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Music from Another World

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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…un 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.


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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…un 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.

30 review for Music from Another World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    Music from Another World , Robin Talley's new book, is a poignant look at sexuality, identity, courage, and music, set against the struggle for gay rights in the 1970s. “There’s no point worrying so hard you can’t breathe. Life’s short, and you’ve got to make sure there’s time to live it.” Sharon and Tammy are paired up as pen pals for a program implemented at religious schools across the state of California. Sharon attends Catholic school in San Francisco; Tammy attends a Christian school in O Music from Another World , Robin Talley's new book, is a poignant look at sexuality, identity, courage, and music, set against the struggle for gay rights in the 1970s. “There’s no point worrying so hard you can’t breathe. Life’s short, and you’ve got to make sure there’s time to live it.” Sharon and Tammy are paired up as pen pals for a program implemented at religious schools across the state of California. Sharon attends Catholic school in San Francisco; Tammy attends a Christian school in Orange County, where her aunt and uncle run a church that is very active in helping Anita Bryant try to legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians. Tammy is a lesbian, a secret she has only confessed to her diary, in letters she writes to Harvey Milk, the only gay person she knows of. Sharon, too, has a secret: her brother Peter is gay, and is becoming more and more involved in the fight for gay rights. Sharon and Tammy begin writing to one another, and little by little, they start depending on this one connection to someone outside of their constricting circle of life. They begin to trust one another with their secrets, their fears, and their wishes, which serve as comfort and in some ways, an added source of stress. As Tammy deals with her family’s increased fervor to strip gays and lesbians of their rights, Sharon starts to get involved with a women’s bookstore outside the Castro, and begins exploring an interest in punk and new wave music. When things come to a head in Tammy’s life, everything changes. Suddenly Sharon isn’t sure who she is or what she wants, and she knows she’s both tired of keeping secrets and yet scared of what revealing or accepting those secrets could do. This is a powerful book that is very well-researched and authentic to the time in which it is set. It’s definitely well-written, moving, and emotional but I found the family melodrama a bit excessive, and Sharon’s constant indecisiveness wore me down after a while. I’m grateful to have been part of the blog tour for this book. Inkyard Press and NetGalley provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    This completely amazing book tells the story of two teen pen pals in 1977, one of whom, Tammy, is a closeted lesbian. Tammy and Sharon, who lives in San Francisco, are matched through the California Pen Pal Project. Each attend strict religious schools, where the idea of being lesbian is an utter and complete sin. The story is told entirely through their letters, Sharon's diary entries, and Tammy's diary, which takes the form of letters to gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The two have their reli This completely amazing book tells the story of two teen pen pals in 1977, one of whom, Tammy, is a closeted lesbian. Tammy and Sharon, who lives in San Francisco, are matched through the California Pen Pal Project. Each attend strict religious schools, where the idea of being lesbian is an utter and complete sin. The story is told entirely through their letters, Sharon's diary entries, and Tammy's diary, which takes the form of letters to gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The two have their religious teachings to guide them, but Sharon is dealing with learning that her brother, Peter, is gay, and Tammy, of course, is working out her feelings about her sexuality. Through their letters, the two find a friendship and honesty they have no where else, especially as the anti-gay movement in America becomes stronger and stronger . This story is powerful and beautiful. I can’t think of a better book for these difficult days. I completely fell in love with Tammy and Sharon and their complicated, real lives. It took me a moment to adjust to the format of the book, which, as mentioned is told entirely in epistolary form. Once I did, I was off and running and never looked back. "I've never fit. Not at school. Not at church. Not anywhere, really." ~Sharon This is historical YA fiction at its absolute best--Talley's story is heartbreaking and touching. Reading about Tammy and Sharon, you realize that we've come a long way in terms of gay rights, yet it hurts knowing so many kids still feel as lost and scared as Tammy when coming out. The book has a terrifying relevance in these divided times. (For instance, Tammy's religious zealot aunt and her powerful anti-gay church--plop them in 2020 and we're off and running.) "I'm getting out of this place, Harvey. Even if I only manage to do it in my head." ~Tammy Watching Tammy and Sharon's friendship form over their letters is amazing; somehow Talley conveys so much through that format. These two come to life before our very eyes, and we become completely invested in these two vulnerable yet utterly strong and amazing young women. Their story is hopeful and heartbreaking and touches on religion and gay rights in such powerful ways. I found it to be timely, complex, and incredibly wonderful. We need more books like this in the world, and Tammy and Sharon will stay with me for quite some time. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Inkyard Press in return for an unbiased review. This book is available 3/31 and you can visit my blog to be a part of the blog tour for this wonderful title! Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  3. 5 out of 5

    sarah

    July 11th 2020: yep this is by far robin talley's best book in my opinion!! the audiobook was a great choice, i enjoyed both narrators, and the main characters go through actual character development! have i been let down by every robin talley book except for as i descended? yes. will i still read all her books? also yes

