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+
refreshing YA debut from Canadian author Melanie Bell, perfect for fans of
Rainbow Rowell, Becky Albertalli, and Nina LaCour.

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.

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.

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.

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

 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
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+
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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