Playing Through the Turnaround

by Mylisa Larsen (Author)

Playing Through the Turnaround
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

In a timely, insightful story told with sparkling wit and heart, young musicians protesting plans for budget cuts navigate miscalculations, indifferent adults, and unexpected loss as they discover the power of speaking out and the value of listening.

"A brave and dazzling debut, this timely novel is a blueprint for hope."--Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medalist and best-selling author of The One and Only Ivan

Fifth period is hands down the best time of day in Connor U. Eubanks Middle School, because that's when Mr. Lewis teaches Jazz Lab. So his students are devastated when their beloved teacher quits abruptly. Once they make a connection between budget cuts and Mr. Lewis's disappearance, they hatch a plan: stop the cuts, save their class. Soon, they become an unlikely band of crusaders, and their quest quickly snowballs into something much bigger--a movement involving the whole middle school. But the adults in charge seem determined to ignore their every protest. How can the kids make themselves heard?

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
In an effort to get grown-ups to listen to them, middle schoolers do something extraordinary. So does Larsen, in her debut--by introducing characters so distinct and alive that each sparkles and yet becomes much more as they together tackle the challenging task of asserting their right to a say in their own educations. A magnificent medley of cogent themes and memorable moments.

Horn Book Magazine

The perfect amount of tension draw[s] readers in to a funny, sad, and heartwarming story that celebrates the importance of independence, belonging, and the arts.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
October 11, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
JUV039220 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Values & Virtues
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
Library of Congress categories
Middle schools
School fiction

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