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Candidly Cline

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A must-read for fans of Julie Murphy and Ashley Herring Blake, this queer coming-of-age story from critically acclaimed author Kathryn Ormsbee sings with heart, warmth, and hope. Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few A must-read for fans of Julie Murphy and Ashley Herring Blake, this queer coming-of-age story from critically acclaimed author Kathryn Ormsbee sings with heart, warmth, and hope. Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom. But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies she feels surrounded by so many other talented kids--especially Sylvie, who gives Cline the type of butterflies she's only ever heard about in love songs. As she learns to make music of her own, Cline begins to realize how much of herself she's been holding back. But now, there's a new song taking shape in her heart--if only she can find her voice and sing it. "Empowering, affirming, and sweet as all get-out." --Lisa Jenn Bigelow, author of Drum Roll, Please


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A must-read for fans of Julie Murphy and Ashley Herring Blake, this queer coming-of-age story from critically acclaimed author Kathryn Ormsbee sings with heart, warmth, and hope. Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few A must-read for fans of Julie Murphy and Ashley Herring Blake, this queer coming-of-age story from critically acclaimed author Kathryn Ormsbee sings with heart, warmth, and hope. Born in Paris, Kentucky, and raised on her gram's favorite country music, Cline Alden is a girl with big dreams and a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians' workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom. But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies she feels surrounded by so many other talented kids--especially Sylvie, who gives Cline the type of butterflies she's only ever heard about in love songs. As she learns to make music of her own, Cline begins to realize how much of herself she's been holding back. But now, there's a new song taking shape in her heart--if only she can find her voice and sing it. "Empowering, affirming, and sweet as all get-out." --Lisa Jenn Bigelow, author of Drum Roll, Please

30 review for Candidly Cline

  1. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ...middle-grade contemporary novel features an aspiring country singer-songwriter trying to find her voice as she navigates her family's money troubles, a changing relationship with her grandmother, a difficult friendship breakup, and her first crush on a girl, while dreaming of her big break from her small kentucky town Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ...middle-grade contemporary novel features an aspiring country singer-songwriter trying to find her voice as she navigates her family's money troubles, a changing relationship with her grandmother, a difficult friendship breakup, and her first crush on a girl, while dreaming of her big break from her small kentucky town Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    I am obsessed with Cline Alden! I absolutely loved this sapphic middle grade story from Kathryn Ormsbree, where thirteen year old Cline Alden wants to attend a music work shop to aid in her dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter. We follow her home life and everything she has to do to make her dreams come true. ...AND IT'S SAPPHIC! 5/5 I am obsessed with Cline Alden! I absolutely loved this sapphic middle grade story from Kathryn Ormsbree, where thirteen year old Cline Alden wants to attend a music work shop to aid in her dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter. We follow her home life and everything she has to do to make her dreams come true. ...AND IT'S SAPPHIC! 5/5

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I read this sweet, music-laden book as an eARC from Edelweiss. Cline likes girls, but that's not the only important thing about her. First and foremost, Cline (named for Patsy Cline) is a musician. She has country music down in her bones, and she knows, just knows, that she has what it takes to make it. When a nearby university offers a workshop for young singer songwriters, Cline hopes that this will be her chance to prove herself. The only problem? The $300 dollar tuition, and the fact that he I read this sweet, music-laden book as an eARC from Edelweiss. Cline likes girls, but that's not the only important thing about her. First and foremost, Cline (named for Patsy Cline) is a musician. She has country music down in her bones, and she knows, just knows, that she has what it takes to make it. When a nearby university offers a workshop for young singer songwriters, Cline hopes that this will be her chance to prove herself. The only problem? The $300 dollar tuition, and the fact that her mother thinks that music is waste of time, and that Cline should be focused on a future that can pay the bills. This book tackles a lot - changing and evolving friendships, family financial troubles, varied religious views of the LGBTQ+ community, Alzheimer's - and does it all gracefully.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    I just really love queer middle grade stories and books centered around music. Candidly Cline follows Cline, a 13 year old girl who wants to be a musician despite her mom’s disapproval. When an opportunity appears for her to attend a young songwriters workshop she decides to go in secret. There she gets paired up with Sylvie so they can write a song together. The friendship and eventual romantic feelings between the two girls were super sweet. I loved how they bonded over sharing their favorite I just really love queer middle grade stories and books centered around music. Candidly Cline follows Cline, a 13 year old girl who wants to be a musician despite her mom’s disapproval. When an opportunity appears for her to attend a young songwriters workshop she decides to go in secret. There she gets paired up with Sylvie so they can write a song together. The friendship and eventual romantic feelings between the two girls were super sweet. I loved how they bonded over sharing their favorite songs and musicians with one another. There is some heavier subject matter in the book, such as Cline’s grandma having Alzheimer's and homophobia from some side characters. But I think it was handled in a sensitive way. The book also touched on friendships changing as people grow up and how it feels to be let down by somebody. I did want a little bit more development of Cline's friends apart from her best friend Hollie. But overall this was a really sweet book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Grace W

