Tune It Out: 5 Songs from Lou’s Ultimate Playlist

In Tune it Out, Lou is wise beyond her years, having grown up alongside her single mother, working for every dollar they have while living out of their truck. She loves music and coffee and learned to drive when she was ten. Lou has an extraordinary voice and loves to sing – but never in public. Loud sounds cut deep, and Lou is uncomfortable in front of people, but they need the cash, so Lou’s mom pushes her to perform in hopes that she’ll become a star.

Everything changes one snowy night after Lou crashes the truck on the way to pick up her mother from a waitressing gig. After the accident, Lou is sent across the country to live with her aunt and uncle, where she’ll be attending a fancy private school. Lou has always known she was different – she’s extremely sensitive to being touched, or the way clothing feels against her skin, but she’s never known why. She always does her best to cope and hide how she feels to be accepted by those around her.

From the author of the acclaimed Roll with It comes a moving novel about a girl with a sensory processing disorder who has to find her own voice after her whole world turns upside down.

Lou Montgomery has the voice of an angel, or so her mother tells her and anyone else who will listen. But Lou can only hear the fear in her own voice. She’s never liked crowds or loud noises or even high fives; in fact, she’s terrified of them, which makes her pretty sure there’s something wrong with her.

When Lou crashes their pickup on a dark and snowy road, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over again at a fancy private school far away from anything she’s ever known. With help from an outgoing new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. A sensory processing disorder isn’t something to be ashamed of, and music might just be the thing that saves Lou—and maybe her mom, too.

Tune it Out
AUTHOR: Jamie Sumner
PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
DATE: September 1, 2020

With a new best friend, a family support system, and a school counselor’s help, Lou learns to accept herself and slowly learns to trust the people around her. She finally discovers how to manage her sensory processing disorder and live a life she never knew possible. We think this sweet and hopeful story is a total must-read, and we think you’ll agree!

Lou’s passion for music and singing gives her the strength and comfort she needs to make it through all of the obstacles and challenges she faces. We’re so excited to share that author Jamie Sumner put together something special for our readers – Lou’s Ultimate Playlist! Read through the list below to find out some of Lou’s favorite songs and get a glimpse into her life and the amazing story you’ll find between the covers of Tune It Out.

Lou Montgomery Shares her Tune It Out Playlist:

(Illustration by Celia Krampien)
TRACK 1: Heavenly Day by Patty Griffin:

I sang this song on a deck in the California sun. Mama had me performing at a coffee shop overlooking the blue waters of Lake Tahoe. I shook out the fringe on my suede jacket and closed my eyes to the crowd sipping their lattes and I sang my heart out.

Patty’s words about her perfect, heavenly day got me through – she can sing low and she can sing high, but more than that, Patty can make your heart fly like a kite on a string. I must have really felt it that day, because that’s when Howie found me, the man who wants to take me to Hollywood and make me famous. He doesn’t know I won’t shake his hand cause I don’t like to be touched and he definitely doesn’t know I plugged my ears when the crowd clapped because applause makes my skin itch. I wish I could keep the music and throw away the rest. But Mama says you gotta make sacrifices if you want to be a star.

(Illustration by Celia Krampien)
TRACK 2: Castle by Ed Sheeran:

Ed’s always a good one to calm your nerves. But it doesn’t work so great when I crash our truck on my way to pick up Mama from work at the diner. This song’s still playing when the cops show up and ask me why I’m driving a pickup in the middle of the night in the snow all by myself. They want to know where my mama is. Well, let’s just say Ed can’t sing me out of this one.

They take me in one car and Mama in another and you wouldn’t believe the amounts of sirens and flashing lights. I cover my head and block my ears the whole way. Ed’s song was all about going home to his “castle on the hill” and all I can think is, Mama is my home so why won’t they let me just be with her?

(Illustration by Celia Krampien)
TRACK 3: You Are My Sunshine by Ray Charles:

Now let’s get this straight – if you’re gonna listen to this song, it’s got to be the Ray Charles version. Ol’ Ray knows how to croon in just the right way to make you sleepy and soothed. It’s why this was Mama’s bedtime song for me. She’d sing it in the truck where we lived until I fell asleep under the stars, dreaming of sunshine chasing away the gray. But that was before that lady from Child Protection took me from her. Now I have to sing it to myself in my aunt and uncle’s big old house a thousand miles away.

(Illustration by Celia Krampien)
TRACK 4: We’re Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes:

Call him Well, not Maxwell, because even though he’s only twelve, he is going to be an actor and he’s always reinventing himself. He’s also my first and best friend. He plays this song for me on my first day of middle school at the fancy private school with stiff uniforms that make me twitch, because new clothes are another thing that my body doesn’t like along with loud sounds and people touching me. According to my new school counselor, it’s all part of the sensory processing disorder. Funny the things you learn when you’re in school full time for the first time in your life.

Well makes it better because this song is also about a first day of school – about how nice it is to have someone to walk with and sit with and how time just passes and you don’t notice it because you’re with your friend. That’s what happens with Well and me. We share Doritos and ice cream bars and listen all the way to the end and it makes me forget my worries and get lost in the hop-skipping beat of the music.

(Illustration by Celia Krampien)
TRACK 5: Children Will Listen from Into the Woods:

What would I do without Well roping me into crazy schemes like joining the middle school theater group? We’re putting on the musical Into the Woods and as assistant director, I get to tell everyone what to do. It’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time.

This is the very last song in the musical and it’s my favorite because it’s all about how kids hear everything adults say because we’re not dumb and we’ve got more than a few things figured out for ourselves. Maybe one day Mama will understand what music means to me and maybe she’ll let me love it without tossing me up on a stage. Maybe one day the music will be enough.

Love reading hopeful stories like Tune it Out and Wonder? We think you’ll love Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkensten!

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