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Sam wishes she had a headphone-jack to her brain. So people could hear the thoughts she can't figure out how to say. She has a hard time focusing. Drums beat constantly in her head. Because that's her dream.
But her parents see dreaming as a head-in-the-clouds impractical thing. And they can't afford private lessons. Or a drum set. Sam's assembled one in her room out of encyclopedias and phone books and newspapers--but it's just not the same.
She has to find a way to get lessons. And get in the school's jazz band next year.
On top of all that, kids tease. Say girls aren't good drummers. Or whatever nonsense. Even her best friend Kristen and fellow band mate Scott don't stick up for her. So she sticks up for herself. And gets in trouble. Now the principal has it out for her. Is leaving voicemails for her parents. Voicemails Sam deletes.
And the arts budget is being cut from her school. The odds seem insurmountable. But Sam's determined. She's discovering many things: maybe you have to own yourself out loud; maybe anger isn't an advantage; maybe there's more power in a slight controlled flick of the wrist than in a pounding fist.
Sam's passion for music swells through the prose. It's a perfect book for any kid who's even been told or felt on their own that they're dumb for dreaming.