    Review to come

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella Crivilare

    Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will release November 9, 2021. "My musical dream feels delicate. Like, if I share it with too many people, it might dissolve in my hands." Can I speak... candidly? This book is marvelous. From its front cover to its back, this book is chock full of love, determination, and careful handling of a range of issues that might be affecting its readers. And of course, the cover itself is cute as h Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will release November 9, 2021. "My musical dream feels delicate. Like, if I share it with too many people, it might dissolve in my hands." Can I speak... candidly? This book is marvelous. From its front cover to its back, this book is chock full of love, determination, and careful handling of a range of issues that might be affecting its readers. And of course, the cover itself is cute as heck! All of these elements are combined beautifully to create Cline's story. I'm so glad I put off the two eARCs I have that come out a little sooner than this—I think I've found one of my new favorite middle grade books! By the way, this review is a little spoilery, but I didn't want to hide all the spoilers either, because I don't think they really ruin anything. Still, proceed at your own risk. When a waitress who works at the same diner Cline's mother works at gives Cline a flyer for a young songwriters' workshop, the question isn't if she's going to go—it's how will she come up with the money to afford it? Luckily, despite her mother's concerns about the low chances of stardom crushing her daughter's dreams and demands that she be practical, Cline has plenty of grit—and plenty of people who are willing to help her get there. Along the way, the author tackles financial struggles, friendship breakups, religion, crushes and Alzheimer's. With a list of topics like that, this book had the potential to be dragged down, but they were all effortlessly woven together, and it never felt heavy. I won't go very in depth with all of the topics that the author juggles, but there are a few that I feel deserve special attention. The first is the great adults in Cline's life. Gram, who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's, spends a lot of time with Cline while her mother is working, and they share a deep love of music. One of the great joys of this book, actually, is every moment where Cline and Gram sing and dance together, reveling in their love of country music. She's the kind of grandma I'd like to have. Actually, I think she reminds me of mine, though I don't think mine would necessarily be as willing to conveniently not tell my mother I'm leaving town every Monday, unbeknownst to her. But still, mine would have helped with the workshop deposit, too! Delia, the waitress who gave Cline the flyer in the first place, helps out by giving her a ride to the campus every week. And Mrs. Yune, a woman that Cline meets while helping out in her friend's church's nursery... she is phenomenal. She comforts Cline after a quite frankly emotionally devastating moment, offers her sympathy and advice and understanding... and ultimately prevents her from quitting her dream. I truly can't get over how wonderful she is. And, ultimately (though she was testing me!) Cline's mother deserves to be called a good adult in her life for the way she's tirelessly worked to support Cline and Gram, even if I wish she hadn't been quite so quick to shut down Cline's dreams. At one point while reading, I noted that Cline is a really great friend. Unfortunately... her friend, Hollie, doesn't remain one. This is for a whole passel of reasons that are tied together. The most significant is because Hollie, upon learning that Cline likes girls while at a church lock-in together, freaks out and makes a PUBLIC prayer request that she overcome this, basically. It's truly upsetting. (For reference, this was around page 114 in my eARC, near the beginning of chapter 18.) And I was INCENSED after Hollie did this, because Cline had already refrained from sharing her musical dreams with her BEST FRIEND because she didn't think she would understand, and she used the song she had written to tell her that she liked girls, in order to sympathize with Hollie's concern over crushes... Unfortunately, I know that this is absolutely something that could happen to a kid, and I was heartbroken for Cline. Friendship breakups are devastating, especially when it's a friendship of that length and when it happens at such a mixed-up and vulnerable time in your life, and so I'm glad to finally find a book that contains one, and one that is handled extremely well, at that. Ultimately, they don't make up. Cline, while still hurt, is the bigger person and forgives Hollie, but she also stands up for herself and tells Hollie that she was wrong to treat her that way at the lock-in. That encounter made me a little shaky, but I was so proud of Cline for having the final word there and being strong for herself. Actually, the whole subject of religion is dealt with really well, too, and this is where we bring Mrs. Yune back into the review. Cline shows a lot of uncertainty about religion early on, saying that the idea of someone watching her and living forever freaks her out. Same, girl. I felt that the entire lock-in segment, where Cline attends with Hollie and her church friends (chapters 17 & 18) was handled well, but what was even better was when Mrs. Yune sat down with Cline after she ran out and had a discussion with her about her own religious beliefs, at the beginning of chapter 19. She very explicitly says that she disagrees with the youth pastor and that she believes in a God who loves everyone and tells Cline that there is nothing wrong with her. Mrs. Yune also lets her know that it's possible that someday Hollie may see that she's wrong, but in the meantime she doesn't need to accept that treatment. I just... growing up Catholic, I wish I had seen this attitude more, because it's the right one to have. And now the crushes, my