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The Year the Music Changed
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The Year the Music Changed

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
It is 1955. Isolated at school by her intelligence and disfigurement, troubled at home by the undercurrents in her parents’ relationship, 14-year-old Achsa McEachern seeks solace in the tunes and rhythms on her radio. After hearing a record by an unknown 20-year-old country singer named Elvis Presley, she fires off a fan letter, telling him she knows he’s going to be a ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Toby Press
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Debbie "DJ"
May 04, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Although I am not an Elvis fan, this book touched my heart. The novel is told solely through letters between a 14 year old girl named Achsa and an up-and-coming 20 year old man named Elvis Presley. It begins as an innocent letter from Achsa to Elvis commenting on a song she has heard of his before he is well known. Although they've never met, what ensues is a beautiful story as each writes there innermost feelings to one another. As Elvis becomes famous, Achsa has dreams of her own. This novel
Christine Rebbert
Aug 13, 2012 Christine Rebbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine you're a young girl in the South, late 1950's, and you hear a song on the radio. It so impresses you that you write a letter to the singer. A flurry of letters follow for the next couple of years, as you find your place in the world and the singer, Elvis Presley, becomes "the next big thing". Imagine finally meeting him backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show when you have traveled to New York to find the man you think may be your REAL father...

Yeah, all pretty histrionic, but fun nevertheles
Jun 12, 2012 Lorraine rated it it was amazing
I read this book over my trip and loved it!! It is fiction, but you would think it is a memoir.This is the type of book you can read from cover to cover in two days. It takes place in the south in the 1950's. It is about a young, shy 14 year old girl who writes a letter to Elvis Presley. Elvis is a rising star and Ascha is a fan of his. She has just heard his first song on a "hillbilly" radio station. The letters start out as fan letters, but quickly become heart-touching and often ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Cherri rated it it was amazing
This book was an Amazon "deal" for my Kindle, so I decided to give it a try. Told by correspondence, it is a story of a young girl with a difficult life who goes through an even more difficult time. She finds solace by writing a fan letter to Elvis! Elvis writes her back and becomes her support. I could not put this book down and I highly recommend it.
Sep 01, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really well done and unusual. Letters exchanged between a fictional teen age girl (who is wonderful) and Elvis Presley - well researched and, I felt, captured the real, young Elvis. Great story!
Jun 10, 2012 Lela rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Bev, Joyce
Maybe I was influenced by my age (nearly the same as hers) and my long time love of Elvis!
Richard Sharp
Aug 26, 2012 Richard Sharp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane Thomas took on a difficult task of writing an entire novel as correspondence between two persons: one famous (a 20-21 year old Elvis Presley) and one unknown (Achsa, a 14-15 year old precocious teenage girl drawn from the author’s imagination and experience). As a contemporary of the young protagonist (but not as precocious) and an Elvis fan “back in the day,” I read her novel appreciatively. Apart from the challenging narrative form, Thomas faced the constraint of building a believable ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Cornelia rated it really liked it
The Year The Music Changed is Diane Thomas’s nostalgic and heartwarming debut novel, published by Amazon Encore.

The book begins with a letter from a 14 year old girl, Achsa McEachern in March, 1955 to 20 year old Elvis Presley after she hears his record “That’s All Right Mama” on the radio. Each are lonesome for a friend to bare their biggest dreams and deepest fears to and through the letters they fulfill that need. They continue to write each other and, at Elvis’s request, each letter contain
Feb 20, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. 14-year-old Achsa McEachern, a future playwright, writes a fan letter to a 20-year-old Elvis Presley in 1955 (he has yet to hit it big...but Achsa has heard one of his songs on the radio and predicts that he'll be a big star), and a friendship is born.

It sounds improbable, but the author makes it work. Achsa has a tough row to hoe with everything that is happening in her life, but Elvis is a stalwart friend who encourages her and asks her to help him write and talk
Terry Bourbon
Mar 13, 2016 Terry Bourbon rated it really liked it
I am thoroughly enjoying this. It is supposed to be letters (real ones) written by Elvis Presley at the beginning of his career, and the recipient was an actress I am unfamiliar with, who was 14 when they began corresponding. I am 25 % done, according to Kindle, but it is surprisingly absorbing. Real life, simple, but beautiful in it's way. It could be fictional characters the way it goes on, but made bittersweet by the fact that almost everyone knows something about Elvis. 4 **** so far. Highly ...more
May 08, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
There are few words to express my fondness and appreciation for this novel. Written completely with letters back and forth, it tells the story of an advanced fourteen year old who writes a simple fan letter to a twenty year old Elvis Presley. The thing about this story is it's an entire work of fiction. It was written so creatively and it's even more inspiring seeing as it is the author's first novel. She obviously did her research and as a Elvis groupie, I applaud her for that and providing ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it
Based on fictional letters between a 14 year girl and Elvis Presley at the very start of his career. This is a sweet, sad and very poignant story. Achsa is a disfured high school girl who is a "gimp" at her school. She's very bright but has few friends. With an emotionally distant mother and zealot father she is lonely. Achsa writes to Elvis because she has heard one of his records on the radio. He answers her letter and they start a year of correspondence. Achsa corrects his grammar so he won't ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Draven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is a little misleading. While this is a book about Elvis' music debut, it truly is about the friendship between he and a teen girl who is arguably his first true fan, all taking place in a year long pen-pal relationship. It should've have been titled Dear Elvis..., but that's just my opinion.

