Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Sound of Letting Go

Rate this book
For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

390 pages, Hardcover

First published February 6, 2014

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Stasia Ward Kehoe

13 books119 followers
Review Info: I give 5 stars to every book I finish, adding craft-focused commentary as time permits. Writing a novel is too difficult and terrifying an act to be rewarded with anything less than five sparkles. Author Info: Stasia Kehoe grew up dancing and performing on stages from New Hampshire to Washington, DC. She now writes, reads, and raises boys in the Pacific NW.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
437 (28%)
4 stars
477 (30%)
3 stars
453 (29%)
2 stars
139 (8%)
1 star
51 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 232 reviews
Profile Image for Ratri Anugrah.
126 reviews8 followers
June 13, 2013
Tell me how is the sound of letting go? Tell Taylor Swift. She might write about it for her next album.
Profile Image for Ginger at GReadsBooks.
371 reviews56 followers
September 14, 2014
There's a quiet beauty that slowly emerges through the storytelling of Stasia Ward Kehoe. It's the kind that will grab your heart, without you even knowing it, tugging it deep and then deeper inside. For someone who is not experienced with novels in verse, I was a bit hesitant if I'd really connect with this writing style. Oh what a pleasant and brilliant surprise this reading experience quickly became for me. Not once did I feel a disconnect, or felt that the story was skimming just across the surface. The flow of this novel was spot-on and held me captive til the very end.

Daisy has a true talent as a musician, and it's been her escape for as long as she can remember. All the hours she's put in to rehearsing has paid off and she's on the cuspid of a brilliant future ahead. But what was once her passion is starting to become muddled in the affairs of her life at home. Daisy's severely autistic younger brother is growing into a teenager, and what used to be a behavior her mother and father could handle on their own, is quickly spiraling into a dangerous situation for the whole family.

My heart went out to Daisy and her parents. I could not imagine the difficulty in loving a family member who needs so much care and attention. The amount of stress put on all their lives was carefully portrayed, so much that I could empathize with their situation. They want what's best for Steven, but is keeping him at home under their care necessarily best? As Steven's episodes quickly spiral deeper and deeper, it puts an enormous strain on the family dynamics. Daisy slips into the shadows and begins spiraling out on her own accord.

She grows closer to a boy who is someone the old, disciplined Daisy would never seek solace in. However, maybe this is what Daisy needs. After all, Dave knows just the right things to say, and its his actions that pull her mind away from the chaos at home and into a world of what normal teenagers should be worrying about. In the back of Daisy's mind she knows how far off her planned path she's detouring, but what difference does it make if no one is noticing.

The Sound of Letting Go is a heartbreaking interpretation of what it means to accept the changes in our lives, and where those changes may bring us. I fully connected with the brilliant writing style of Stasia Ward Kehoe, so much that I couldn't tear myself away from the story until I knew Daisy would find her way back again. For those who wish to experience a novel written in verse, I highly recommend beginning with this one. It's a gorgeous story, full of emotion and the hard decisions we must face in life. Under all that beauty is a soft melody that effortlessly delivers a story that contemporary YA fans will devour and adore.

*Enjoy this review? See this & others like it on my blog --> GReads!
Profile Image for Joy (joyous reads).
1,468 reviews291 followers
March 6, 2014
Verse novels are my favourite things to read, but they're difficult to review. I never know what to say, because I feel like I can never give the sparsely written, yet more often powerful novels, their due justice.

The Sound of Letting Go, though beautiful in its own right, had me conflicted. On the one hand, I think Ward was very successful in conveying what it's like for a family to make a difficult choice of relieving themselves of caring for a violent autistic child. And on the other, she didn't really convince me that Daisy's anger towards her parents is in the right place. It's in the way she rarely interacted with her brother. Never once did I feel that she was really that close to her brother in the first place, and therefore, I didn't think her anger and her cause for the mild rebellion could be deemed justified.

This is the story of a prodigy whose family life is on the verge of an upheaval. Having lived most their life in the shadow of fear, they knew it would only take one episode for their carefully constructed life to fall apart. They have talked about it, expected it even. But when it finally happened, they were consumed by guilt that all they could only feel was relief.

I have an 18-year-old niece with autism. She's beautiful and quiet who likes the chatter of the radio, but never violent. She mostly sits contemplatively with a serene smile on her face. Before, when we didn't know what would appease her, she'd burst out and cry and all we could do was look on helplessly. We didn't know what she want…until you turn up the radio. Then she goes quiet.

