Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Mike Grosso
Publisher: Clarion Books
Sam just can’t stop drumming. She drums on her notebook during classes, on her one lonely drum in symphonic band, and on her desk drum set after school when she’s supposed to be doing her homework. She’s constantly dreaming about the day her parents will buy her a drum set. Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon, since her dad’s job doesn’t pay as much as it used to. If Sam wants lessons she’ll have to pay for them herself, so she comes up with a plan to make enough money to take private drum lessons. But her parents can never know, which leads to a lot of lies and secrets. Sam would love to come clean with her family and share her passion for rhythm, but once she starts telling lies, it becomes difficult to stop.
I Am Drums fills a niche in the awkward space between young adult and junior fiction literature, and luckily both age sets will enjoy this story. Sam is a tough, thoughtful, and driven character that many pre-teenagers will see themselves in. It’s hard to have a hobby that no one understands, and readers with that predicament will find an ally in Sam. This book is a great look at the problems pre-teenagers face regularly, like balancing old and new friendships, wrestling to learn a new hobby, and trying to understand why families struggle the way they do. Many books in this genre gloss over teenage issues, or get so buried in them readers can’t escape, but I Am Drums is a realistic look at the ups and downs of teenage life without getting stuck on either edge.