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Drummer Girl

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The Fourth Down needs a drummer, and Sidney's easily the best in the school. But the all-male band has conditions for her to be allowed in--such as dressing like a girl. Accustomed to invisibility, Sid soon discovers the consequences to her makeover. It's not only that playing kit in a skirt is impractical. But as someone once taunted about her sexuality for being a drum-p ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Coteau Books (first published August 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  140 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012, ebook
So, it's 3:02 AM right now and I'm up writing a book review. This means two things.
1. I must have enjoyed this book quite a bit if I'm up at 3 AM finishing it.
2. I make no apologies that this review may be a tad bit rambling and incoherent. I mean, it *is* 3 AM after all.

So, Sid is a self-professed tom boy, loner, and general all-around outcast. Generally preferring a masculine attire of baggy jeans and loose-fitting concert tees, Sid gives very little thought to her appearance or gender iden
Catherine Egan
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
While I love YA fiction, it occurred to me when I read the first sentence of this book (which, in case you are wondering, is this: “Sid stood rooted to the lawn and considered that this might be the worst idea in the history of Edwards High School.”) that I almost never read YA that isn’t fantasy. In fact, I think this might be the first non-fantasy YA I’ve read since I stopped being, myself, a YA, and became, according to every law in any country, an A. I’m not sure why I haven’t read any reali ...more
Rhiannon Ryder
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Last summer I had the pleasure of reading Karen's book Summer of Fire, which I loved, so I was overjoyed when her latest book popped through the mail slot a week or so ago from the ever charming folk of Coteau Books (have I ever mentioned how they're from my home province of Saskatchewan?).

Sid lives life to the beat of her own drum, quite literally as she's a great drummer, until faced with the choice of being a drummer in the band she's always wanted to be a part in or be her own, very unique,
Gabriele Goldstone
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed two other books by Karen Bass's other books Run like Jaeger and Summer of Fire and this one didn't disappoint either. She touched on a lot of teen issues - sexual identity, dressing, cyber-bullying, father/daughter relationships. The beginning was a bit disjointed, but after that it was very much a page-turner.
Kelly Watt
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A girl power romance that never skips a beat. I just finished this book and loved it. I loved learning about jazz and drumming and the way the author used musical expressions as chapter headings. Sidney the main character, was awkward and sweet and tough and endearing. The story combines girl empowerment, #MeToo issues, with a sweet budding romance. There's also lots of suspense. A moving page turner.
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought she was going to be gay and now I am disappointed.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sid is a teenage drummer lacking all self-awareness. The book never gives a good reason for why she wants to join a band from her high school. She already has connections in the music community, so why is she willing to do anything to get into a band with guys she hates? This book tries to do too many things, and does none of them successfully. Is it a book about sexual harassment and assault? Is it a book about dangerous decisions teenagers make? Is it a book about changing your identity? No. I ...more
The Fourth Down needs a drummer, and Sidney's easily the best in school, but the all-guy band has some conditions for her to be allowed in... such as dressing like a girl. Accustomed to invisibility, Sid soon discovers the consequences of her makeover. It's not just that playing her drum kit in a skirt is impractical, but as someone who was once taunted about her sexuality for being a girl drummer who likes shop class, she's now forced to deal with guys who see her as fair game and Sid soon real ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am not sure I quite found the real message here, but the story was engaging enough that I kept with it, despite a rocky beginning. I didn't quite connect with Sid, but I thought she was a pretty authentic teen and I was okay not connecting with her because of that.

For a shorter book, a lot goes on, and I'm not sure it was all completely developed (returning to not sure I got the "message" because surely there's one here to take away). Sid wants to join a band but they don't want her because s
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chsbc-nominee
I REALLY enjoyed reading this--Karen Bass is easy to read, an experienced storyteller, and her characters ring true. And the dilemma of the novel: oooh, did it get my adrenalin going! What a situation the main character is forced into--she's damned if she does & damned if she doesn't. A really good depiction of how the infrastructure of our society is warped & skewed against females, and the way in which feminism gets (to use a term from the hippies lexicon) co-opted. Yeah, what ever happened to ...more
Keely Dunn
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed a lot about this novel. Sid is the kind of teenager I can really relate to because (other than getting to the swan phase, something I aspired to but never reached ;)) I was a lot like her in high school. Her struggles with image and identity were realistic and poignant. There were touches all throughout the narrative that drew me in - one scene where Sid is sitting in the school cafeteria all alone and how Bass describes the moment was just so right.