goodness. While there is only one, and it starts off rocky, it ends up being painfully sweet. From getting to know each other by writing song lists, to collaborating on a song for their workshop, to being too shy to talk about the fact that one of them included a romantic line about a girl in their song (Cline) and one of them didn't comment that they should change it (Sylvie). I felt like it was a pretty realistic interpretation of having a crush at thirteen, not that I remember that all that well. Sylvie is cool, and the relationship develops organically, with perfect amounts of shyness and cuteness. There's a great Halloween moment at the end of the book that made me smile so big. As a side note, I also loved that the author portrayed Cline as generally secure in the fact that she likes girls, but that she at the same time showed hesitancy in coming out to her family and others. It could be due to the setting of the book, or borne out of the pain she felt after the way Hollie treated her, or just being a little unsure about telling her mother and Gram, but regardless of the reason Cline decides to wait to come out, I really appreciate that she decides for herself that she wants to wait until she feels comfortable sharing this important piece of her life. Maybe I'm not reading enough middle grade (and I've definitely been upping my consumption of this age category over the last year), but up until now I don't think I've read a book with a young character who's queer but also has the agency and desire to temporarily keep it to herself, and I think it's just as important for kids to see that you can be and share facets of yourself in your own time. I want to say so much more to you about this book, but instead I'll merely say this: I hope that when Candidly Cline releases this November, there's a big, bright spotlight on it. It deserves to stand out—for music, which is what Cline would want, and for everything else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Cline lives near Lexington, Kentucky with her mother and grandmother, since her father died when she was very young. The family is struggling a bit. Cline's mother is a waitress who works long hours at a close knit diner, and her grandmother is struggling with Alzheimer's. Cline's passion is music, and she really wants to be a singer songwriter even though her mother tells her that there is no money in it, and that's why the mother gave up her idea of a music care E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Cline lives near Lexington, Kentucky with her mother and grandmother, since her father died when she was very young. The family is struggling a bit. Cline's mother is a waitress who works long hours at a close knit diner, and her grandmother is struggling with Alzheimer's. Cline's passion is music, and she really wants to be a singer songwriter even though her mother tells her that there is no money in it, and that's why the mother gave up her idea of a music career. When Delia, another waitress, mentions a workshop for young singer songwriters being held at the University of Kentucky, Cline knows that this will make all of the difference in her life, and she needs to pursue attending even when it means lying to her mother. Her grandmother supports her and even gives her $100 towards the $300 needed to attend, and that's enough for Delia to agree to drive Cline to class when she also has a class at UK. Conveniently, the workshop meets on a day that Cline's mother works late. Cline also gets a job babysitting at the nursery where her best friend, Hollie, goes to church, and earns $15 a week. She manages to apply, get accepted, and show up to the workshop without the full payment, but the organizers agree to take payment by the end of the classes. Learning more about music is perfect, and Cline also enjoys working with Sylvie, who is a bit prickly at first because she was suffering from a migraine, but quickly warms to Cline and to the idea of a collaborative song. Meanwhile, her grandmother steadily declines, and Cline struggles with telling the world that she's not interested in boys the way all of her friends are. An incident with Hollie estranges the two and causes Cline to worry that it's not safe to tell others about her emerging sexuality, even as she realizes that she has a crush on Sylvie.Will she be able to continue her musical ruse long enough to compete in a talent show with her new collaborator and crush? Strengths: Cline is definitely an intriguing character, who has strong opinions about what she wants out of life. I did enjoy the fact that she knows throughout the book that she's not interested in boys, but this isn't quite a coming out story, either. Her community is filled with supportive and helpful characters, like the abetting Delia, and Mrs. Yune, who runs the church nursery but doesn't agree with all of the church's views. The class is interesting, and the collaborative relationship with the rock-centric Sylvie is a nice foil for Cline's classic country music background. The mother is realistically busy and struggling to adjust and pay for the grandmother's medication; there's even a mention of splitting pills in order to be able to afford them, as well as negotiating with a local pharmacy. The progression of the relationship with Sylvie is realistic and nicely paced. Weaknesses: I was not a fan of lying about taking the class, and this is emerging as a trend, with similar themes of deception in taking classes in Kim's Stand Up, Yumi Chung and Joseph's Sydney A. Frankel's Summer Mix-Up. This is especially concerning because Cline was supposed to be watching her grandmother. Also, as someone who pursued her passion of teaching Latin even though it was a superbly bad idea, I agreed wholeheartedly with the mother that Cline should be more concerned with remunerative career choices. What I really think: My students will read anything with an LGBTQIA+ theme, but never pick up books about girls who want to be singers (sadly, the somewhat similar Tune It Out circulates infrequently). Debating.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Pineo

