________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 21 . . . . February 10, 2017


Strings Attached. (Orca Limelights).

Diane Dakers.
Victoria, BC: Orca, February, 2017.
131 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0970-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1068-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1069-3 (epub).

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Tabitha Nordby.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



It's bad enough that as first cellist I have to sit front and center onstage. But it also means I am the boss of the section. It's now my job to make sure the other cellists know what they're doing at all times.

I have to know all the cello parts inside and out. I have to make sure the others come in on the right beat. I have to correct them if they are playing too quickly or slowly, too softly or loudly. I have to be the go-between between the cellists and the conductor. If he has any problems with anything in the cello section, I have to fix it.

I don't want this job. I'm not ready. Pick someone else! Someone older.

Brielle, 14, plays second chair cello in the intermediate City Youth Orchestra. She and her best friend, Tawni, who plays first chair, have been playing together since elementary school. When Tawni is injured, Brielle is given the first chair position. She is excited and terrified. She's imagined playing first but is concerned she doesn't have the talent or experience to make it work. As she settles in to her new role, Brielle begins to realize that she does have the skills, both onstage and off, to succeed as first chair. Just as she's becoming more confident and enjoying more recognition, Tawni returns and wants first chair back. Brielle has a difficult decision to make: resign first chair and step out of the limelight, or remain in first chair and risk her friendship with Tawni.

      Strings Attached is one of several books in the "Orca Limelights" series that focuses on teens in the performing arts. Diane Dakers has created an interesting story about orchestra life while also effectively portraying the difficulties of high school through believable characters, realistic dialogue and engaging descriptions of music, from classical to contemporary. Readers will relate to the issues of identity struggles and changing friendships.

      Reluctant readers interested in music and performance will especially appreciate the easy pace and music focussed storyline of Strings Attached.


Tabitha Nordby is a Readers' Advisory and Reference Instructor in the Library and Information Technology Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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