It has taken her years to open up to her team about my illness. Truly the only reason she ever said anything... is because I show up to every game and I am 35 and drag a huge green oxygen tank everywhere. Softball gives her a place to release that pent up pain and it makes her happy. When she is winning😉 It also gives her a place to fight. She doesn't fight others. She fights her inner demons. I won't go into the other similarities because it will give too much away. The lessons and Loyal friendships. The struggles of finding who you are and learning to accept it. Such a great read! This book is amazing, truly amazing. I didn't want it to end. 5☆+

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Cotto

    From one of my favorite writers comes a gem of a coming of age story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Goodreads giveaway winner Held my interest throughout

  9. 5 out of 5

    Derek Flynn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danimal

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathi

  13. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tanya C.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bailey S.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jen Schlott

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mortisha Cassavetes

  18. 5 out of 5

    Astrid Galactic

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  20. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tess Marie

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Osife

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Adams

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bettye Short

  29. 4 out of 5

    James Cozzarelli

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve Kemp

  31. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Soderstrum

  32. 4 out of 5

    Maxine

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  34. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  36. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Demsky

  37. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

  38. 5 out of 5

    Eric Schaefer

  39. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  40. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Stone

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