    What a great, heartfelt book. This middle grade novel centers on Cline, a country music loving singer/songwriter who wants to do what she can to live her dream, even if her mom doesn't understand. Through the book Cline learns about herself, who she can count on, what's really been happening in her family for the past few years and how music affects her whole life. I'm not a fan of country music (can't stand it actually) but the book is no worse to me for it. This young teen's story is so sweet What a great, heartfelt book. This middle grade novel centers on Cline, a country music loving singer/songwriter who wants to do what she can to live her dream, even if her mom doesn't understand. Through the book Cline learns about herself, who she can count on, what's really been happening in her family for the past few years and how music affects her whole life. I'm not a fan of country music (can't stand it actually) but the book is no worse to me for it. This young teen's story is so sweet and earnest you have to cheer for her even when she's doing something wrong.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Audra

    Candidly Cline is a sweet tale of longing — longing to know who you are, to feel accepted, to find your place, and to see your dreams come true. Cline is relatable in her worries and her dreams, surrounded by a cast of people who care about her in many different ways. It also tackles the tough issue of the war that some Christian churches speak about LGBTQIA individuals — and how hurtful, alienating, and wrong that can sound. I would have loved to have this book when I was in middle school, and Candidly Cline is a sweet tale of longing — longing to know who you are, to feel accepted, to find your place, and to see your dreams come true. Cline is relatable in her worries and her dreams, surrounded by a cast of people who care about her in many different ways. It also tackles the tough issue of the war that some Christian churches speak about LGBTQIA individuals — and how hurtful, alienating, and wrong that can sound. I would have loved to have this book when I was in middle school, and I would recommend for any middle school classroom or library.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DaNae

    Popsugar #5 - Sapphic book

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC of Candidly Cline!! This book. I would’ve absolutely devoured this book as a kid and I loved it just as much as an adult. I really love and appreciate that this story isn’t about Cline figuring out her sexuality, but instead, it’s just something she knows. There’s plenty of books about kids struggling to figure that out, and that makes this story all the more important because it’s rare and wonderful. Cline knows who she is in a way that only an innocent and optimis Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC of Candidly Cline!! This book. I would’ve absolutely devoured this book as a kid and I loved it just as much as an adult. I really love and appreciate that this story isn’t about Cline figuring out her sexuality, but instead, it’s just something she knows. There’s plenty of books about kids struggling to figure that out, and that makes this story all the more important because it’s rare and wonderful. Cline knows who she is in a way that only an innocent and optimistic kid supported by the greatest grandma in the world can and she never wavers in that. Cline not only knows who she is, but what she wants and what she values, and nothing can stop her. I also enjoyed how well-developed each of Cline’s relationships were and how different each one was. I loved her relationship with Gran, and I adored Sylvie. I wish I was as cool as Sylvie, wow. Overall, I didn’t expect to fall in love with this book as much as did, but now that I’m done, I’m going to miss these characters!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elana

