The Music Thief by Peni R. Griffin

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In a harsh and noisy time, a young girl's key to her dreams -- music -- may be closer than she thinks.

There was a new song playing in the back of Alma's head. An angry song, for Jovita and her killer, and Eddie, and everybody whose family did things that everybody had to live with. She could feel it, thumping in her brain, but couldn't hear it well enough to even hum it. Not in this house.
She needed quiet, and a guitar. She needed Mrs. B's house.

Alma misses many things. She misses her grandmother; her big brother Eddie back when he didn't deal drugs; the freedom she had before her baby niece Silvita was born; and now, worst of all, she misses Jovita, the singer she idolized who was recently killed in a drive-by shooting. Just when things seem hopeless, Alma discovers the cat door in her neighbor's often-empty home, and an unintended window opens into a better world, full of music.

And what could be the harm in Alma's stealing (borrowing, really) a little peace and quiet, maybe even a ticket to her future?

Peni R. Griffin has created a character at once bitter and optimistic. She has succeeded, even more impressively, in making the "dark" world surrounding Alma shine with small -- but life-changing -- possibility.

About Peni R. Griffin

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Peni R. Griffin is the author of numerous books for young readers, including Switching Well, which was named an ALA Notable Book and a Best Book for Young Adults. Ms. Griffin lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Published October 11, 2002 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). 160 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Desperate to escape the constant squabbling of her older sister and brother—the one a high-school dropout with a baby, the other already running drugs—to grieve in private, she takes advantage of a loose screen next door, and finds herself in a record-filled house belonging to a music teacher wh...

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