Parents' Guide to

I'm Glad I Did

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Upbeat tale of teen songwriter has vivid '60s backdrop.

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In her debut novel, I'M GLAD I DID, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songwriter Cynthia Weil vividly brings to life a world she knows well: the music business in early '60s New York City. This fascinating look back at a unique time and place serves as the backdrop to a coming-of-age story that will appeal to older teens. Heroine JJ Green is believable and teens will easily relate to her struggles against parental expectations as she forges her own path through life.

Colorful characters enliven JJ's world, and an intriguing mystery surrounding a fallen singing star holds the reader's interest right through to the end. The writing's not quite as finely crafted as one of her many pop masterpieces and weakens considerably in the sections of Dulcie's memoir, which don't find an authentic voice and read like a high-school essay. But Weil effectively conveys the feeling of an era when America was on the cusp of tremendous social change. Teens ready to make their own futures happen, and fans of mid-century American history, will enjoy connecting to that time when anything was possible.

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