    3.5-3.75/5 stars! Wow! This book was GREAT. I loved so much how it approached topics such as friendship breakups, coming out, Alzheimer's, grief, poverty, and distant parents in a way which was easily-approachable for children. The writing style, while too expository for me, was detailed and flowed well, even if it did fall into the pitfalls of un-varied sentence structures at times, which is endemic of first-person middle grade and YA fiction, in my opinion (i.e., "I" + verb). The forward moment 3.5-3.75/5 stars! Wow! This book was GREAT. I loved so much how it approached topics such as friendship breakups, coming out, Alzheimer's, grief, poverty, and distant parents in a way which was easily-approachable for children. The writing style, while too expository for me, was detailed and flowed well, even if it did fall into the pitfalls of un-varied sentence structures at times, which is endemic of first-person middle grade and YA fiction, in my opinion (i.e., "I" + verb). The forward momentum of the story was also bogged down at times by the author stopping to dwell on descriptions, instead of threading them more naturally within the story. It would stop and amble on the cul-de-sac of long descriptions (e.g., "she had a long ponytail and she played band and..." versus "she pulled her hair back into her customary long ponytail"). I also wish Cline's DMS friends were involved more on-page, and also other named characters, such as Veronica. When Veronica chided(?) Cline as being "precious," I assumed we'd see more of her, but we didn't. It also took me a bit to see Cline as her own three-dimensional character, to fully understand her motivations besides loving music, but by the end I was enraptured by her story. With that said, this is an extremely important book for kids, about following your dreams, family, crushes, and being comfortable with yourself. I LOVED how the relationship between Cline and her Gram was depicted. It made me long so much for my Gramma, who had such a hand in raising me while my own mother worked long hours. The relationship was so perfect. I also can't speak enough about how much I loved Cline's character arc: her growth, how clear it was that she became more mature by the end, her final encounter with her former friend, her understanding that choosing when to come out is a personal choice. I also love so much how the women in Cline's life rallied around her and supported her. This is such an important book with so much heart. I cried so many times, so much so that my coworker had to bring me tissues at one point. What I also love is that, sometimes when I'm reading middle grade fiction, the narration can't quite get the voice of a child quite right. It sometimes sounds too old or too young. Here, it's so clear that Cline is a child coming of age. So, so, so well done. I also love how clear Cline and Sylvie's voices were and I loved loved loved their interactions. It tugged at my heart. I remember what it was like when I was 13, having my first crush on the first girl I ever liked. I also cannot emphasize enough how much I LOVE the culmination of Cline's growth, when she had her final conversation with her former friend. Wow. Again, to emphasize: the relationship between Cline and her Gram was amazing. It reminded me so much of my relationship with my own Gramma, the support and unconditional love. It's a testament to the strength of the writing that I felt so connected to them as characters, as well as to their bond with one another. The ending, what Cline says about memory, just punched me right in the heart. I also love the depiction of a three-generation household without a man present. When Jocelyn asked Cline if her "parents forgot the money," I winced with Cline at the assumption. The "Alden ladies!" Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing an ARC. I absolutely loved reading this and will definitely order it for my library. As a children's librarian, I am surrounded all day by middle-grade fiction but it never truly appealed to me as something I would read for my own pleasure outside of work. Books such as this one have convinced me that I am so wrong; middle grade fiction is just as important and stirring as adult. Thank you so much to this book and others to help me realize this; it reflects the power this book has. Cline's journey and growth are so important. I'm so glad I was able to read this, and I can't wait to share her story with the children in my library! TW for homophobia (especially chapters 17-18; I couldn't even bring myself to fully read these parts and had to skim), religious homophobia, and death of a parent (off-screen, happened before the start of the story)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diane Adams

    Thank you to HarperCollins Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing an advance e-proof, in exchange for an honest review. Candidly Cline, by Kathryn Ormsbee, is the first middle-grade LGBTQIA novel I have ever read, and its very existence delights me. Young kids who are just becoming aware of their own sexuality need to see themselves represented in fiction. That the author dedicated the book to her wife adds a little extra bit of authenticity—this is an Own Voices book. Cline (named for Patsy Thank you to HarperCollins Children’s Books and NetGalley for providing an advance e-proof, in exchange for an honest review. Candidly Cline, by Kathryn Ormsbee, is the first middle-grade LGBTQIA novel I have ever read, and its very existence delights me. Young kids who are just becoming aware of their own sexuality need to see themselves represented in fiction. That the author dedicated the book to her wife adds a little extra bit of authenticity—this is an Own Voices book. Cline (named for Patsy) is an aspiring singer-songwriter who lives with her mother and grandmother and attends middle school in Kentucky. She adores country music, but doesn’t have her family’s full support behind following her dream. Her mother works hard as a waitress to support the family, and is pragmatic about whether it’s possible to make a living as a musician. Her grandmother adores Cline and her music…and is beginning to suffer from a bit of dementia. When she finds out about a songwriting workshop for students, she knows she has to attend—and we soon learn how far she’ll go to make it happen. Her journey to the workshop is filled with both roadblocks—and unexpected support. Cline knows she likes girls, and as her friends at school become interested in boys, this creates new challenges, particularly after she comes out to her best friend. Fortunately, she still has her music. But will she and her partner be able to work together? And will she be able to complete the workshop? A realistic portrayal of the roller coaster that is middle school, the struggles of a loving family, and the importance of the arts in education, to a country western soundtrack that just might include a queer first love story!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes

