Meet Morgan Parker—or the semiautobiographical version of her. She’s an amazingly smart student, a punk-rock aficionado and a black kid who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. The white kids she grew up with have never known what to think of her. The kids at her church are put off by her atheism. She has a love-hate relationship with therapy. But Morgan is tired of trying to fit in and be anyone other than who she’s always been. When she begins to put herself and her needs ahead of everyone she’s always been told she must appease, she discovers a life-changing bravery that is uniquely her own.
Despite being set in sunny, suburban California, Who Put This Song On? prefers to shy away from the light. The novel exposes Morgan’s depression and anxiety, her resultant inability to get along with her parents and her experiences of being told by people who barely know her that she’s “not really black”—all while dealing with the awkwardness of finding herself and where she fits in amid the emotional battlefield of the American high school.
In this novel based on her own teenage life and diaries, Parker offers a hilariously honest and heart-opening experience. It’s a wholly necessary debut by an award-winning poet.