The Song Reader

The Song Reader

Sure, we were a small family, but it wasn't lonely. We had the endless stream of my sister's customers and, of course, the music. Every day, all day, our stereo would play and Mary Beth would talk about the lyrics, what they really meant.
Leeann lives with her beautiful older sister -- the world's first and only "song reader." Everyone in their small town thinks Mary Beth is special, and Leeann does, too. Mary Beth helps people figure out how they really feel by using the songs they can't get out of their minds. And her advice is always right. But when Mary Beth makes a terrible mistake and half the town -- including the family of the one boy Leeann cares about -- turns against Mary Beth, Leeann will have to rethink everything she knows about her own family. She will have to be the stronger sister for a change. But she will also have a chance to discover that even an "ordinary" girl like herself can sometimes figure out what the music really means...
  • Downtown Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743497008 | 
  • May 2005
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Reading Group Guide

The Song Reader
Questions for Discussion

1. Mary Beth was keenly aware of people's thoughts and feelings, yet she wasn't always able to transfer this knowledge to deal with her own situations with her sister, father, Ben, and even herself. Leeann, a teen with a reputation for being lighthearted and carefree, seems better able to address feelings and memories on a personal level. Mary Beth's secrets haunt her, her inability to deal with her own memories tortures her. How does this shape their lives? Leeann offered Mary Beth several opportunities to reveal the truth about the past. How would things have been different had Mary Beth been honest? Could she have avoided the breakdown?
2. Tommy, like Leeann and Mary Beth's mother, is an orphan. Why is Mary Beth inclined to take in an abandoned child? What void does Tommy fill in Mary Beth's life? Why does Leeann think Tommy will be able to heal and ground Mary Beth at the end of the book, when he was unable to do so when she first got sick?
3. Leeann's quest to find her father is an important part of the book. Knowing what she does about how ill her father is, why does she call on him for help? Does Leeann ever really find her father? If so, at what point in the story does she find him? Describe what you feel for Leeann's father.
4. Mary Beth is strong and has endured much. Why does the incident with Holly completely break her down? What really caused Mary Beth to shut down? Why do music, Tomm see more

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About the Author

Lisa Tucker
Photo Credit:

Lisa Tucker

Lisa Tucker is the bestselling author of The Promised World, The Cure for Modern Life, Once Upon a Day, Shout Down the Moon and The Song Reader. Her short work has appeared in Seventeen, Pages and The Oxford American. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.