Review by Booklist Review
Moreland's debut spotlights queer relationships against the backdrop of the fast-paced music industry. As tweens, Steph, Gina, Celeste, and Eva met in the middle-school music room and discovered that they each had a passion and talent for music. Fast-forward a few years and their music group is at the top of the charts, with a budding romance between Celeste and Eva--but then comes the inevitable breakup. A disastrous storm in their hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, brings the group back together, as old feelings bubble up and the friends decide what they want out of life. Through snippets from Tumblr posts, Moreland captures the fandom world and uses those virtual interactions to give depth to the fictional band, Moonlight Overthrow. Though they occasionally lack background characterization, each of the band members will resonate with readers. This engaging novel situates genderqueer characters in leading roles and delivers a memorable story surrounding gender identity, love, and friendship; readers will be clamoring for more.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Garnering two Grammys and countless fans, Moonlight Overthrow was the perfect musical combination of four queer friends, all former middle school classmates--until it wasn't. Now, a year and a half after the band's breakup, they're barely in touch. Celeste's a star solo act in New York; Eva, who was blindsided by the simultaneous endings of the band and her romance with Celeste, is in college, writing music and running an anonymous Tumblr account about the group from L.A.; Gina, the band's sole person of color, is a successful actor; and Steph, who now identifies as nonbinary, is back home in Duluth. There's no reunion in the works, despite online rumors about the topic, but after their hometown is hit by massive storms, the band agrees to do a benefit concert. It's difficult, though: hurt feelings need to be worked out, Steph prioritizes their family over the group, and the band's not used to performing together anymore. And then there's Eva and Celeste's unfinished story. Debut author Moreland switches between the bandmates; though their voices feel undifferentiated at times, she also uses interview transcripts, social media posts, and breathless fan reports to create a funny, romantic, and moving picture of four young musicians trying to figure out their complicated personal and professional desires amid media scrutiny. Ages 13--up. Agent: Jessica Errera, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up--In middle school, Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph formed a queer pop band called Moonlight Overthrow that made them superstars. Last year, however, not only did the band break up, but Eva's longtime girlfriend, Celeste, dumped her for a solo career. Now Eva attends college, Celeste sings, Gina stars in movies, and no one knows about Steph, who moved home to Duluth, IA. But after a major storm lays waste to Duluth, Gina suggests one last benefit concert for Moonlight Overthrow. Each band member has reasons for agreeing, and their fandom goes wild. Over one long week at Steph's house, they all consider what they lost and gained by ending the band--and their relationships--and figuring out what they really want for the future. This novel is a home run. In their personal journeys, the sympathetic protagonists make good role models for teens worried that every mistake or course change is permanent; the characters demonstrate that growing up, changing your mind, and admitting you screwed up are all fine. The nonchronological structure effectively fleshes out their backstories piece by piece, and interstitial social media clips represent fan culture honestly and fondly. The protagonists are all white except Gina, who is Black, and are cisgender except for genderqueer Steph. Although swearing and colloquial body part terms occur frequently, romantic interludes and references are not explicit. VERDICT Fans of bands and bandom will love these queer college-age former pop stars reuniting for a benefit concert, personal reflection, and a hopeful future.--Rebecca Moore, The Overlake Sch., Redmond, WA
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