  4. 4 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    This queer historical YA was good, but not great. It's the kind of book I'd recommend to younger LGBTQ teen readers especially, but not to adults who read YA. The characters aren't especially dynamic and while there are some interesting historical details, I didn't feel like the period (late 1970s) really permeated the book. The dialogue, for example, was no different than you might see in a contemporary YA and there were a few times when I was like, uh, did teens in the 70s say that?? And the e This queer historical YA was good, but not great. It's the kind of book I'd recommend to younger LGBTQ teen readers especially, but not to adults who read YA. The characters aren't especially dynamic and while there are some interesting historical details, I didn't feel like the period (late 1970s) really permeated the book. The dialogue, for example, was no different than you might see in a contemporary YA and there were a few times when I was like, uh, did teens in the 70s say that?? And the epsitolary format was stretched very far into unbelievable territory. But I appreciate the topic of queer history in a book for teen audiences and the well done bisexual representation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ivana - Diary of Difference

    Wishlist | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest Music From Another World is a powerful and emotional read, about fighting for freedom and acceptance and the amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd where you can really fit in! Synopsis: 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 ultra religious aunt relentlessly organiz Wishlist | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest Music From Another World is a powerful and emotional read, about fighting for freedom and acceptance and the amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd where you can really fit in! Synopsis: 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 ultra religious aunt relentlessly organizes anti gay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk… until she has a real-life pen pal who changes everything. Sharon Hawkins will bond 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. But as anti gay 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. My Thoughts:  From the very first moment I read the synopsis, I knew I needed to read this book. It seemed filled with 1970's spirit, the movement to be brave and honest. The discussions in this book are through the form of letters or diary entries, which I really enjoyed. This writing style helped me get through the book extremely quickly.  We get to meet the two girls, Tammy and Sharon, both very different, but both struggling with the same issues of being contained in a world where they cannot be themselves. And even though this particular book is about the LGBTQ+ community, I believe this issue also applies to anything else in life, where people feel like they cannot be who they really are. Sometimes it is religion, other times it is political opinions, it could even be different hobbies where the person feels needs to contain in themselves because of the fear they might be frowned upon or laughed at. It is amazing to see how the world has progressed over the years, where people start feeling like they can finally express who they really are. It is not yet ideal, but I have a good feeling we are getting there. There is also the very powerful force of the internet, the advantage people didn't have before, to find people across the globe that share the same beliefs and interests.  Music From Another World really moved me, and it brought up various emotions. It talks about the struggles and the reprimands, but it also talks about real happiness and laughter. The amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd that accepts you and where you truly belong. I believe this is the first book with a plot that made me feel so happy, so sad and so angry at the same time.  Thank you to NetGalley and the HQ Team, for sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nev

    4.5 - Queer girls! Queer history! 1970s! Punk rock!! This just incorporated so many things that I love reading about. Tammy and Sharon live in different parts of California but are paired up as pen pals for a school assignment. They’re supposed to ask some basic questions to get to know one another. But their letters end up blossoming into a deep friendship. However, they haven’t told each other the full truth yet. Tammy is a closeted lesbian in an extremely religious family and Sharon is learni 4.5 - Queer girls! Queer history! 1970s! Punk rock!! This just incorporated so many things that I love reading about. Tammy and Sharon live in different parts of California but are paired up as pen pals for a school assignment. They’re supposed to ask some basic questions to get to know one another. But their letters end up blossoming into a deep friendship. However, they haven’t told each other the full truth yet. Tammy is a closeted lesbian in an extremely religious family and Sharon is learning about the gay community in San Francisco through her brother Peter. What will happen when they truly open up to one another? AAAHHHHHHHH. I just enjoyed this so much. Especially how much actual queer history was incorporated. The characters are trying to help get Harvey Milk elected, are watching Anita Bryant be a homophobic twat, and campaign against Prop 6 which was trying to get queer teachers banned from public schools. I’ve read about these events in non-fiction, so it was amazing to see this history incorporated into a YA novel. Also yesssssss to these girls finding solace in punk rock and enjoying the anger in the music. Because of the time period there are some rough things that happen. Homophobia, especially faith-based homophobia is extremely prevalent. However, I think this is a mostly hopeful book. The characters find community, grow into themselves, and fight for their rights. Although some bad things do happen, this isn’t a tragic book. No spoilers, but it ends on a high note. My only real complaint is that I wish the sections of the book that weren’t the letters between Tammy and Sharon weren’t diary entries, just a traditional narrative. The letters between the girls worked so well. But it just kept taking me out of the story that their diary entries were so long and had so much dialogue in them. It just didn’t seem believable. Overall I think this is a spectacular book. I definitely recommend checking it out.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Iris

