It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.
Okay, first off, can we please talk about this cover? I love it so much.
I know I usually sing Robin Talley’s praises, because she’s absolutely amazing. But *gasp* I’d never read one of her books before. I know. Horrible librarian move. But I’ve at least fixed that! This book was exactly what we need right now.
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately (because let’s be real, what else am I gonna do during quarantine), and one of them is about the history of punk rock. Which fits in beautifully with this book, in case you needed a soundtrack!
The entire story is told through letters and diary entries, which is honestly one of my favorite styles. It’s more about telling and not showing, which is the opposite of how storytelling works, but it works here!
Tammy is one of my favorite characters I’ve read in a minute. She’s angry, she’s scared, and she’s not unnecessarily tortured! I know in a lot of literature, our queer characters go through it, usually for no real reason. That’s not at all the case in this book. Tammy’s story, her life…it all makes sense. And growing up in an area very similar to 70s Orange County, I can get that fear and anger.
Sharon is also a delight, don’t get me wrong! She doesn’t truly “fit” anywhere until she goes to her first ever punk show, and the energy, the rush…hoo, man, giving me flashbacks to my first punk shows.
I love how many books are coming out set in the 70s, and I think this one is my favorite. I give Music From Another World 5 out of 5 copies of Horses. Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for review!