    What an emotional read. Candidly Cline is about an 8th grader living in Paris, Kentucky who dreams about being a musician. But her mom thinks music is a waste of time and money. When Cline gets a chance to take a songwriters workshop class at the university of Kentucky she knows she needs to figure out a way to make it happen, even if that means going behind her mother's back. But the writers workshop feels like the only place she can truly be herself, a queer girl growing up in the south that l What an emotional read. Candidly Cline is about an 8th grader living in Paris, Kentucky who dreams about being a musician. But her mom thinks music is a waste of time and money. When Cline gets a chance to take a songwriters workshop class at the university of Kentucky she knows she needs to figure out a way to make it happen, even if that means going behind her mother's back. But the writers workshop feels like the only place she can truly be herself, a queer girl growing up in the south that loves bluegrass music. There she can finally write lines about her crushes being girls and the complicated feelings she has. What a beautiful LGBT middle school book that takes place in Paris and Lexington KY that talks about how hard it is to find yourself and how hard it is to tell your friends and family what is in your soul. This book is also about friendship and how hard it can be to share parts of yourself with others. Cline loves bluegrass music but is afraid her friends in school won't respect or get her musical tastes. Will they make fun of her dream to be a singer? Clines grandmother has also been recently diagnosed with alzheimers and she doesn't know how to feel about it. Her grandmother doesn't look sick she just forgets now and then. I loved this book with every part of my being and can't wait to book talk it at the middle school.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Metallo

    When a girl's song-writing dreams start to come true, she has to decide how much of her truth to put in her song lyrics, including the fact that she likes girls romantically. I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review. From the plucky protagonist who won't give up on her dreams, to the complex mother-daughter relationship, to the sweet glimpse of first love between two confidently queer young people--there is a lot to love in this middle grade n When a girl's song-writing dreams start to come true, she has to decide how much of her truth to put in her song lyrics, including the fact that she likes girls romantically. I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review. From the plucky protagonist who won't give up on her dreams, to the complex mother-daughter relationship, to the sweet glimpse of first love between two confidently queer young people--there is a lot to love in this middle grade novel. At the start of the book, Cline already knows she likes girls romantically--and that's just who she is--but questions of tolerance, how and when to come out (and to whom), and emotional safety run throughout the story. Queer tweens will resonate with and take courage from Cline's experiences, especially the encouragement she gets from allies to take care of her own mental health and take the distance she needs from hateful people and institutions, and all readers will root for her in her relentless pursuit of her artistic dreams. A must-buy for library collections, I highly recommend this novel to all middle grade contemporary fiction fans and to middle grade book clubs.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patti Barker

    Cline Louise Arden dreams of being the next Emmylou Harris, but her hardworking, but stubborn mom, who waits tables to put food on the table and pay for Gram's Alzheimer's medicine, constantly reminds Cline that music doesn't pay the bills. When Cline has an opportunity to attend a Young Musician and Songwriters Workshop, she is not surprised when her mom says no! But a determined Cline puts a plan in action and has no idea that the consequences of her action will put her on a path to disappoint Cline Louise Arden dreams of being the next Emmylou Harris, but her hardworking, but stubborn mom, who waits tables to put food on the table and pay for Gram's Alzheimer's medicine, constantly reminds Cline that music doesn't pay the bills. When Cline has an opportunity to attend a Young Musician and Songwriters Workshop, she is not surprised when her mom says no! But a determined Cline puts a plan in action and has no idea that the consequences of her action will put her on a path to disappointing her mom, losing her best friend, and auditioning with her new songwriting partner (and potential crush) for a spot at a local music festival. Along the way Cline learns that she has the support of others including her Gram and a kind lady she meets at a local church who helps Cline and encourages her to pay it forward! Will Cline's mom come around when she finds out just how important Cline's dream is and how talented she is? Check out "Candidly Cline" and find out...you won't be disappointed!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ava Budavari

    What a happy, sweet little book this was. I think sometimes people forget that queer people exist in the south too, and that we were kids once, and that queer kids deserve to live happy and joyful lives no matter where or who they are. I love the relationships Cline shared with all of the women in her life and seeing the progression of her confidence and sense of self as the story went on. Every single character in this book has an arc. It was amazing to see such a complex and realistic portraya What a happy, sweet little book this was. I think sometimes people forget that queer people exist in the south too, and that we were kids once, and that queer kids deserve to live happy and joyful lives no matter where or who they are. I love the relationships Cline shared with all of the women in her life and seeing the progression of her confidence and sense of self as the story went on. Every single character in this book has an arc. It was amazing to see such a complex and realistic portrayal of a mother in a kid's book. And of course, all of the music in the book was so wonderful, from the references to women country singers to the songs that Cline writes herself. I also appreciate how much Brandi Carlile was brought up in this story because I am obsessed with her. I loved this so so much. This book was like a giant ray of sunshine and felt so comforting. Queer middle grade is so healing, and this is going to help a lot of queer little girls out there. Preorder your own copy of Candidly Cline!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cath (Cather.reads)