Daisy's brother is different. He doesn't like noise. He gets violent. He hurts himself. The everyday struggle within their home is exhausting to watch. And the heartbreaking (understandably) way each of them tries to escape persisted throughout the novel.

The mild rebellion that Daisy tried to do didn't really do much. Because her parents were so focused on her brother, they didn't seem to care. I think the better half of the synopsis is wildly exaggerated. If you think there will be a full on rebellion with the bad boy, you'll be sorely disappointed. In fact, Dave is a sweetie. Also, if you're not a fan of love triangles, don't let that summary fool you. There is no love triangle. I don't know why the author would scare me like that.

Over all, I was mildly satisfied with this novel. And if it's romance you're after, you'll get that in spades here.
Profile Image for Emily Grewe.
9 reviews
August 7, 2014
This book wasn't great. Really, it wasn't good. While one is brought to think that the MC's struggles with her brother Steven are the focus, the whole thing honestly feels like an afterthought. Daisy has little to no personality and seems to completely change herself whenever a boy looks at her. This is the same for her friend Justine. What does she do? She blames the boys, saying they forced her to change, even all the boys in this novel seem to do is fawn over Daisy for what was really no reason. She was an insufferable brat to both Dave and Cal, yet they couldn't seem to get enough of her.

Daisy was a Mary Sue. No personality, very little flaws that actually affected her negatively, and every boy within a five mile radius are somehow smitten with her. All of this despite the fact that she was a 17 year old that acted 12. Give me a break. Her voice was incredibly inconsistent. She says music is her escape, yet what's the first thing she does when things get tough? She stops going to band, which she said previously was the best part of her day. What? What kind of backwards logic is this?

In conclusion, this book was cliche, tried to be controversial and failed, and completely missed the boat on creating a likable, realistic teenage girl. I have to say that I'm not a fan of verse writing, either. I find it overly simplistic most of the time, and 'The Sound of Letting Go' was no exception.
Profile Image for Jessica.
186 reviews10 followers
August 17, 2016
I'm...conflicted about this book.

It was written in verses, which I feels leaves a lot out of a story. I might have felt differently for this main character had I had more to go on, but in my read, she seemed like a brat. Yelling at her best friend's boyfriend for something he did to her in second grade (they're juniors in high school at this point); multiple mentions of how fat the hired caregiver is of her brother's (who literally only shows up for one scene); the way she seemingly despises being trapped in a house with her brother, yet acts traumatized at his leaving; shitty thoughts about her best friend who starts dating someone and how they're 'drifting apart' when the MC is just shutting everyone out. If I had to read about HBO scenes or 'kohl-lined eyes' again I was going to scream.

It put me in a bad mood, yet I carried on until the end, and I'm still in a bad mood.

I can't begin to understand a situation like the one Daisy found herself in, or what was their life with her brother, so I take my own takeaways from this book with a grain of salt that maybe I just don't have enough experience with the topic at hand. She was obviously grieving that her brother was going away, yet relieved, and then felt guilty at relief. No one should use the excuse of 'things are bad at home' to make up for lashing out at others imo.
Profile Image for Hazel (Stay Bookish).
635 reviews1,615 followers
June 30, 2015
The writing and the story was lovely- heartbreaking and hopeful towards the end. The depiction of an autism family was well-done, insightful for those who are in the dark about the dynamics of such a family, but I didn't really get the MC's actions. I empathized with her feelings of confusion whether to feel guilty or relieved that her growing violent special child younger brother was being sent away but didn't understand why she felt inclined to 'rebel' against her parents. I liked the incorporation of music though- Daisy being in a jazz concert band kind of reminded me of Lennie from The Sky Is Everywhere. Also, liked how Daisy and Dave's relationship turns out although I didn't think the gothh makeover in the middle was necessary. I think The Sound of Letting Go is a satisfactory verse novel, if only a little short of a certain intensity that could really move the reader. Still, it's a good read.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
April 7, 2016
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

I loved the family aspect of this book. The relationships between her parents were so incredibly written. Especially between Daisy and her mom. It's always hard to be a teenage girl dealing with everything else and having your family be behind you. How Daisy balances her family, friends, love and school life were all molded together and I found that the author wrote that very well. Daisy's life had me hooked from the very beginning and I couldn't imagine being able to live that life every day. It's heartbreaking.

My first time reading a verse book and I happened to enjoy it immensely. The poetic writing style and fast and easy pace set me on a page turner and before I knew it, the book was over. Though the entire story-line was predictable, I still rather enjoyed it and thought the writing was beautifully written.

