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Song of Rebellion Review by Susan K. Marlow

By Shari Popejoy
Injoy, Inc.
PO Box 75
Buffalo, MO 65622

Song of Rebellion takes up where Shari Popejoy's first book, Speak No Evil, left off. The opening words are, "When we last saw the Livingstones, they were told of a soon coming visit of a little girl named Tina." Although reading the first book in the Livingstone Library is recommended, it is not necessary for understanding the events in this second book. Every reader who becomes acquainted with Rachael, Luke, Logan, and Dori Livingstone cannot help but like these sensible, adventurous children. I'm afraid the same cannot be said about Tina, the newest visitor to the vacation stop of Rhemawood Castle.

Song of Rebellion is clearly a story about Tina, a little girl who continuously makes poor, selfish choices throughout most of the book. As the spoiled, only child of rich and doting parents, Tina believes her own "song" is the only important song in life. However, she's about to learn there is more to a life-song than her own solo. (The book is titled Song of Rebellion for a reason.)

Throughout the fifteen chapters and 160 pages of this middle-grade novel (ages 8-12), the author takes the reader on a journey of both rebellion and redemption. As with the first book, the author writes with an old-fashioned, tell-me-a-story voice, which is refreshing and engaging. For instance, she introduces us to Tina by saying, "Normally, I wouldn't enjoy telling you about Tina, because it's not a very flattering tale, but she has given me permission to tell her story." And you want to hear it! I know there's something inside of me that enjoys reading about a troublesome girl (so long as she is redeemed in the end) and her antics. Tina is so selfish and such a strong leader that she manages to pull little Dori Livingstone into her world of deceit. The older Livingstone children realize that something must be done to help Tina grow beyond herself.

Musical references are used in the story in a clever way to show allegory. "Assuming that humans produce a sound wave, and it somehow goes out of tune, what causes it and how do we get back in tune?" Rachael proposes to her brothers. ". . . I think Tina's a bit out of tune herself," Logan pipes up. And so on. The obvious connection between their insight and a person's spiritual condition is interesting and allows opportunities for discussion if the book is read aloud.

Tina's redemption shows a surprising yet satisfying twist. If you have musically inclined children at home, they would especially enjoy this story.

Product review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2010