A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds! Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard. For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown. So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights -- plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it. Until they're not. Denver begins to realize that she's trapped in Merc's world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken. Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl's dreams can be used against her -- and what it takes to fight back.
MUTED by Tami Charles is a heart wrenching novel-in-verse inspired by true events. It examines the dark side of entertainment industries, how people can twist your mind and use whatever they can to get you under their control, and how the world often doubts or denies victims. Denver's story is tragically realistic and encourages a call to action to pay attention and listen closely. It's also about the perseverance to keep believing in yourself when others don't.
The verse format is beautiful and fits the music scene setting. It flows smoothly and incorporates Denver's lyrics seamlessly. I love the places it gets creative with format and spacing, like when the airplane is rising and when a sound gets louder.
Denver is a fully fleshed out protagonist with huge dreams and a lot of love in her heart for music and especially for her friend-and-maybe-more Dali. They don't have a neat label for their relationship, but they also don't need one. It's clear that there is immense care and love between them, both romantic and platonic. Part of Merc's abuse is keeping them isolated from each other and trying to force arguments and division. There are several scenes toward the end where they're able to find each other that had me in tears.
MUTED is a stunning heartbreak of a book that pairs well with Tiffany D. Jackson's GROWN and Angie Thomas's ON THE COME UP.