I found The Music of What Happens at my town library. I’ve read some of Bill Konigsberg’s other books, so finding this on the new release shelf was a nice surprise.
When Max steps up to a food truck to place an order, he doesn’t expect to see Jordan, a kid from his school. Max certainly doesn’t expect to walk away with a job offer, but there you have it.
Jordan’s dad died a few years ago, and Jordan and his mom have been living off of the life insurance money. They’ve exhausted their savings, and they’re now a few months behind with the mortgage. Revitalizing the food truck that Jordan’s dad used to run is their final hope; if they don’t earn enough money to pay off the accumulated debt, they’ll lose the house.
Max and Jordan might go to the same school, but they aren’t friends. Things are awkward at first, but they quickly realize that they are going to need to communicate with each other if they want their endeavors to be successful.
And as they get to know each other, they realize that they have more in common than they realized. Working on the food truck proves to be therapeutic for Max and Jordan. Growing up is tough enough without having to deal with heavy adult issues, but as their tentative friendship grows into something more, it just feels right.
One of the central themes of the book involves Max’s sexual assault. The incident occurred the night before the narrative begins, and it’s something that Max comes to terms with over the course of the book. Max is fairly popular, and an athlete, and while the encounter repulsed him, he has a hard time acknowledging that someone like him could be raped. He blames himself for not doing more to stop the other guy, especially since he was bigger and stronger.
This was such a good book. Konigsberg treats the serious issues with sensitivity; they are acknowledged and validated. There is a nice balance with lighter material as well: working on a food truck in the middle of the summer in Arizona is bound to lead to hilarious situations.
I would absolutely recommend The Music of What Happens. I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Konigsberg in the future.