THE SWEETEST SOUND by Sherri Winston 

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Cadence Mariah Jolly made a deal with God.  If He found a way to get her the exact digital piano she’d been longing for, she would share the amazing singing ability she’s been hiding by actually singing in public.  It was an easy promise to make because she never in a million years imagined that her dad could afford the piano.  But when he surprises her with it, Cadence knows she has to come through on her promise–and the church gospel choir auditions seem like the perfect opportunity, especially since her two best friends want to audition with her.  First she just has to overcome the crippling shyness that earned her the nickname “Mouse.”  And then maybe she can post the most amazing audition video ever–one that will make her mom, wherever she is, proud enough to come home.  

This sweet story about a girl finding the courage to be herself and open up to her community was a nice gentle read.  Young readers will relate to Cadence’s friendship and family pressures and her fears about the consequences of being vulnerable in front of others.  Of course, her bravery is ultimately rewarded as her loving community accepts her with open arms and she finds her identity independent of her estranged mother.  A nice, gentle read for middle grade realistic fiction lovers.

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