Reviews for Who Put This Song On?, by Morgan Parker

marissareads's review against another edition

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5.0

Mood: Like, who put this song on?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 stars
Based on the author’s teenage years, Morgan Parker’s Who Put This Song On? follows her experiences as a black girl attending a predominantly white christian high school. After a suicidal episode, she is diagnosed with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. Morgan works through therapy, microagressions, rejection, and religious themes. Through friendship, family, and the works of Black revolutionaries, Morgan discovers the courage to be herself.
I feel like this is a book I needed when I was younger. More than that, this book addresses the stigma around mental health in the black community in a way that makes you want to start conversations with your friends and family. Like, let's actually talk about how we feel. Please. Morgan’s words are heartbreaking at times, but they are absolutely real, profound, and relatable. (Also: you can tell this is written by a poet.)

lauralinnea's review against another edition

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3.0

This was okay but it's the kind of book that is not that memorable.

mswocreader's review against another edition

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2.0

So this book had a lot of important themes. As someone who attended a majority white high school in 2008 I could relate to the racism Morgan faced and the feelings of not fitting in. It was like re-living my high school years again. I've since long pushed that past me. I didn't feel like this story had much of a structure though. I feel like everything written here could've been written in a long poem instead or an article. Teen Morgan wasn't a likable character and so much of this predictable story was wash, rinse, repeat that it was hard to get through. I do appreciate that Morgan Parker included resources for the people who need them to help deal with depression.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

jaqofalltrades's review against another edition

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5.0

It’s Morgan Parker. Of course it was wonderful.
She puts so much of herself in her work. I love it. She makes a transition into prose look easy. Reading so many carefully crafted seed thoughts for future (past?) poems made me smile. And that final note? Kindness.

whenshanreads's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars actually... I wanted so bad to like this book but I have to be honest....

The book follows Morgan, an African American girl living in white suburbia and attends a predominately white school. She has depression and anxiety and receives counseling for it. She struggles to fit in with her pro black views and seemingly 'liberal' political views. I do like the fact that she isn't the stereotypical black teenager -- only listening to rap music. Her environment may have a hand in this. The flow of the book and use of constant parentheses was hard to follow and digest besides the actual plot of the book. This easily was the biggest issue for me.

Nonetheless I appreciated the conversation and normalizing mental health issues and struggles, seeking help for it and having open dialogue about it. I also appreciated the friendship between her and Meg and how it came full circle throughout the book.

Thanks goes to Netgalley and Random House Children's for this ARC copy in exchange for my honest review!

utopiastateofmind's review against another edition

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5.0

(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Morgan’s story tackles issues of racism, the stress of being the token POC in the room, and feeling like you can never just exist – forever stuck between being ‘not black’ and yet at the same time unable to forget her identity. Her story is humorous and genuine, while not minimizing the struggles of finding the right medication and her family’s reactions to her mental health.

Who Put This Song On? brought me back to riding in cars at night, making CD mixtapes, and passing notes. It brings up the shades of racism – from the subtle remarks all the way to police brutality. The struggles Morgan feels while feeling like the black historical figures can either be celebrated for their sainthood or suffering. How telling it is when you’re asked what you would do if you went back in time and your answer is that you would be a slave – or not allowed through Ellis Island (in my case). (Which reminded me of Kindred by Octavia Butler a total must read!)

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/review-who-put-this-song-on-by-morgan-parker/

ashandtheink's review against another edition

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3.0

♡ Find this review and more on my blog ♡

"She tucks a piece of thin long hair behind her ear with a sense of satisfaction and ease that you have never experienced and probably never will...Everyone you can't be is a Marissa, and you are surrounded by Marissas."

Who Put This Song On by Morgan Parker is the first book I've ever read that so harshly illuminated the parts of my story I long ago shoved into the dimmest, dampest corners of my mind. I've never felt so seen--or I guess, to put it more aptly-- exposed.
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17 year old Morgan hates her life in the suburbs so much that one summer, she does something that she regrets. Out of fear and worry, her parents require Morgan to begin meeting regularly with a therapist. Everyone in her life accepts how things are, but Morgan wants desperately to drown out the monotony of their daily soundtrack by dancing to the beat of her own drum. ⠀

But how can you be at peace with who you are when you know your world will never accept you?

What I Loved:
+ Parker did a phenomenal job of capturing Morgan's voice and personality (likely because the book is based on Parker's own diary entries from her teen years). It is impossible not to love every part of her: the bold, the uncertain, the passionate, the overwhelmed. Readers have the privilege of truly getting to see Morgan for not only who she is, but also how she wishes she could be seen by others. This kind of insight into her mind is a salve for all the broken-hearted Black girls, and an offering of communion and compassion for all other readers.

+ Stories of Alt/weird/quirky Black girls deserve to be told. Investing in Black stories means opening your heart and mind to ALL of our voices. Growing up in a predominately white Southern town, I was Morgan! The "whitewashed," intellectual Black girl who listened to "weird" music and dressed like a "freak." Reading this book as an adult healed me in way I never could have anticipated, but it also dredged up pain I sunk to the bottom of the ocean over a decade ago. Read this book. Let it rip you open, let it heal you, let it teach you a different way of understanding.
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+ The author’s note offers advice on how to find mental health support. Parker closes the book by reminding her readers that there is always support available (no matter what you're dealing with) & things will get better. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

What I Didn't Quite Like
- The pacing of the book felt a little off to me. Moments I read as major skirted by and the climax wasn't at all where I thought it would be. As a result, when the ending (finally) arrived, it fell flat. I wasn't quite sure what the ending offered me as a reader that I hadn't gotten earlier on. Some of this may be because the book is aimed at Young Adult audiences, but I felt the book could've easily been at least 50 pages shorter.

- Some parts of the story remain unresolved. Oof. Maybe this is because the story hit um... a little too close to home for me, but there are some heavy topics explored that never get resolved. For example, one of Morgan's family members makes a harmful comment about Black women that is never addressed. Similarly, there's a scene that offers commentary on the fetishization of Black women that we don't see Morgan heal from or discuss with her therapist.

Yes, this mirrors real life (maybe Morgan wasn't ready to talk about either of these incidents directly, maybe the family member never changes their mind, etc), but I wish at least a paragraph or two would've explored with readers how to handle similar situations that may come up in their own lives.

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ambrreads's review against another edition

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3.0

Let me ponder on this review a bit.

e_l_bee's review against another edition

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5.0

this is the funniest depiction of a girl’s life after her suicide attempt where she’s trying to build the kind of life she actually wants to live. morgan parker is a genius

hesskareads's review

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4.0

I’m a big fan of Morgan Parker’s poetry so was really curious to read this YA novel she’d written based on her own experiences as a teenager. It’s a really smart, funny, tender portrayal of a 17 yr old black woman living in a very predominantly white suburban area and her experiences with depression and anxiety and how that intersects with her experiences of racism and discrimination. It’s so well written and I would massively recommend gifting this book to any teenagers you know whether they are dealing with similar issues or not. She so nails the description of the complex emotions the Morgan of the book is going through and how she grapples with coming to an understanding of her depression. She also brilliantly demonstrates how this process is utterly interwoven with Morgan coming to a greater understanding of her own position in the world as a black woman and the wealth of black history she is missing out on learning because of the inadequacy of the curriculum at her very conservative Christian school. It never feels preachy or didactic though, it’s just a super honest portrayal that obviously speaks from very personal experience. Morgan Parker is such a great writer