    I received an ARC from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars I truly do not have the words to describe how utterly fantastic this book was. It just . . . wow. WOW. Wow a million times. I adored this book with my entire heart, and I want to go back and read it again from the start. I stayed up til three in the morning reading this, and had tears streaming down my face by the end. (good tears. despite the dark tone, this book is ultimately hopeful) I don't even know I received an ARC from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars I truly do not have the words to describe how utterly fantastic this book was. It just . . . wow. WOW. Wow a million times. I adored this book with my entire heart, and I want to go back and read it again from the start. I stayed up til three in the morning reading this, and had tears streaming down my face by the end. (good tears. despite the dark tone, this book is ultimately hopeful) I don't even know where to start when it comes to reviewing this book. It was so rich with emotions, and so real, and so beautiful. It's not by any means a light or easy book to read: it deals very heavily with homophobia and religion. But the way it handles it is so, so thoughtful and powerful. The writing was so compelling, I found myself sucked so completely into the story. I don't usually love epistolary novels, but it worked so well in this context, and it really gave the characters' voices a chance to shine through. Speaking of the characters! They were absolutely wonderful. Each and every one of them was so fleshed out, and I just felt all the feels over them. - Tammy: Tammy's character . . . holy fuck y'all. I loved seeing how she grew from this scared ashamed closeted gay kid to this really badass girl who was PROUD of her sexuality. It was such a hopeful storyline. And I absolutely loved how it showed her feeling so passionately that her identity wasn't wrong, but still being too scared to fight. It really showed the complexity of her character, and of the queer experience. - Sharon: Sharon was . . . a complex character. I honestly really hated her at first, but as the book progressed I realized that was because I saw so much of myself in her. (catch me regretting admitting to that later hfghhjhkgfhg) She was incredibly flawed, but her flaws were't overlooked. And she grew into such an incredible person. (view spoiler)[Her journey from a slightly homophobic brat who made it all about her to a very self-aware person to realizing she was bi was just . . . so well done. I saw so much of my own experiences in her, especially the way she was drawn to the queer community even before realizing she was queer. (hide spoiler)] (<< tagged for slight spoilers depending on your definition) - The side characters: the side characters were so wonderfully fleshed out! I especially loved Sharon's brother and the girls at the bookstore, but every single one of the side characters felt like a living breathing person, and it was masterful. Overall? Read! this! book! It is such a gorgeous work of art, and I was absolutely entranced. Please do your eyeballs a favour and read it. TWs: (view spoiler)[homophobia, internalized homophobia, death threats, brief mentions of anti-gay violence, outing, threat of outing, panic attack, sexual harassment, threat of conversion therapy (hide spoiler)]

  8. 5 out of 5

    cheryl_bombshell

    I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK WOW JUST WOW

  9. 4 out of 5

    Keelin Rita

    I will never stop loving and crying over Robin Talley’s books. Music From Another World is another edition to her works of queer historical fiction. Here’s why I loved it so much: Two girls from two separate parts of California, both from religious families, both going to a catholic school, both have secrets. Sharon’s brother is gay, and Tammy is a lesbian. Both of these secrets could put an end to their lives. The story is told through letters and journal entries. Tammy and Sharon are put toget I will never stop loving and crying over Robin Talley’s books. Music From Another World is another edition to her works of queer historical fiction. Here’s why I loved it so much: Two girls from two separate parts of California, both from religious families, both going to a catholic school, both have secrets. Sharon’s brother is gay, and Tammy is a lesbian. Both of these secrets could put an end to their lives. The story is told through letters and journal entries. Tammy and Sharon are put together through a school summer pen pal project and become best friends, confiding in each other, feeling at home with each other, bonding over punk music and Patti Smith. Meanwhile, Tammy is also writing letters to Harvey Milk, she never sends them, but they are so necessary for her because he is an openly gay man fighting for gay rights in her state. Sharon uses her diary, a way to chronicle her life without fear of someone else having to know exactly what is going on in her head. This story is at once heartbreaking and uplifting and I believe that’s what Talley tries to do in all of her books. She’s acknowledging the realities of being in the time, bringing those fears and issues to the forefront so the reader can understand just how daring and brave these characters are, and then she allows us what most real life stories at that time don’t, a happy ending. I loved this book, and I will keep reading Robin Talley because she keeps the history of queer people and their hope alive.

