The Music of What Happens – The Reviews!

TMOWH cover

The release date for  THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS is less than two weeks away!

That’s right: my fifth novel will be introduced to the world on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and I’m so, so excited. I’m dying to talk to readers about Max and Jordan and their relationship, and about Jordan’s poems, and what happened to Max the night before the book, and about cloud eggs, and organic, locally sourced frozen lemonade. and what it feels like to be in a hot food truck on a 120-degree day in Mesa, Arizona.

For now, I want to share a couple things with you. The first are the reviews! So far, THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS has received two starred reviews, from Booklist and School Library Journal. And some of my absolute favorite authors have sounded off on the book, too!

Advance Praise for The Music of What Happens:

* “Konigsberg demonstrates once again why he is one of the major voices in LGBTQ literature.” — Booklist, starred review


* “Give to fans of Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. A first purchase for public and high school libraries.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“The result is a story with imperfect characters who are, refreshingly, called out on problematic behaviors and aim to do better. A fresh addition to the menu of queer teenage love stories.” — Kirkus

“Readers seeking an unusually thoughtful gay-positive romance will find this moving.” — BCCB

“This book offers an interesting perspective on growing up and coming-of-age by crafting two main characters who offer unique points of view for an often underserved audience. This is a much-needed book in every high school library.” — School Library Connection

“Bill Konigsberg has a way of creating characters that could be your next door neighbor, your best friend, or that cute boy who once helped you change a flat tire. Max and Jordan will find their way into your heart, and after the last page, you’ll regret that they aren’t real. Once you start reading The Music of What Happens, you won’t be able to stop.” — Brigid Kemmerer, author of Letters to the Lost
“With The Music of What Happens, Bill Konigsberg serves up a profound examination of masculinity, consent, and relationships through the eyes of two of the most endearing narrators I’ve ever read. Jordan and Max are vulnerable, sweet, funny, and flawed. Teens, whether they identify as LGBTQIA+ or not, are lucky to have this book in their lives.” — Shaun David Hutchinson, author of We Are the Ants

“The Music of What Happens is a compelling, laugh-out-loud story, as swoon-worthy as it is deeply affecting. Max and Jordan grabbed hold of my heart from the moment I met them and I don’t see them letting go any time soon. Konigsberg has a way of making me see the world–and food trucks!–a little differently.” — David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik.

The second is the first chapter of the book, which you can now read online for free!

You can pre-order the book online now from your local indie bookstore, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or, if you’re in the Phoenix area, come to the launch party the night before the book’s release! It’s at Changing Hands in Tempe at 7pm on Monday, Feb. 25.

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6 Responses to The Music of What Happens – The Reviews!

  1. John Keats says:

    I just loved the perspective of this book thanks for this valuable review

  2. I don’t read books very often, mostly because I have a hard time finding any stories that I find compelling enough to keep my attention or interest. I often visit bookstores in search of something that’s going to do it, but I almost never make a purchase of a novel or anything other than a DIY type book or kit. During a vacation to NYC, I took my husband, little sister, niece and nephew to STRAND Bookstore. We explored all the floors, and I casually looked around as I do, expecting to buy a graphic design trends book or something on the occult and symbolism as I had a project in the works in the back of my mind. I had secretly hoped to find some new novel to give some spare time to, but nothing I saw or read was along the lines of what my heart asked for at the time.

    Then I saw The Music of What Happens on a display featuring an illustration of two boys holding hands. I’m intrigued. I pick up the book, read the back text and become more intrigued. I placed the book down and walked away. “You’re never going to read this book”, I thought to myself, “so don’t waste your $20 here”. I nearly left the store, but I felt this nudge. I felt this incredible urge that told me it’s the book you’re looking for. So just before my crew exited the store, I ran back, grabbed a copy and I told myself, “OK, flip to any page, read three lines and if you like what you read – commit.” So I did, and I couldn’t tell you what I read, but I committed. It took me about a month to read the entire book, cause life – but damn! What an amazing story. These characters are beautiful and real. The environment is so perfectly described (I’ve traveled to Arizona and passed through it enough times to know what kind of heat this book is detailing). Their evolutions are inspiring, and I cannot thank you enough for this beautiful book that is now a part of my very small collection. Thank you for the diversity of characters, the mix of cultures, the influences of family and society, and the inspiration of what it means to love someone.

  3. Tim T says:

    Every day that goes by since finishing this book I miss Max and Jordan. I bought this off amazon just for something to read during a weekend getaway and I fell head-over-heels for these two—I’m finding it rather painful to have to leave their universe!

    One of the things that I think is so great about this is that unlike many “coming of age” genre novels, the treatment of minor characters has as much heart as that of the main characters, and the growing up that Jordan and max do is not merely about discovering what they are to themselves and each other but what they are to everyone in their lives. So much of this is about developing adult relationships and getting over fear of vulnerabilities (and how the two really go together) and I’m so impressed at how smoothly and (seemingly) effortlessly Konigsberg includes these themes in the story. I’ve read Pulitzer Prize-winning novels that don’t do it this well.

    There are so many things to love about this and I may just have to reread it when I get the chance. Thanks so much for this and I really hope it finds its way into the hands of a great many teenagers!

  4. Can suggested book club discussion questions be added to the website?

  5. Carmen says:

    I was expecting a lot in the beginning. The reviews made it seem like one of the greatest LGBTQ novels out there to date and I was pumped to start reading it. It was okay in the beginning: a little bumpy here and there. The characters would say or do something that just gave off these terrible vibes and I got scared? I couldn’t tell if the author intended these things or not. I was scared that this book would turn into one representation of my community that showed the negative side of us queers, and not in a good way. Thankfully the main characters, Jordan as well as Max started to change. They realized how bullshit some parts of their friendships were. They realized they could change themselves and others consequently. That was the moment all my worries disappeared and I fell in love. I fell in love with the characters personality’s. I fell in love with their developing relationships, and their development overall. I also learned a lot. I became hopeful about my own life. I started imagining changing myself and getting rid of my self-deprecation shield. I feel like I can better my friendships and crush these harmful stereotypes and jokes that I barely realized wormed their way into my friend group. I read because I learn so many lessons on life through it, and I just want to say that the lessons I learned reading this find are some of the most valuable. Thank you, Bill Konigsberg, for giving me hope that maybe someday my gay ass will learn to appreciate myself and ‘the music of what happens’. c:

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