Book Review: Songs That Sound Like Blood by Jared Thomas

This book is for those who dare to dream. And who set out to achieve those dreams.

Songs That Sound Like Blood is the story of Roxy Redding – a small town girl who plays a mean guitar and has the voice of an angel. She lives with her dad and regularly performs with him as a duo or with his band. She loves to sing and blows anyone away who hears her perform.

Roxy is an independent and reliable teenager whose only dream is to sing for a living. One day, Roxy gets a glimpse of what life could be like learning about music outside of her dusty little town of Port Augusta in South Australia. With the help of her father, she leaves for university, wanting to learn music and to follow her dreams.

It’s not all smooth sailing, of course. For one, money isn’t abundant. But Roxy is perseverance incarnate and she finds a way to earn while singing. Life away from family requires a lot of adjustment and Roxy tries hard not to be so homesick. She slowly begins making friends and finding her own groove.

That is, until she meets the magnificent Ana – a music journalist who talks Roxy’s language. Sparks fly and Roxy is confused. She’s never really thought of herself as someone who would like a girl that way. Now, on top of adjusting to a new city, being away from family, new school life, new jobs, she also needs to figure out how she feels about Ana – and what she wants to do about it.

Songs That Sound Like Blood is a beautiful book for young readers. Beautiful not only because it provides inspiration but also because it provides a glimpse of what it’s like to be a young aboriginal girl living her life in Australia.

Roxy is an inspiring character. Yes, she may be vulnerable and, at times, insecure, but she is also strong, clever, loyal and superbly talented. She dares to dream and is very determined to achieve that. When there’s a problem, she finds a solution. She isn’t passive. She isn’t a pedestrian. It is easy to love her.

The book deals with various issues like family ties, dealing with alcoholism, aboriginal life and finding one’s sexuality. It also touches on the politics of university programs and how the government deals with those issues. These themes are written seamlessly by Thomas, who writes the dialogue with authenticity. Although the book is marketed as young adult, I think anyone would enjoy Roxy’s story.

 

Kristyn M. Levis is a freelance writer, author and photographer based in Sydney. She is currently the managing editor of Her Collective. Her first novel is set to be published this year.

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