    This book is a warm hug and an inspiration and should be read by everyone! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC! I can't tell you how excited I was to be approved for this title on Netgalley. Kathryn Ormsbee is the author I have to thank for realizing my own sexuality with the release of Tash Hearts Tolstoy. While this book is different from that work in many different ways, it still presents a beautiful message of being yourself and pursuing your dreams. Cline is a musician with g This book is a warm hug and an inspiration and should be read by everyone! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC! I can't tell you how excited I was to be approved for this title on Netgalley. Kathryn Ormsbee is the author I have to thank for realizing my own sexuality with the release of Tash Hearts Tolstoy. While this book is different from that work in many different ways, it still presents a beautiful message of being yourself and pursuing your dreams. Cline is a musician with grandiose dreams, a hardworking mother, a grandmother who believes in her but has her own struggles, and friends who may not understand her passion for music or the reason why she doesn't want to go to the dance with a boy. She's a strong character, incredibly lovable and real as she takes a step towards realizing her dreams of being a singer/songwriter. This book handles the topic of sexuality and religious opinions on it in a way that is powerful. Religious trauma is a real thing that many LGBTQ+ people have to struggle with, but seems to be underrepresented in novels that handle the subject of sexuality. The fact that this is in a book for young teens makes it even more important. I loved Candidly Cline so much, and I hope everyone is able to give this book a chance!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    Candidly Cline by Kathryn Ormsbee HarperCollins Children's Books HarperCollins Children's Fiction | Middle Grade Pub Date 09 Nov 2021 Born in Paris Kentucky, Cline Alden was raised on her Gram’s favorite country music. She’s a girl with big dreams, as well as a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians’ workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom. But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies Candidly Cline by Kathryn Ormsbee HarperCollins Children's Books HarperCollins Children's Fiction | Middle Grade Pub Date 09 Nov 2021 Born in Paris Kentucky, Cline Alden was raised on her Gram’s favorite country music. She’s a girl with big dreams, as well as a heart full of song. When she finds out about a young musicians’ workshop a few towns over, Cline sweet-talks, saves, and maybe fibs her way into her first step toward musical stardom. But her big dreams never prepared her for the butterflies she feels surrounded by so many other talented kids especially Sylvie. As Cline learns to make music of her own she also starts to realize how much she’s holding back. But now, there’s a new song taking shape in her heart—if only she can find her voice and sing it. I give Candidly Cline three out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doni

    Cline dreams of making it big as a musician. When she learns of a young singer-songwriter workshop, she will put everything, even truth, on the line, to participate. At the workshop, she meets Sylvie with different taste in music, but the same dream. The workshop helps Cline explore her identity in ways she hasn't revealed to anyone before. The book mentions a lot of specific songs, mostly country, which I really enjoyed listening to as a way of fleshing out Cline's character. It also does a good Cline dreams of making it big as a musician. When she learns of a young singer-songwriter workshop, she will put everything, even truth, on the line, to participate. At the workshop, she meets Sylvie with different taste in music, but the same dream. The workshop helps Cline explore her identity in ways she hasn't revealed to anyone before. The book mentions a lot of specific songs, mostly country, which I really enjoyed listening to as a way of fleshing out Cline's character. It also does a good job of balancing the exploration of Lesbian identity without reducing the plot to being all about that. Issues of friendship, poverty and wealth, and dealing with Alzheimer's all crop up as well. It is a gentle read well-suited to the middle reader audience. Thanks to Under the Umbrella bookshop for sending it my way!

