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The Music of What Happens

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2019 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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ellie I think if we can have multiple books published every summer where the girl meets a boy and her normal, boring life is suddenly incredible because of…moreI think if we can have multiple books published every summer where the girl meets a boy and her normal, boring life is suddenly incredible because of him, we can have two gay books that focus on boys helping each other through vulnerability in a town set in the Southern United States.

I'm sure the writing and the characters will be different, and so I'd say to focus on that. These are character-focused books than a plot anyway, so this setting of a small town is pretty much in every summer contemporary book. It's the characters and the relationship that sets it apart. And the addition of gays already sets it apart a little, right? (less)

Community Reviews

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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  120 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
What can I say to the good folks of Goodreads about this, my fifth novel?

This is a book I am very proud of and excited about. I can't wait for it to come out so y'all can read the story of Max and Jordan. If you were a reader who loved the Rafe/Ben relationship, I think you'll love this one, too.

Coming 02/26/2019! (EDIT: it was originally 1/29, but there's this paper shortage going on in the publishing industry so they pushed the date back to make sure there would be no hitch with the launch. S
Shaun Hutchinson
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five enthusiastic stars.
Lulu (the library leopard)
can we. like. not one-star books years before they're released with no explanation? that would be cool.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Nov 17, 2017 marked it as releases-2019
"The novel explores the paradox of how boys are taught to emotionally armor up, but find the power to change their lives through vulnerability." UM. YES.
May 25, 2018 marked it as to-read
oh my goodness this cover is GAYREAT i love the colors!!

20gayteen is going so well
kav (xreadingsolacex)
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
disclaimer: i received an arc of this of this novel in exchange for an honest review. this is no way impacted my opinions.

content warnings: rape

In the author’s note preceding the story, Konisberg writes about his struggle with masculinity versus feminitity as a gay male, and the societal ideals of when it’s “okay” to be gay. This is what Konisberg strives to represent in The Music of What Happens, a young-adult contemporary featuring an opposites attract romance about Max, a Mexican gay athl
Trigger warnings for this book: rape, PTSD, abusive parents, mental health issues.

This one's a bit of a tough book for me to rate. I've spent a day after finishing up reading the ARC to let my thoughts collect well enough, and I think I'm going to give it a 3.5 and round up to a 4. I can see why it gets a lot of comparisons to Ari and Dante - the Southwestern setting, a certain retro vibe to it (though it's set in the present day but makes a lot of use of 80s music and an ancient food truck), on
Danielle Chambers
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, favorites
Trigger warning for rape.

This book was so good! I expected it to be good don't get me wrong, but it was much more intense than I expected! Max and Jordan were such beautifully written characters. Both flawed and well fleshed out. Both had their problems and their strengths. Barriers were broken with "Dude Bro" stereotyping and "Twink" stereotyping. Gender walls were broken down.

The thing I really loved about this book was that it focused on showing that showing feelings and communicating those
Paul  Hankins
Full Disclosure: I consider Bill Konigsberg to be an author-friend. . .and I write a review of the new book in that light. And. . .in love.

There's something about love that makes us skeptical of possibility. That love must do something other than simply. . .love. That in the presence of love, someone gets saved. Something gets set right. Somebody or some place is transformed. Because of love. We put limits on the language of love by categorizing its expression into five distinct categories, cut
Nov 20, 2018 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
"In the end, we're all both," Konigsberg said. "We all contain multitudes, and it was so cool to watch my more feminine character ― Jordan ― find his inner warrior, and my more masculine character ― Max ― lean into a vulnerability he'd never experienced before."


Jan 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: coming-soon-19
I'm so glad they broke the chain of terrible Bill Konigsberg covers.
Nicole Valentine
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. I could not put it down. So much to love but what spoke to me most was how it was a meditation on feeling disconnected even among your closest friends, overcoming that wall of routine that forms in friendships and creating real honest dialogue. Finding your space in the universe and knowing yourself and how you fit into the grand symphony. I will miss these characters in my daily life. Bravo, Bill Konigsberg.
McKinlay Dennis
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
TW: rape

This was so much more than i thought it was gonna be. The cover screams cute gay love story, and it is, but it also tackles so many other things. Rape, parents abandoning kids, micro aggressions, racism. In this book Max & Jordan both grow so much. There were little things that bothered me but they all worked out in the end. Also, there’s a dog. Need i say more?
Blake Fraina
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This novel has a bit of a split personality. On the one hand, it’s a deceptively lighthearted romance between two high school boys the summer before their senior year and on the other, it’s a rather bleak story involving sexual abuse, poverty, mental illness and deceit.

It’s a sweltering summer in Arizona and nerdy, insecure Jordan is trying to help his emotionally erratic mother make a go of his late father’s food truck, even though neither has any commercial cooking experience. Along comes popu
JM Cabral
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Actual rating: 4.5 ★

This one's a shocker... In a good way!

Full review to come as on-sale date approaches! Here's a blurb for now:

"The Music of What Happens is one deceiving book. Readers will take one look at that cover and instantly expect a cute, light, and romantic love story about two queer boys, and YES, it is, basically. But it's not light. It's a deep exploration of one's disconnection among friends and family, and overcoming the obstacles that come with living honestly. It's a contempora
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the exact book I needed right now! While it deals with some heavy topics it’s still incredibly hopeful and cute and DANG DID I DEVOUR IT!!!

