I Heart Band!
I HEART BAND is a fun, pacy younger middle-grade series about the thrills and spills, practices and performances, crushes and crises of middle school band geeks. (Publishers Marketplace, coming January 9th, 2014)
I HEART BAND (Book One)
Holly Mead’s first day of 7th grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully-chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her new band director has some surprisingly strict rules. Worst of all, it seems like her best friend, Julia, has replaced her. Natasha is new at Millican Middle School, but she and Julia bonded at band camp over the summer. Natasha is pretty, smart, and as good at French horn as Holly – maybe even better.
Holly is determined to get first chair, but Natasha is turning out to be some pretty stiff competition – and not just in band. As Natasha and Julia get closer, Holly feels like she and her best friend are drifting further apart. Things only get worse when Holly fails her first science quiz. If she can’t pass, she won’t be able to participate in band, thanks to the new director’s “no pass no play” rule. That means no band party – and no opportunity to get to know a certain good-looking trumpet player named Aaron Cook a little better!
The harder Holly tries in band and with Julia, the worse everything seems to get. Maybe being second best in band isn’t the end of the world, but when it comes to best friends, Holly just has to be first. Band might be a competition, but friendship isn’t – and Holly needs to figure it out before she loses Julia for good.
Friends, Fugues, and Fortune Cookies (I HEART BAND, Book Two)
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition. When Holly Mead’s band director announces that their bake sale fundraiser will pit the sections against each other, Holly is positive the brass section will win. After all, the two most competitive kids in band are French horn players – Holly and Natasha Prynne. The girls might be rivals for first chair, but they don’t let it get in the way of their new friendship. Natasha is even helping Holly with the music for the all-region band auditions in a few weeks, when both girls will be competing not only with each other, but with other horn players from all of their district’s middle schools.
Holly can handle a friendly band rivalry with Natasha – but competing over boys is another story. Especially when that boy happens to be Aaron Cook. When Holly hears a rumor that Aaron is going to ask her to the winter dance, she’s ecstatic. After all, she has been talking to him a lot (and with hardly any drooling or stammering, too). Plus all the fortune cookies she’s been cracking open lately thanks to her brother’s new delivery job are about secret admirers and being lucky in love. So when Aaron ends up asking Natasha to the dance instead, Holly thinks she can’t feel much worse. Until she finds out that Natasha has had a secret crush on Aaron, too…she was just afraid of hurting Holly’s feelings.
With all the competition over boys and band, Holly and Natasha’s friendship is more than a little rocky. Before long, Natasha starts distancing herself from both Holly and Aaron. To make things even worse, a small disaster involving a rogue volleyball sets the brass section way behind in the band’s bake sale. Then Holly gets a brilliant idea that’s guaranteed to help them win – and with a little good fortune, it might save Holly’s friendship with Natasha, too.
Penguin USA (Grosset & Dunlap): Book 1 and 2: January 9th, 2013; Book 3 and 4 TBA