  21. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler If I had to pitch this book in one sentence it would be this: Reminiscent of a Disney Channel Original feel-good movie about an aspiring singer-song writer letting nothing stand in her way who falls in love with her competition partner—but make it gay. All in all, this was a wonderful, well-rounded novel about friendships and the way they can change over time, financial troubles and helping hands, the importance of being yourself and Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler If I had to pitch this book in one sentence it would be this: Reminiscent of a Disney Channel Original feel-good movie about an aspiring singer-song writer letting nothing stand in her way who falls in love with her competition partner—but make it gay. All in all, this was a wonderful, well-rounded novel about friendships and the way they can change over time, financial troubles and helping hands, the importance of being yourself and most of all, a tribute to music in all its magnificent ways. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Cline will do anything to attend the singer/songwriter workshop in Lexington, even if that means sneaking behind her mom's back and paying it off on layaway. Like her namesake and so many other women of country, Cline and her Gram know that she's destined to make it big. Of course, with every big dream comes some roadblocks on the way-- fading friendships and tight money can be enough to break a girl's heart. Candidly Cline is a story of filled with joy, bravery, and shimmering determination. Cl Cline will do anything to attend the singer/songwriter workshop in Lexington, even if that means sneaking behind her mom's back and paying it off on layaway. Like her namesake and so many other women of country, Cline and her Gram know that she's destined to make it big. Of course, with every big dream comes some roadblocks on the way-- fading friendships and tight money can be enough to break a girl's heart. Candidly Cline is a story of filled with joy, bravery, and shimmering determination. Cline's journey of self-discovery plucked at my heartstrings like her trusty guitar: an uplifting and inspiring novel!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lizenbyl

    Candidly Cline is a book for middle-school age readers, as it brings forward the struggles of being a young teen-ager in a small community battling poverty, lack of opportunities close by, and a teen-agers trying to figure out her sexuality. Cline is very interested in music and specifically song-writing and performance. Cline is very driven and figures out a way to overcome many obstacles, and in the process learns a lot about herself along with learning that not being honest is not the best po Candidly Cline is a book for middle-school age readers, as it brings forward the struggles of being a young teen-ager in a small community battling poverty, lack of opportunities close by, and a teen-agers trying to figure out her sexuality. Cline is very interested in music and specifically song-writing and performance. Cline is very driven and figures out a way to overcome many obstacles, and in the process learns a lot about herself along with learning that not being honest is not the best policy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I adored this book. I loved Cline, I loved her passion for music, I loved that she went out and rebelled but in the sweetest way possible (I mean, she did have the support of her grandmother). I think my favorite thing about this book was that Cline was a believable 8th grader. She acted like she was in 8th grade, her interactions with her friends were middle school interactions. They were not 8th graders acting like juniors who act like they are sophomores in college. Just normal middle school. I adored this book. I loved Cline, I loved her passion for music, I loved that she went out and rebelled but in the sweetest way possible (I mean, she did have the support of her grandmother). I think my favorite thing about this book was that Cline was a believable 8th grader. She acted like she was in 8th grade, her interactions with her friends were middle school interactions. They were not 8th graders acting like juniors who act like they are sophomores in college. Just normal middle school. Winner.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Lintemuth

    Absolutely beautiful coming of age story that hit the perfect note on so many levels. I loved Cline and her growth arc throughout the story, her relationship with Gram reminded me so much of my own relationship with my grandmother..and the struggle of being young, in the closet, and struggling with who gets to know your story. I felt that on a soul level. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone and can't wait to have it in store. Absolutely beautiful coming of age story that hit the perfect note on so many levels. I loved Cline and her growth arc throughout the story, her relationship with Gram reminded me so much of my own relationship with my grandmother..and the struggle of being young, in the closet, and struggling with who gets to know your story. I felt that on a soul level. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone and can't wait to have it in store.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Guaranteed to make you want to burst into song--this book has a heart a mile wide and one of the most endearing, delightful tween girl characters I've ever read. A warm-hearted coming-of-age story full of complex threads about multigenerational family relationships, growing up just making ends meet, the many ways kids (and adults) relate to religion, and of course: music. I love this book so much, and I hope you do, too! Guaranteed to make you want to burst into song--this book has a heart a mile wide and one of the most endearing, delightful tween girl characters I've ever read. A warm-hearted coming-of-age story full of complex threads about multigenerational family relationships, growing up just making ends meet, the many ways kids (and adults) relate to religion, and of course: music. I love this book so much, and I hope you do, too!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Halbur

    There is so much goodness in this 📚 This quote says it all. “It’s not my job to make anyone happy, though. It’s just my job to be me.” Best lesson for everyone! Thanks for sharing with #bookposse @Kathsby @HarperChildrens

  28. 4 out of 5

    pia (pixiepia)

    this book was so much fun! i really loved our main character and the general story was new and refreshing. i also love how it tackled themes of religion and the LGBTQ+ community. such a sweet story about identity and the power of music. CW: alzheimer’s & homophobia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz Wine

    🏳️‍🌈 I am much older than this books demographics but always looking for well written LGBTQ books and this is definitely one of them. This one was of the type of books you read in one sitting, totally engrossed and lose track of time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Perfect queer MG

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