As a girl who played some dr
Crystal L.
I picked up this book from the library for two reasons: it's about a female drummer, and it seems like a short read. I thought I would be able to like it because I might've been able to relate to it.
I wasn't bored by the book. I wanted to know what happened next, and I liked the details in it because it made me want to be a musician like Sid. However, I did not like the ending. Throughout the book, Sid was losing against society. When given a chance to win, she didn't take it and ended up losing
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, young-adult
I liked this one a lot. It centres around Sid, a high school girl who lives for her drumming and doesn't care much about her appearance until it becomes an issue for making the band. Deciding to change her look results in some unexpected consequences as she strives to discover just what is right for her.

I will admit that a few years back I wouldn't have believed that some of the events in the book would happen the way they did. But as the parent of a non-traditional girl, I've had my eyes opened
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
i stumbled across this book when i was doing research for a paper on gender & literacy. the review was intriguing enough that i ordered a used copy after i couldn't find it in westchester or even nypl. when it arrived, i discovered it was written by a canadian librarian released by a small canadian press thus it being hard to track down. i wish i could say after all this trouble, it was worth it but it was just kind of eh. not bad, but not something i want to shout about from the rooftops. i thi ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Sid loves to play drums. Until she finds out that her peers thought she was a lesbian, she never considered her image or sexuality. When she auditions for a band, they tell her that they would take her in the band if she was a "dyke" or better looking. She asks her cousin to help make her over, and the change in her appearance stuns everyone around her. She wonders if this new image is truly her. This book excellently conveys themes of identity and bullying.
Sean Kottke
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, ya
Overall, a pretty good YA gender identity story. Nothing terribly new and groundbreaking, but it wins points for psychological truth and would serve as a really good text for exploring adolescent constructions of gender identity, problematic peer and socially imposed restrictions on expressions of gender, and adolescent egocentrism. It should come as no surprise, then, that the author is a psychologist.
Kristine Hansen
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, bullying
I like Sid. We've got girl drummer in identity crisis, who wants something so bad that she loses herself in the process of getting it. The story just got more complicated and interesting as it went. My complaint is that the secondary characters never feel quite real, especially the ones who really need. For that reasons I'd call this more 3.5 stars than 4, but I'm feeling generous enough to round up today.
Kira Mellark
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is honestly one of my favourite books. I don't even know totally why. Maybe because I can relate to it. Like it's not impossible for these things to happen. Usually I'm attracted Sci-Fi and Fantasy but I really love this book. 5/5 for me! :)

My favourite scene:
(view spoiler)
This book was adorable. I loved how it showed that you have to find your own normal and your own style instead of being like everyone else. I kept waiting for her to mix the girly and rocker. This book is misleading in the beginning. I thought it would be lighter. I was surprised in a good way that it dealt with so many hard to deal with issues for high school kids. Drummer Girl had great spirit and was a fun read.
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
What the? I was pretty baffled that the main character would punch someone for calling her a name but did nothing when multiple people kissed her against her will. That seemed to happen every few pages. Everyone made horrible decisions, and pretty much everyone was a horrible person. So, that gives me no incentive to like anything about the book. It left me confused and annoyed.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was going to stick with 3 stars, but I think Bass dropped the ball here. The potential for strong feminist content was never reached. Also, there was just too much going on. The band plot line dragged on, long after any reader would find Sid's interest convincing. And, I had big issues with the resolution.
Sylvia McNicoll
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
An intriguing book that captures the passion of drumming and the precarious course girls travel when they transition from tom boy to peer pleasing. A good starting point for discussions on what is acceptable behaviour from male teens as to how they treat girls. This story covers a lot of ground.

Nicole Luiken
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I bought this book at the launch at Audrey's last night--and finished reading it at 11:20pm. I really felt for Sid the tomboy character who just wants to drum. I don't read much mainstream/non-genre, but this one was excellent. Make sure to have kleenex on hand though...
May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Bluh. I'm getting to old for this stuff. The beginning was okay enough, but the ending was just really disappointing and reads kind of like a pamphlet against sexual harassment. Ugh. And then Brad, was she serious? Well let's just say not my kind of book.
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This was just ok for me. I love books about music but I was not drawn to the main character in this book. :o(
Sep 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
"I couldn't even finish the book."
Jessalyn King
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, fiction
The story itself, and even the characters were good, but I felt preached at, which was unappreciated.
Jesica Portillo
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
this book was really good it showed alot of real life situations and judgement towards unique people
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Over all the novel is a pat on a back. The writing is decent along with the flow of story. Though, i think there are just a lot of characters in it. Hmmm i dunno it was okey to me..
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The storyline is great.
I really enjoyed this book.
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Karen's high school teacher told her she should be a writer, but it took quite a few years for that thought to take root. She began writing shortly after she was hired to manage the local library. Run Like Jager is her first novel. Since then she has published Summer of Fire and Drummer Girl, all with Coteau Books. Her newest novel, Graffiti Knight, was released in August 2013 (Pajama Press).

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