CHASING HARMONY by Melanie Bell GENRE:  Young Adult LGBTQ+


by Melanie Bell


GENRE:  Young Adult LGBTQ+ 



CHASING HARMONY by Melanie Bell GENRE:  Young Adult LGBTQ+
A refreshing YA debut from Canadian author Melanie Bell, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Becky Albertalli, and Nina LaCour.

 Melanie Bell has created a compelling coming-of-age story, featuring a bisexual protagonist, for those that can relate to the search for untapped potential. Told in alternating timelines on Prince Edward Island and Vancouver, Chasing Harmony reminds us of the exhilarating feeling that comes with hearing your heart’s song.

Piano prodigy Anna Stern is used to having all eyes on her. As she becomes a teenager, Anna struggles to find her identity without the soundtrack of sonatas and concertos. There’s also the worry that comes with the crushing expectations of her musical gift and her parents’ imploding marriage.

Anna finds refuge in her best friend, Liss, who is full of magic and escape plans. However, now their relationship is changing and Anna is starting to fall for her. Adding to the complicated status is new kid Darien, who is always vying for Anna's attention.

As the haunting spectre of burnout lurks close by, an upcoming performance with Liss will determine both of their futures. With everything building to a crescendo, what follows is an authentic life in the making.



She blows out the flame and crushes the poster into a ball as bits of ash flake off. She can’t let them catch this.

 Another voice: “I swear I didn’t burn anything!”

 She grabs the stack of old band posters from the file shelf and stuffs them in her bag. No one else working at The Green Staircase cares about these posters. It was Anna’s idea to keep them.

 “Maybe it’s the radiator.”

 All those bands, her pride and joy. Who was she kidding?

 “I think it’s coming from over there—”

 Quick! Into the alley, garbage bins reeking. What bin should burnt paper go in—recycling? Compost? She tosses and runs wildly down the street. Her shift is over. She’s done her job.

Out of habit, she stops at the community centre on the corner. It’s late Friday evening, still open, no floor hockey games or beading club for underprivileged youth. No one at the pool tables or arcade.

 She rushes to the piano.

 No one is there to clap as she launches into the band’s last number, a tender little piece sung by Mustache Man whose burnt face now graces a compost bin. She hasn’t played it before, but that isn’t a problem. Her fingers relish the slick feel of keys, the quick acrobatics of motion. She riffs on the melody, improvises, and adds a solo section. For those lyrics she remembers, she sings along, not powerfully but perfectly in key.


Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt different from the people around you. 

Is your hand up? Thought so. 

My novel Chasing Harmony focuses on a character whose life is marked by difference. Anna Stern is a musical prodigy. She’s also bisexual, which she recognizes at a later age. 

People with abilities like Anna’s have brains that differ from what’s typical. When they’re young, they may be able to perform like adults in certain ways, but socially and emotionally, they’re kids. 

Sometimes the adults in their lives have overly high expectations for talented children. The kids themselves might feel driven to strive towards an ideal, and disappointed if they don’t meet it. 

Anna’s an only child, so she has all her parents’ attention – and bears the weight of all their expectations. 

Add a queer identity, in a time and place that isn’t welcoming, and things get complicated. 

I was conscious of creating a privileged position for my character. She has access to a music school where she meets other kids like her and gets to collaborate with them. 

I wanted to show that people can struggle even in relatively supportive situations. And even if it looks like someone’s set up for success, life rarely follows a straightforward path.   

It’s hard to be different, even when some of your differences are seen as “good” differences. 

On the other hand, differences, including those that are judged negatively by others and by society, can be sources of beauty and power. 

What makes you different? In what ways are these differences a source of strength? How can you embrace them?

What can you do today to be who you truly are?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

CHASING HARMONY by Melanie Bell GENRE:  Young Adult LGBTQ+
Melanie Bell is a Canadian multi-genre writer living in the UK. Her books include a short story collection, Dream Signs, a nonfiction title, The Modern Enneagram, and the YA novel Chasing Harmony. She has written for several publications including Contrary, Cicada, The Fiddlehead, and Huffington Post. She loves music, art, and nature, and aspires to see as much of the world as she can.

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Where to purchase Chasing Harmony (print)


Where to purchase Chasing Harmony (digital)




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