  10. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    It's the summer of 1977 and a resurgence of conservatism is thrumming through the United States. Closeted lesbian Tammy has been caught up in the middle of it—her aunt and uncle are two of the ringleaders of the West Baptist Church advocating for a return to family values and an eradication of gay people from schools (and well, life). When she's assigned Sharon from San Francisco as a pen pal for a school assignment, it's like a dream come true. The two bond over punk music, and slowly begin to It's the summer of 1977 and a resurgence of conservatism is thrumming through the United States. Closeted lesbian Tammy has been caught up in the middle of it—her aunt and uncle are two of the ringleaders of the West Baptist Church advocating for a return to family values and an eradication of gay people from schools (and well, life). When she's assigned Sharon from San Francisco as a pen pal for a school assignment, it's like a dream come true. The two bond over punk music, and slowly begin to realize that eventually they'll need to take a stand. For something. While this was enjoyable—and the audiobook was incredible—it sagged so heavily in the middle. Seriously, the middle took forever, and the epistolary format became a little hard to endure, mostly because there was a lot of detail and word for word interactions in the form of letters. However, the premise was fantastic, and Talley shines in her research in gay history and putting people into the context of their era. I loved reading about the late 70s, admittedly a period of time that I um, hardly ever read about, and I loved all of the gay history that was put in, from Harvey Milk to anti-gay rights activist whats-her-face Anita Bryant to punk rock to Prop 6 to all of the marches and the beginning of Pride and the very real fear of what would happen if you were outed. Of the two girls, I liked Sharon the best, mainly because I emphasized with her realization of her sexual orientation. I have a feeling that this book might have faced or will face some backlash from Sharon's (mild spoiler ahead) realization that she is bisexual, particularly since she spends most of the book dead set on the fact that she's straight. She's got a boyfriend. She likes boys. Sure some girls are really fascinating, but that doesn't make her gay because she likes boys and you can't be a lesbian if you like boys. Imagine growing up in a time where you didn't have the language or understanding that you can like men and women (and enbies too) together. Also, both girls deal with the crushing stigma of being different and having to conform to society's expectation for how girls and women should behave. As a girl living in conservative Orange County, within a highly religious family, Tammy has to conform in order to survive and stay under her asshole aunt's radar. She must bury everything true to herself down and become a model of Christian society in order to survive. She has little leeway to be herself, and when she gets a taste of freedom, she leaps for it in the form of Caroline, a girl who is attracted to her and just fooling around (also: fuck you Caroline. I get why you did what you did, but fuck you all the same). And as a girl living in a single-parent home alongside a mother who is kinda checked out, Sharon has to hide her brother's sexual orientation. While Sharon has more leeway than Tammy, she also has to conform to expectations in the form of what her peers think of her in order to avoid high school hell. Her freedom is more pronounced, and I liked that she was able to grab a hold of her independence in bits and chunks, and how she slowly began to educate herself on how to be an ally to the gay community: first through her love of punk music (although how many times can you say someone growled into a microphone wtf), particularly girl bands, and then through a group of gay rights advocates working at a collectively owned feminist bookstore. As the two correspond, they slowly begin to open up, although their secrets (Tammy's gayness and Sharon's brother's gayness) start to become a barrier to their friendship. As the real world closes in around them, they fall apart—and then come back together. And come together again as Tammy's world falls apart. Anywho, I'm not going to give any more spoilers than that, but I will just say that while I liked the resolution at the end of the book, I was a bit miffed at how everything went down. The final stand was lukewarm, to be honest, and I kinda just wanted either girl to just fucking stand up for herself. Granted, the point of the book was the power adults in power have over children, and the long-reaching arm of authority in the form of a charismatic religious leader. One to check out if you're interested in the gay rights movement of the late 70s, seriously slow burn sapphic romance, coming out and coming of age stories, and epistolary stories. It would easily have been a five-star read if it had been edited more heavily. It did not need to be 384 (it felt like 500) pages long. Seriously, that middle section draggggggggs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. Music from Another World by Robin Talley is one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read so far in 2020. It's an engrossing epistolary YA LGBTQ+ historical fiction story told primarily in a series of letters and diary entries between pen pals and personal entries written to Harvey Milk. The journeys that both Tammy and Sharon take are both powerful and heartbreaking. I have to admit that it's crushing t I received an ARC from NetGalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. Music from Another World by Robin Talley is one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read so far in 2020. It's an engrossing epistolary YA LGBTQ+ historical fiction story told primarily in a series of letters and diary entries between pen pals and personal entries written to Harvey Milk. The journeys that both Tammy and Sharon take are both powerful and heartbreaking. I have to admit that it's crushing to know the real life fate of Harvey Milk, especially with how much he means to the people of the San Francisco LGBTQ+ community as well as our leading cast. It's quite easy to become attached to Talley's cast of characters because they're all so well developed. I don't know about you, but I need more historical LGBTQ+ stories in my life, especially more recent history like this. I'm also going to have to read more of Robin Talley's works in the future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    Since Pulp was one of my favourite books of 2019, I started this audiobook as soon as I could. And wow. She just did it again. This was hard to read at times, because it deals with a lot of homophobia, but it's also such an important read. There's something so very special about reading about LGBTQ+ history. The characters were incredibly loveable as well, and I loved how all of them has a really different experience being queer. I'm not in the mood to write a long review, but I couldn't recommend Since Pulp was one of my favourite books of 2019, I started this audiobook as soon as I could. And wow. She just did it again. This was hard to read at times, because it deals with a lot of homophobia, but it's also such an important read. There's something so very special about reading about LGBTQ+ history. The characters were incredibly loveable as well, and I loved how all of them has a really different experience being queer. I'm not in the mood to write a long review, but I couldn't recommend this enough! Rep: lesbian MC, questioning bisexual MC, gay side character

