Reviewed by David T. Valentin
The Music of What Happens
By Bill Konigsberg
Narrated by Joel Froomkin & Anthony Ray Perez
Teen & Young Adult
The Music of What Happens is an adorable story about two teens falling in love during the chaos that is life, showing that just because we sometimes might have a hard time loving ourselves, doesn’t mean we’re incapable of being in a healthy, loving relationship.
Max is a chill guy into sports and video games who hangs with his best friends and lives with his mother. One day, Max finds a food truck named Coq Au Vinny at a local farmers market. Coco Vinny is run by Jordan and his mother, who’s spiraling out of control after the death of Jordan’s father and her husband. After Max witnesses Jordan’s mom having a full on breakdown, afraid she won’t be able to pay the money she owes on the mortgage, Max decides he’ll help Jordan run the food truck. They don’t hit it off at first, but when they start to get real and honest with each other, there might be more between the two of them than just running the food truck together.
This book was an instant laugh-out-loud performance through both the prose and the narrators, Joel Froomkin and Anthony Ray Perez. The funniest part is that the beginning isn’t even the funniest parts. The Music of What Happens balances its comedy through the more tender, serious moments of the book, addressing issues like a gambling addicted mother, anxiety, and rape. Its heavy at times, but Konigsberg makes sure to give both readers and the characters a moment to breathe while taking the proper time to address these topics.
Nothing ever feels rushed in The Music of What Happens. Although the book only takes place within the span of summer vacation—so about two, three months—the details make the book feel a lot longer which gets readers properly intimate with the characters and their stories, both individually and together.