I'm not one for historical fiction usually and this book can be overly saccharine at times but it touched me nonetheless, because I understood Achsa to my very core. I have known that fire, that pa
Caryn Rose
Dec 13, 2013 Caryn Rose rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a page turner until I got to the end and realized that this was fiction when I read the author's note about how much fun she had writing it. It's not even fiction, it's fan fiction, and that can certainly be fun but fanfic never tries to pass themselves off as actual fiction. I gave this book a lot of passes because I thought it was real. Had I known it was fiction I wouldn't have read past the first chapter. I was willing to give the book a very long leash because I thought this was ...more
Lori Thompson
May 23, 2012 Lori Thompson rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. I had a hard time in the beginning because the letters from Elvis just did not sound like him at all and I didn't appreciate how the author almost made him sound illiterate. But once I put it out of my mind that it was ELVIS, and thought of the male person in the book as just an up and coming star, I enjoyed it. The girl's story (Achsa) kept my interest and I would have enjoyed learning even more about her. But the ending was a bit disappointing as it felt ...more
Jul 19, 2014 Ronda rated it really liked it
I remember the day Elvis died. My mother was sad that day. Maybe I liked this book so much because both of my parents shared their love of Elvis' music with me, or maybe I liked it because I've always been one to search for the truth about people through words and so when Elvis died I read about him. But it's equally likely that I enjoyed it because it was unique, was written with skill and heart, and was anything but predictable. If you enjoy experiencing a time in history through the ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up off a "featured" shelf at the public library. The cover is what caught my eye, mostly because of the bright colors. I was never much of an Elvis fan, but my mom and mother-in-law are. Of course this book is fictional (but based on Elvis's life and career), but I thought it was so fun to read "letters" between him and a fan. I feel like I learned a little about Elvis from reading this. Haha!
Jan 24, 2016 Doris rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, I highly recommend you read it. The character development achieved by the author using the letters written by a young girl to Elvis and his letters back to her is amazing. I really came to care about the main character, Achsa, and her family. I bought this book because my library system doesn't have it and I am very glad I did!
May 24, 2009 Barb rated it it was amazing
Here's a rare chance for me to use the term I learned in grad school: this Epistolary Novel (a novel written entirely in letter form) was really excellent. It tells the story of a young girl who writes to Elvis Presley very early in his career, and takes them through the next year or so as he gets his "big breaks" and makes some mistakes too. Highly recommended. A+.
Donna Jo Atwood
A year in the life of Elvis Presley and a fan from Atlanta told in the form a letters written very early in Elvis' career. This covers a lot of ground about the up-coming changing in American movies, morals, race relations, and other aspects of life. Parts of this are amusing, parts are rather heartbreaking.
Task 30.5 B
Clarissa J. Liening
Wish it was not fiction!

I thought how cool it would be if this wasn't fiction. But the author tells a great story with very believable characters. If you're an Elvis fan, you'll enjoy the parts that the author made true to real events and you'll enjoy this book very much. It COULD have happened....I enjoyed the book very much.
Jacquelyn M. Tarter
Fascinating storytelling.

This book gets better the more that you lose yourself in it. At first, the unusual style of telling the story through letters was awkward but I adapted to the style because the story became so compelling. The ending left me wanting to know more details of Achsa's life in New York. The prologue alluded that she found success but I want to know more.
May 14, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming- what a fun book of a correspondence between Elvis and a fictional fan. This story captures the essence of the mid-fifties when Elvis was in transition between his innocent farm boy days to the super star he would become. Diane Thomas has done her research and the letters are based on the essence of the truth. This book tells a beautiful coming of age story.
May 25, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really touched by this book. I read it because the 13-year-old girl I tutor likes Elvis
Presley ( as do I), and like most young people
at her age feels unpretty and unpopular like this heroine. There was just something about these two deeply troubled souls finding each other and what they could give each other and receive from each other that was moving.
Glenda Johnston
Nov 09, 2015 Glenda Johnston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good read

When I first started reading I thought , "I probably will not finish this one". I expected the letters to stop and the book to begin. As I continued reading, I found myself eagerly wanting to see what the next letter would disclose. It is a unique way to tell an interesting story..
Susan Gardner
Aug 15, 2011 Susan Gardner rated it really liked it
With a gentle hand, Thomas casts light on life in the sixties. A young author struggles out of the grasp of a dysfunctional family and disfigurement. The imagined correspondence with the still-unknown Elvis Presley alludes to race, sexual politics, and coming of age in a time about to turn very turbulent. The writing is elegant and concise, subtle and evocative. A very rewarding read.
kathryn robinson
Jun 13, 2016 kathryn robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I liked that the story was about the girl instead of the famous person. I liked the intelligence and the nativity of the girl. I liked how the girl made decisions. I would like to read more from this author, I like how she thinks.
Pat Carlson
Starts very slow....

I was drab into the character, and the picture painted of Elvis was very believable. I almost stopped reading, because it is a slow start and hard to stay interested...sick with it.
Twyla Owen
Nov 10, 2015 Twyla Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice surprise.

Don't know what compelled me to buy this book, but I'm glad it did. So unlike what I usually read but I'm glad I did. Like opening a time capsule and getting lost in it for awhile. This was a really nice surprise.
Apr 01, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, ebooks
I'm a sucker for epistolary novels, and this one was good. I love the fact that the author chose to include cross-outs. That's a stylistic choice I always enjoy. The development of the relationship between Elvis and Achsa felt natural and not at all forced. A fun read.
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My second novel, In Wilderness, a literary thriller inspired in part by the haunting southern Appalachian folk ballads of violence and erotic obsession, was also my first. I wrote it in 1981 to distract myself from fears of dying, during an extended period of extreme ill health. I titled this early version The Clearing, gave my symptoms to its protagonist, and sent her into a Georgia mountain ...more
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