  13. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley Really liked this one! I'm always a bit afraid of reading LGBTQ books set in this time period because there's always the chance that something Really Bad is going to happen that I don't want to deal with as a reader, but I have enjoyed other books by Talley so I decided to give it a shot. This one reminded me a lot of 'Ziggy, Stardust and Me' both in terms of it being an LGBTQ YA book set in roughly the same time period but also because it deals I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley Really liked this one! I'm always a bit afraid of reading LGBTQ books set in this time period because there's always the chance that something Really Bad is going to happen that I don't want to deal with as a reader, but I have enjoyed other books by Talley so I decided to give it a shot. This one reminded me a lot of 'Ziggy, Stardust and Me' both in terms of it being an LGBTQ YA book set in roughly the same time period but also because it deals with homophobia of the time in a way that makes it clear that the characters are facing struggles but in my opinion doesn't take it 'too far' into something that would be triggering and ruin the reader's experience of enjoying the book. I also liked how the book dealt with issues of race at the time and the different experience of gay men and lesbian women and bisexual people. Overall it was a really great book with a very cute ending. Would definitely recommend!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I really enjoyed this story! There were some historical elements in here that really taught me more about the 70s Gay rights movement in California. This was a great story about friendship, acceptance, and learning more about yourself. I am also a big fan of seeing religion and queer intersectionality in books, so this was right up my alley. I think it was handled very well, especially considering the time period, however religion was handled a little more antagonistically. The only gripe I had I really enjoyed this story! There were some historical elements in here that really taught me more about the 70s Gay rights movement in California. This was a great story about friendship, acceptance, and learning more about yourself. I am also a big fan of seeing religion and queer intersectionality in books, so this was right up my alley. I think it was handled very well, especially considering the time period, however religion was handled a little more antagonistically. The only gripe I had with this is the way it was written. It was told through letters from one MC to another but really didn’t feel like any letter I would write. Instead, it felt more like a first person narrative. This would throw me off now and then. Other than that I was thoroughly engaged and finished this in a single day.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah &#x1f33a; Books in Their Natural Habitat

    A lot of the thoughts and struggles of the young characters are likely something any teen could relate to. There’s a more specific subset whom I think would relate to their core which is incredibly important. That being said, I really like this book explored the struggles of teenagers in a way that, if I were still that age, would make me feel less alone. I admired the strength of the young men and women in this book as well. It’s hard to not live up to your parent’s expectations so I can’t even A lot of the thoughts and struggles of the young characters are likely something any teen could relate to. There’s a more specific subset whom I think would relate to their core which is incredibly important. That being said, I really like this book explored the struggles of teenagers in a way that, if I were still that age, would make me feel less alone. I admired the strength of the young men and women in this book as well. It’s hard to not live up to your parent’s expectations so I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to not live up to the expectations of society. A really empowering and important read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Part of me wishes I had had Robin Talley’s books when I was a teenager and part of me is just so thankful I have them now. Even at 33, I still need queer stories like this. I love this book almost as much as I love Patti Smith and that’s saying something. 💖 Can’t wait for the release date in March! Thanks to Netgalley for the arc!

  17. 4 out of 5

    chloe ♡

    i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own. i have always wanted a pen pal. i find the idea of writing back and forth with someone you’ve never met, and fully trusting them with stuff you wouldn’t even tell your closest friends really exciting. in this book, we learn about tammy and sharon’s struggles of growing up gay in a religious environment through the letters they write to each other through the pen pal programme they sign up for. i i received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. all opinions below are my own. i have always wanted a pen pal. i find the idea of writing back and forth with someone you’ve never met, and fully trusting them with stuff you wouldn’t even tell your closest friends really exciting. in this book, we learn about tammy and sharon’s struggles of growing up gay in a religious environment through the letters they write to each other through the pen pal programme they sign up for. i loved seeing tammy and sharon slowly bond over time. it was such a beautiful process – at first, the both of them write to each other simply for the sake of answering their assigned questions, and gradually, their conversation blossoms into meaningful discussions about punk music and their deepest secrets. i loved their pledge to be 100% honest to each other in the letters, and it’s amazing that although they cannot confide in the people around them, they have each other. i believe in god, and i’m also a great supporter of lgbtq+ rights, so i related to both tammy and sharon’s experiences of dealing with people at church who have opposing beliefs. i absolutely despised tammy’s aunt, and i felt so frustrated seeing her use religion as an excuse for personal prejudices. on the other hand, seeing activists like harvey milk and the girls from the feminist bookstore join hands to fight for gay rights made me so happy and hopeful. to conclude, music from another world is a story about acceptance, activism and love. some parts were upsetting to read, but the ending’s so incredibly hopeful. if you’re a fan of nancy garden’s annie on my mind, you’d enjoy this book for sure. my blog ♡

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paradise Lost

    I'm currently reading a lot of fanfiction, so haven't gotten around to reading many books this year, but when I saw that Robin Talley's books was out, I had to read it. There's always something so relevant about the stories she tells. Whether they be about the pulp novel era, black rights, or the Harvey milk time period. "All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo Thank you Robin talley for always getting me to think. And even more, for getting I'm currently reading a lot of fanfiction, so haven't gotten around to reading many books this year, but when I saw that Robin Talley's books was out, I had to read it. There's always something so relevant about the stories she tells. Whether they be about the pulp novel era, black rights, or the Harvey milk time period. "All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo Thank you Robin talley for always getting me to think. And even more, for getting me to believe, to hope.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)

    ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I didn't know I needed this book until it came into my life. It was a book with lots of heart and a lot of history embedded in its narrative. I loved reading on about the LGBTQ+ protests and riots in the 70's especially since I haven't read a book set during those times. I thought it was extremely relevant to the current state of the world especially since 2020 really has been the year of change and protest. Altho ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I didn't know I needed this book until it came into my life. It was a book with lots of heart and a lot of history embedded in its narrative. I loved reading on about the LGBTQ+ protests and riots in the 70's especially since I haven't read a book set during those times. I thought it was extremely relevant to the current state of the world especially since 2020 really has been the year of change and protest. Although the current protests of this year have been about lockdown restrictions and more recently, Black Lives Matter, homophobia is still a very current issue and although it's easier being queer than it was in those days, it is still a very real issue for some people. I thought that this book really shown the reality of it such as being closeted and living in an extremely religious household. The book focuses on Tammy, a lesbian girl who needs to keep her sexuality a secret in her family especially since her aunt organises anti-homosexual gatherings. She expresses her feelings in a diary addressed to Harvey Milk, a politician that is pro gay rights and to her pen pal Sharon who herself has a few secrets. Sharon needs to keep her brother's sexuality a secret from the rest of her family but with that, Sharon begins to question her sexuality and her own identity. I loved all the characters and thought they were written extremely well including Tammy's aunt (as horrible as she may have been). It gave a whole new dimension to the book where you could really see the different attitudes of characters in regards to homosexuality. Some were okay with it whereas others were really taken aback and shocked. I liked seeing the different viewpoints and considerations and thought it gave a lot to the story which really highlighted this. I thought that the pacing made the book comprehensive and readable. It was never slow or too fast and it was written in such a way that it was always interesting to read. I enjoyed the diary and letter form which was completely unexpected. It made Tammy's and Sharon's feelings more three-dimensional and made it more entertaining to read. There were a few things that made me lower my rating: there were a lot of skips in time and I thought that the build up of relationship with Tammy and Sharon was pretty quick. Of course, they were communicating and they became really good friends however it went from friends to "I-sort-of-maybe-really-like-you" fairly quickly. That being said though, their relationship was pretty cute and I was shipping them throughout the whole book. I think what made the book amazing though was the amount of care and effort Robin Talley has gone into researching key figures of the 1970's LGBTQ+ movement. It felt like I really was there in Orange County and San Francisco in 1977 and it retained its historical authenticity the whole way through. I also loved the punk rock music references and the love for a genre of music I myself love. It felt nice seeing punk rock culture in book form. All in all, I loved this book a lot and thought it to be quite relevant to the current state of the world. I think I'll definitely be reading more of Robin Talley's books in the future. ACTUAL RATING: 4.4 STARS (rounded up to 5)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hâf

    Music From Another World is written in the form of hesitant letters and confessional diary entries and I loved every page! Mention good old snail mail and I am there, I adore writing and receiving letters so a book featuring letters heavily is something I will always love reading. Closeted lesbian Tammy is paired up with Sharon in a pen pal scheme between two Christian schools, what begins as a forced school assignment turns into a lifeline for both girls to share their true selves with each oth Music From Another World is written in the form of hesitant letters and confessional diary entries and I loved every page! Mention good old snail mail and I am there, I adore writing and receiving letters so a book featuring letters heavily is something I will always love reading. Closeted lesbian Tammy is paired up with Sharon in a pen pal scheme between two Christian schools, what begins as a forced school assignment turns into a lifeline for both girls to share their true selves with each other without fear of judgment or retribution. Thi was such a beautiful story about two queer girls finding their space in the world where they could love whoever they wanted to. Robin Talley has created two strong, individual main characters with a passion for life and equality, I really enjoyed learning about a small part of LGBTQ+ history in America alongside Tammy and Sharon as they played their parts in the protests and campaigns. The foundation of the love story in this novel starts off as a tentative friendship between pen pals, there's disagreements, misunderstandings, heartbreak and heart warming scenes, all adding up to create a wonderful romance between two queer girls. Tammy is a closeted lesbian due to living with a very religious and homophobic family whereas Sharon's sexual identity is a lot more of a journey throughout the book as she questions her feelings for both boys and eventually, Tammy. To balance out the homophobic characters there's also a whole load of supportive queer side characters who help organise protests to campaign for LGBTQ people's rights. Queer historical fiction is definitely a new type of novel for me, but they blend two of my favourite things together, queer characters and historical events. I find history fascinating and I'll never know enough to sate my hunger for knowledge. I haven't read anything by Robin Talley prior to reading Music From Another World so to see the author described as a master of award winning queer historical fiction makes me desperate to read every other book this author has written! Music From Another World blew me away, I switched between the audio and the eBook and the dual narratives told by two narrators over audio was amazing, it clearly defined the two main characters. I would hugely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read more queer fiction as it is brilliant!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Izzie

