Music From Another World

Review: Music From Another World by Robin Talley

Music from Another World is a hard book, but a beautiful one.

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.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I received an eARC of Music From Another World from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Music From Another World needs content warnings for extreme homophobia, extreme transphobia, main and side character outed without consent, underage smoking, underage drinking, bullying, a main character running away from home, and gaslighting.

The story is in epistolary format, which means that it is told via letters and diary entries.This may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it works really well for this story, especially because the reader gets to be a degree removed from the violence and erasure that is so deeply embedded in the world they live in.

Sharon and Tammy have very different personalities and probably would never have become friends if they’d known each other in real life, but the way they grew together and fell in love was beautifully organic for the world they lived in. I loved the way they both kind of found themselves through a love of punk music and through activism.

Tammy’s arc as she questioned her sexuality was really well done. Talley explored it through lived experience, learning from other people and by reading up on the topic – something that felt very familiar to me.

I also loved the small bit of justice that Sharon got at the end. It didn’t change the world, but it changed her world in a big way. I don’t think Music from Another World is something every reader will love, but it will captivate the readers searching for it. You can pick up a copy from Bookshop, Amazon or The Book Depository.


Title: Music From Another World

Author: Robin Talley

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Length: 304 Pages

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: Recommended

Genre: Historical Romance (1970s)

Representation: white lesbian MC, white bisexual MC, white gay side character, Black and Asian queer women as minor characters, white queer men as minor characters


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