I’m not always impressed with love stories but I was with this one!! Both Max and Jordan learn and grow from each other which was awesome to see. The mutual respect, support, and trust (even when shit was hitting the fan) was wonderful because it meant they both brought out the best in each other.

Overall a really good read!

Ps. I was lucky enough to
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing

While Konigsberg's earlier books tended to deal with kids coming to terms with their sexuality, The Music of What Happens takes a more mature approach. Max and Jordan, whose interlocked stories are told in alternating chapters, are sure of who they are, and dealing with other issues -- sexual consent, dysfunctional parents, stereotyping. These are some heavy themes. But as usual, Konigsberg tackles them with humor and heart.

Add a big dose of setting (food truck culture, Arizona in the summer), b
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This stunning novel touches on many important coming-of-age topics; not just being gay and finding love, but male sexual assault and what masculinity means to different people. What really makes a "man"? The Music of What Happens is emotionally opening, and feels like a firm, assuring hug. Konigsberg is taking expectations in male-centered books to the next level. In addition to beautiful development, you get a touching and sweet romance between two wonderful boys.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
FINISHED: 1/19/19

Thank you to Scholastic for sending me an advance review copy of this fantastic book. I’ve been meaning to read Openly Straight for years, and now reading and loving The Music of What Happens only makes me want to read it even more! The writing in this book is stellar! The characters, Max and Jordan, feel extremely real and well rounded. The dialogue is natural and clever. And the relationships are genuine. On top of all that, this book also addresses very important issues such
Brittany Walker (NekosBooks)
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars
I won an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway.

TW: Rape, and mental abuse (I'm basing the abuse on personal experience)

Honestly, this book really surprised me, and not just because I thought it was going to be set in the ether the late 1980s or early 1990s. It's set in 2019! Never would have guessed that based on the cover.

*Character development was done seamlessly and felt natural.
*Very fun to read even during the more stressful parts.
*Short chapters
*Fast pace
*I found some places and loc
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book gets a 5 for the clarity and beauty of the content as much as for the fact that it is exactly what he said he wanted to write: a love story. It just happens to be between 2 teenage gay young men. It also happens in my freaking backyard, which is so cool for a change! But, seriously...I loved the lack of drama around them being gay...they were both out and, if not loud about it, they also didn't hide it or spend any time on it in the telling of this story. Beautiful.

Bill Konigsberg recen
Ms. Yingling
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

I love Konigsberg's writing-- he has fantastic characters with very distinctive voices, and Out of Pocket was such a great book.

Unfortunately, these are firmly YA and not MG. Too much swearing and informative descriptions. I would love it if Mr. Konigsberg wrote a MG novel something along the lines of Barakiva's One Man Guy. I try very hard to have LGBTQ+ novels in my library, but they have to follow the same standards for on page romance that other books. This would be
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another important book by Bill Konigsberg.

This one is about so many things (friendship, family, self-acceptance, hard work, loss, recovery, a food truck...), but most importantly it’s about consent and consent between two boys, something we still don’t read or talk enough about in young adult literature.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-releases
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is not ‘just another lgbtq’ book. So many things UNIQUE and IMPORTANT.

I LOVE that Mr. Konigsburg stamps out those stereotypes. Not only of ‘gay boys’, but also, in this case, many other things, including a half Mexican main character.

We also get an LGBTQ book where a main character is sexually assaulted. M/M assault. I believe this is important for people because this exact sort of situation probably happens DAILY and the victim stays quiet from embarrassment or thinking he’s wrong, etc.
Joanna Goodrich
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

I really love this cover. It's the first thing that caught my eye when I saw this book. Although I will say that the boy who I think is Jordan is NOT how I imagined him at all so that was a little sad.


This book is compared to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a lot and I can see why. This is a story about two boys who are dealing with their own traumas. They are suffering alone until they begin working together on Jordan's father's old food truck.

I think for it be
McKayla Moors
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Growing up, I didn't have the language to talk about the ways in which I felt different than the people around me. I couldn't articulate to myself or to anyone else why I felt like I had more in common with the boys in my classes than with the girls, or why doing stereotypically "girly" things felt disingenuous, like I was putting on an act. For a long time, when my eyes would linger just as long on the girls in the sex scenes in movies as they would on the boys, I told myself that I was a perso ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
I've been a huge Bill Konigsberg fan since I read "Openly Straight" (and then promptly devoured his backlist as I waited for "Honestly Ben"), so it's possible that his writing just works for me and I was destined to like this book, although falling back on that assumption would do a great disservice to this unique and lovely novel. "The Music of What Happens" is more mature than Bill's previous novels, taking on more complex subjects such as same-sex rape and destructive parent/child relationshi ...more
Andy Winder
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve noticed other reviewers compare this one to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe and, while I see the similarities, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Both take place in the 1980s and discuss Hispanic culture, but I think their stories are different enough that both tell a valuable story. If you’re a fan of Aristotle and Dante, you might enjoy this one and if not, read both! They’re each beautifully written!

One of the most interesting discussions in this book is “feminine”
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Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth - at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he'd be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp's "D" team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside ...more
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