    (Thanks to my Mum for typing this up for me). This book follows 2 main characters, Tammy and Sharon, living in California in 1977. The book is told in an epistolary format after Tammy and Sharon are paired up as pen pals. It follows the girls as they open up to each other and their struggles with their faith, family and sexuality. What I Liked: - Characters. Tammy and Sharon were strong main characters who felt like real people, I think the form of letters and diary entries made me feel connected (Thanks to my Mum for typing this up for me). This book follows 2 main characters, Tammy and Sharon, living in California in 1977. The book is told in an epistolary format after Tammy and Sharon are paired up as pen pals. It follows the girls as they open up to each other and their struggles with their faith, family and sexuality. What I Liked: - Characters. Tammy and Sharon were strong main characters who felt like real people, I think the form of letters and diary entries made me feel connected to the characters and like I really understood them. The supporting cast were varied, Tammy's family who were religious and homophobic, the wonderful women they met in the book shop and Sharon's brother who supported her throughout. - Themes. This book explores a number of different subjects including religious homophobia, gay rights movement, prop 6, friendship, family and finding where you belong. I think it navigated the discussion about what it meant to be part of the LGBT community in the 1970's and the difficulties they had in trusting other people and the rejection from their families. - History. I really enjoyed learning more about the LGBT community in the 1970's. - Romance. Tihs is the first book in a while that had me rooting for the characters to get together, I enjoyed the development of Tammy and Sharon's relationship as it was built on trust and friendship. Overall this was a moving, heartbreaking and heart-warming story about finding love, friendship and community. It was both an interesting and complex read which was well written and perfectly executed. I am so glad to have finally given Robin Talley 5 stars for one of her books. TW: homophobia, religious homophobia, family rejection, and use of slurs

  22. 5 out of 5

    kelly {BookCrushin}

    Another beautiful historical novel set during such important time in LGBTQIA+ history. This one is told epistolary with letters between two Christian girls who are penpals for a school project in California who both are entwined in the rise of Harvey Milk and the christian attacks on the gay community. Especially loved the incorporation of how important punk rock and bookstores and community centers were so important in building a resistance. This one has some tough topics, including abandonment Another beautiful historical novel set during such important time in LGBTQIA+ history. This one is told epistolary with letters between two Christian girls who are penpals for a school project in California who both are entwined in the rise of Harvey Milk and the christian attacks on the gay community. Especially loved the incorporation of how important punk rock and bookstores and community centers were so important in building a resistance. This one has some tough topics, including abandonment, homophobia, forced coming-out, and christian fueled hate, but it really does have a positive story and a very happy ending.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    Solid three star read! This book would be great for middle school to early high school baby dyke that wants to learn a little about gay history. It is VERY white, but it’s also set on opposing sides of prop 6, so you get this Christian vs. Castro and Harvey Milk aspect to the story that is really nice to have in young adult. Very wholesome. Very gay and bi!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Robin Talley has built this beautiful corner of the book world (sapphic historicals) and I just want to live in it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kayla dawson

    Maybe more of 3.5 . I really enjoyed it

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    It seems strange that Robin Talley's new YA novel is being called 'historical fiction' because the 1970s don't seem all that long ago but it reminds us that LGBTIA rights were only won recently in many countries and the fight still continues in others. Music From Another World is set in California in the heady days of the late 1970s. Harvey Milk is running for election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors while individuals like Anita Bryant and John Briggs seek to deprive gays and lesbians It seems strange that Robin Talley's new YA novel is being called 'historical fiction' because the 1970s don't seem all that long ago but it reminds us that LGBTIA rights were only won recently in many countries and the fight still continues in others. Music From Another World is set in California in the heady days of the late 1970s. Harvey Milk is running for election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors while individuals like Anita Bryant and John Briggs seek to deprive gays and lesbians of their freedom from discrimination. Two seventeen-year-old girls are connected through a Christian pen pal project. Tammy knows she is gay and knows she can never tell anyone, choosing instead to confide in unsent letters to Harvey Milk. Sharon has a secret too but it's not her own. Her brother is gay and she knows that she has to protect him in the current hostile climate. Against a backdrop of political activism, emerging feminism and excellent punk music, Tammy and Sharon begin to forge a friendship that will change both their lives forever. Music From Another World is an absolute tour de force and a triumph of a historical novel. It brings to life the late 1970s, especially the music and the fight for equal rights. It reminded me of the fight against Apartheid in Johannesburg in the early 1990s; just like we had political refugees in the city for political reasons, young people were travelling to places like San Francisco in the 1970s because they were simply safer. And just like we had rallies and protests against Apartheid, often at our own peril (and with copious amounts of tear gas), the characters in Music From Another World attend Harvey Milk rallies and protest against Prop6 in an environment of constant threats and persecution. There was so much to love about Music From Another World. It was interesting to see how Tammy and Sharon slowly begin to trust each other, to stand up for their beliefs and to overcome very real doubts and fears. One of the most interesting aspects of the novel was how we come to know each of the girls first through how they view themselves and later through how others see them. It was a fascinating juxtaposition and character study. Music From Another World is perfectly placed as a historical novel for it deals with issues that are as pertinent today as they were 40 years ago. Homosexuality is still illegal in many countries while many otherwise progressive countries continue to ban same-sex marriage. As such, this book would be a great starting point for discussions about the fight for equal rights. I've touched briefly on the music throughout this review but need to stress it more. With a tag line of "start dancing to your own beat", Music From Another World is all about the music. From Patti Smith, X-Ray Spex and Avengers to Iggy Pop and David Bowie, this the kind of book that is absolutely begging for a playlist so I've made one on Spotify: Music From Another World playlist. For bringing the fight for gay rights in the 1970s to life and for featuring an excellent soundtrack, I give Music From Another World a superb five out of five stars and recommend to all fans of superior historical young adult fiction. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

