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Audition & Subtraction Hardcover – September 4, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Since third grade, Tatum and Lori have been inseparable, but now that middle school is drawing to a close, things are changing. Tatum first notices this when Michael moves to town-the new kid, the new clarinet player who threatens Tatum's chance at getting into the District Honor Band, and whose immediate interest in Lori threatens the girls' friendship. As Lori begins to take Michael's side over Tay's, going so far as to ask her to throw her Honor Band audition so that Michael can claim the coveted spot, Tay struggles to cope with the change in her best friend. Tay is also wrestling with her parents' recent separation and a friend who might want to be more from their relationship. The plot focuses on the upcoming band auditions, but the story is driven by the changing dynamics, all of which ring true to middle-school dramas. Tay's parents, while not deeply developed as characters, are supportive without being intrusive. The ultimate message-that we don't always get everything we want, even after sacrifices and hard work-is a valuable one, presented subtly. Girls looking for a realistic story will enjoy this one, and even those without musical aspirations will identify with Tatum's problems.-Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Dominy (OyMG) presents a believably conflicted protagonist with a narrative voice to match; musicians will appreciate the many details Dominy works into the story. Tatum confronts her predicaments with humor and growing maturity as she builds the confidence necessary to handle change. Ages 10-14.  - Publishers Weekly

Dominy's characters and situations--shown through Tatum's authentic voice--ring wholly true as newly developing boy/girl connections inevitably affect the girl/girl friendships that preceded them.  Tatum's maturing recognition of her own self-worth and realistic outcomes...make this a satisfying and believable read. -Kirkus

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802723748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802723741
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy Fellner Dominy is an advertising copywriter turned playwright turned novelist. Her books for young adults include A MATTER OF HEART (Delacorte, 2015) as well as AUDITION & SUBTRACTION, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book, and OyMG, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. Amy's next novel is a YA titled DIE FOR YOU, coming Fall 2016 from Delacorte. Visit Amy at

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kiki Hamilton on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is a charming story about growing up to which anyone can relate. Witty, engaging, heartfelt and realistic, this is a story about the struggle to transition from having best girlfriends to having best girlfriends and boyfriends. A&S is the perfect blend of humor, honesty and having the courage to believe in yourself.
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Format: Hardcover
AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is such a cute story. It's exactly what I've come to expect from Amy Fellner Dominy! Her writing voice is spot on for a middle grades book that will engage readers. Her books have middle school appropriate romance with a unique twist. This time it's the band students.

Some things seemed a little obvious to me as an experienced reader, but as a middle schooler, I probably wouldn't have realized them at that age. However, Amy's writing is that type of fun, school-set romance, with friendship/family elements. It's kinds of like the chick flick for the book set, which is a very good thing because so many of my students are asking for that, but with more depth of thought and lessons to learn and quality to it than some of the other books for this age in this genre. She also writes smart characters who are not the popular kids, but are the real kids that I see who are interested in a variety of things and want to be successful, but are also insecure at times.

AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is all about the reality of what happens when it's no longer just you and your best friend, but a boyfriend is introduced to the mix. It's the reality of how we move on in our lives and reevalute friendships and relationships as we grow up and sometimes grow apart. It also includes a very sweet start to a relationship with a really good guy who is fully supportive of the main character.

Beyond the friendship and romance elements, there's a strong message of figuring out what you want and going for it, no matter what others might say to try to hold you back. Doing what you can to reach your dreams by working hard is an important part of this novel. There are also strong parental figures who are supportive of their child, which is always nice to see.
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Format: Hardcover
Confession time! I thought AUDITION & SUBTRACTION was a young adult novel before I started reading it. I know, I know, the cartoon cover should've given it away, but I didn't. I was kind of disappointed because I wanted to read about high school band. (Not that I don't have fond memories of middle school band, too. I'm just hostile to surprise.)

Tatum is a second clarinet in the Dakota Middle School band, but she still has a chance of being one of three clarinets from the school that earns a spot in the District Honor Band. But there's a new student in town - and he plays the clarinet too. To make it worse, he starts dating Lori, Tatum's duet partner for the auditions. She doesn't have a chance if her secret weapon is distracted by the competition. And it isn't just about District Honor Band - Tatum may have a shot at making the Wind Ensemble as a freshman if she impresses the high school director at her audition.

(Okay, that last bit really bugged me throughout the book. There are about seven clarinets in the middle school band. First off, that indicates there should be enough students that the high school needs at least three bands, not just a Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. Now, a high school Wind Ensemble should have no more than six clarinets - two per part. There are three clarinets who are better than Tatum in the middle school. That means there would have to be less than three upperclassmen better than the freshmen for Tatum to make the band. That's highly unlikely. Band geekery over!)

AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is both about friendship and believing in your own abilities. Lori acts like a bad friend during the novel, but part of her attitude was encouraged by Tatum's lack of belief in herself.
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Format: Hardcover
Tatum doesn't like change, but everything around her seems to be changing anyway. Her parents are separated and talking about divorce, her best friend lost weight and is reveling in newfound attention from boys, and a new kid in band wants to move into her position as third clarinet. She wants things back the way they were before eighth grade started, but since that's not happening, Tatum has to figure out how to adjust or be left behind while everyone else moves on.

Audition and Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy (OyMG) delves into issues that pre-teens and teens are sure to face: What do you do when a friend starts to treat you differently because she's dating someone? Can you overcome insecurities to excel on your own? How do you respond when a friend asks you to fail so someone else can succeed? What happens when a friend of the opposite sex shows interest in becoming more than a friend?

These are all tough issues that are often difficult to navigate and they should provide lots of conversation possibilities for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 10 to 14. As with her previous book OyMG, Dominy does a great job of capturing the conflicting feelings that tweens and young teens experience. Her characters see that often we both like and dislike things about the people we know, and they struggle to be true to themselves when they encounter conflict. Audition and Subtraction is another Dominy book I can highly recommend.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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