Title: Music From Another World
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: March 31, 2020
It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.
A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.
Tammy and Sharon were set up as penpals through their Catholic schools in 1977. Tammy lived in Orange County with a very religious family, while Sharon lived in San Francisco with her mother and brother. Sharon’s brother and Tammy are gay. Sharon and her brother help the gay community in San Francisco by supporting Harvey Milk’s campaign. When Tammy gets in trouble at her school, she runs away to the only person she knows who will support her, Sharon.
This story was devastating at times. Tammy’s aunt and uncle, who ran the church in her community, were so extreme and closed minded. They constantly bashed gay people, which Tammy had to listen to. She also had to work against the gay community to promote her aunt and uncle’s beliefs. It was so upsetting to see her go against herself in these ways.
One good thing about this story, is that the world is much more welcoming today. It isn’t a perfect situation for queer people today, but I think Tammy and Sharon would have a more positive place to live today. There are still people like Tammy’s aunt around today, but there is more positivity for queer people.
This was a great story!
Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
King, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Robin Talley studied literature and communications at American University. She lives in Washington, DC, with her wife, but visits both Boston and New York regularly despite her moral opposition to Massachusetts winters and Times Square. Her first book was 2014’s Lies We Tell Ourselves. Visit her online at robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.
Have you read Music From Another World? What did you think of it?