  27. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

    To see more reviews check it out here. I got an ARC of this book. I keep reading Talley and thinking that things will go better. The issue is so far Talley and I have not clicked perfectly. I feel like one day we will, but today was not that day. The closest Talley and I came to clicking was the very first book I read by her that had so many trans issues.  This book did not have trans issues, but it had another large issue. If you read enough of my reviews you will see a trend. This is one of those To see more reviews check it out here. I got an ARC of this book. I keep reading Talley and thinking that things will go better. The issue is so far Talley and I have not clicked perfectly. I feel like one day we will, but today was not that day. The closest Talley and I came to clicking was the very first book I read by her that had so many trans issues.  This book did not have trans issues, but it had another large issue. If you read enough of my reviews you will see a trend. This is one of those things that comes up time and time again: dual narration. When it is pulled off, it is AMAZING. When it isn't, it can sink a book. Talley was not able to pull it off in this one. I could not tell the girls apart. This hindered any shipping I could do and it made the story feel super slow and bogged down.  I LOVE slow burn romance that takes place solely through letters and texts. You would think that this would be for me, but it wasn't. I just didn't see how the girls fell in love. Was it because they were the only ones that they felt they could be honest with? Like I can understand that emotional intimacy can be difficult to distinguish from romantic love, but that was it. There was no other reason that I could see that they were into each other. They met out of nowhere and then were awkward (but then later in the book, it said that they couldn't remember a time when they had been awkward which just further took me out of the book). The whole in person romance was just rushed and felt incredibly fake.  The religious abuse just felt over the top and annoying, which is pretty great. The people they were facing were caricatures. Anita Bryant would have been proud. So while I didn't enjoy the plot, I have to say that it was handled pretty well.  I am getting real tired of queer stories being sad and miserable. I understand this is historical fiction, but come on. I didn't need or want to sit through hundreds of pages of angst about coming out and being kicked out. There are already so many terrible fates for queer people written, I need happy stories. Bad things can happen, but when the bad things dominate the story I sort of check out now especially when the emotions aren't coming through the writing in a way that actually makes me care that these things are happening. One day Talley is going to write the perfect book for me. I can feel it. Once we get on the same wavelength there will be nothing stronger than that connection. We just haven't gotten there yet.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chandra

    I loved it so much. Not only did I love Sharon and Tammy (and Peter), but I also loved the late seventies setting and music talk! Additionally the way the story was told was so wonderful (with everything via letters or diary entries), I especially enjoyed the diary entries written to Harvey Milk. I can’t wait to get a physical copy of the book once it comes out at the end of the month!!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Lee

    I really didn't know much about Harvey Milk and 1970's LBGTQIA history before reading this book. Now I'm so glad I did! Talley is a genius at making history come alive through her characters, and pen pals Tammy and Sharon are no different. Both are from very religious backgrounds, and are assigned to write to each other in order to bond over Christian values, and keep from sinning during the dangerous time also referred to as summer break. They have more in common than they know - Tammy has real I really didn't know much about Harvey Milk and 1970's LBGTQIA history before reading this book. Now I'm so glad I did! Talley is a genius at making history come alive through her characters, and pen pals Tammy and Sharon are no different. Both are from very religious backgrounds, and are assigned to write to each other in order to bond over Christian values, and keep from sinning during the dangerous time also referred to as summer break. They have more in common than they know - Tammy has realized that she's a lesbian, and Sharon's brother just confided that he's gay. These are both dangerous truths in the background of Anita Bryant and Proposition 6, a law that would make it illegal for LGBTQIA folks or alliances to teach. Tammy's aunt, a minister's wife, maliciously puts Tammy in charge of fundraisers and pep rallies in favor of Prop 6. Through their letters, the girls bond over a mutual love of punk rock and their struggle to find themselves in a world that has already narrowly defined them. I loved both of them, and in equal measure despised Tammy's aunt from hell!! Thank you to the publisher for an ARC and a chance to be part of Music From Another World's blog tour. Please visit my blog on April 6th for a full review!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily (emilykatereads)

    This is my favourite Talley book so yet. I came here for the wlw content and left thoroughly happy with the story. The story is told as an epistolary novel, in letters and diary entries between our two main characters. Both Tammy and Sharon live in California during the 70s and attend very Catholic schools. The two girls are assigned as pen pals, but become friends, and they grow close while also each hiding big things. Tammy is dealing with her uber religious aunt who puts her in charge of orga This is my favourite Talley book so yet. I came here for the wlw content and left thoroughly happy with the story. The story is told as an epistolary novel, in letters and diary entries between our two main characters. Both Tammy and Sharon live in California during the 70s and attend very Catholic schools. The two girls are assigned as pen pals, but become friends, and they grow close while also each hiding big things. Tammy is dealing with her uber religious aunt who puts her in charge of organization rally's against gay rights, and Tammy, a lesbian, hides who she is and has to follow her family's agenda to prevent them from finding out about her. On the other hand, Sharon's is becoming involved in activism with her gay brother, and getting involved in the punk scene in San Fransisco, while still hiding most of her life from her conservative family. The book really shines when the characters finally meet. There were some times that the dual-POV took me out of the story a bit, and was a bit messy, but a perfect dual-POV is hard to come by. If you're looking for a great historical fiction novel with some great queer women, I highly recommend this one.

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