Wonderful story with a memorable topic that is sure to get readers reading more verse books! I know I'm hooked on these after reading The Sound of Never Letting Go.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
November 23, 2013
It’s immensely satisfying when an author can dazzle you just as much with her sophomore novel as she did with her debut novel. There is no sophomore slump to be found in Stasia Ward Kehoe’s The Sound Of Letting Go, a read that feels as though it’s from the heart. Kehoe captures human emotions so perfectly in her latest book, that her growth as a writing actually is palpable. Friends, I am about to go on and on about The Sound Of Letting Go and how much I loved it. I loved it so much so, that I began talking about it to other people at work and a few have actually asked me to borrow it. Y’all, that is totally not normal for me and I think is a testament to my enthusiasm for this book.
Read the rest of my review here
Note: Review will post and link will go live on February 10, 2014
Profile Image for Laura.
130 reviews33 followers
March 14, 2014
This is definitely a controversial and difficult topic. I don't think a verse novel is the appropriate means for going about it. I think I would have taken more from it if it was a developed novel. There were too many characters we were meant to connect with but couldn't because they didn't have the space to develop.

What was written though was very beautiful and insightful.
Profile Image for Emily.
8 reviews
July 24, 2014
This is hands down one of the best books I have read in a great while.
Profile Image for Dorka.
357 reviews14 followers
January 4, 2021
4,5 csillag

Az Audition egy igen rossz műve volt szerintem Kehoe-nak, ezzel szemben a The Sound of Letting It Go meglepően nagyon tetszett. A verses regényt mint műfajt továbbra sem igazán szeretem, nagyon kevés olyan pont volt, ahol azt éreztem, hogy pluszt ad. Egyébként pedig leginkább úgy olvastam, mintha csak egy szimpla regény lenne.

Daisy (ami egyébként a Margaret becézése, ha esetleg ez valakinek információ lenne, mint ahogy nekem az volt) egy 17 (azt hiszem) éves lány, aki tehetséges jazztrombitás, egyébként pedig olyan az élete, amilyen egy tininek szokott, barátok, suli. Kivéve egy dolgot: van egy autista öccse. Nem, nem az aranyos, nehezen kommunikáló, de kis zseni típusú autista, hanem a kommunikálni egyáltalán nem tudó, magát ellátni teljesen képtelen, gyógyszeres kezelés alatt álló súlyos autisztikus spektrumzavarral diagnosztizált. Azt a függőségi helyzetet mutatja be a könyv (mert ez az), amit egy autista családtag kialakít a családban, történetesen egy kamaszlány szemüvegén keresztül, de a szülők közötti kapcsolatra is egészen jól rálátunk. Már ezt is nagyon díjaztam. Viszont ami végképp nagyon tetszett, az a kettősség, ami minden függőségi helyzetben benne van, főleg ahol morális kérdések is felvetődnek: az akarom-nemakarom rész. Ezt az érzéskavalkádot remekül adja át a kötet.

Illetve a zenei utalásokat is nagyon szerettem. Valószínűleg azért működött az Autidionnél sokkal inkább számomra ez a kötet, mert a táncos életérzés sosem volt az enyém, a zenélés és zenekarozás viszont igen (még ha jazz nem is, de hallgatni azt is szeretem.)

Magam is meglepődtem, hogy mennyire élveztem ezt a kötetet. Elfért volna 2020-ban több ilyen kellemes meglepetés.

Profile Image for Leluga Little.
11 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2023
A beautifully written book about family, acceptance, and passion.

I randomly picked up this book because it stood out to me on the library shelves, and the second I read the first page "my band room refuge from the chaotic dissonance of the rest of Evergreen High", I knew I needed to read the rest. This is precisely how my band room feels to me.

The plot is so well developed. The many normal high school events get well mixed with the struggle of the main character's family life. It was so moving and soulful and just amazing.
Profile Image for Chay.
216 reviews
September 26, 2014
What do you say after you've read a book that has so much truth and meaning in it that it feels like a tide just washed you over? When i got this book I didn't have much hope in it in fact, all i was was intrigued by the plot. I mean being good all the time comes easy to others because you are so used to it but, what if one day you let go and be who you truly want to be with no one pushing, pressuring, or ordering you to do or be some thing. What if you can just let go and not worry about what you usually have to worry about.

All i can say about this book is that i was inspired. I was inspired to just let go some day, i was inspired to get lost in the music and re think about life. Heck, i was even inspired to play an instrument (Which will not likely happen, too late for that). This is one of those types of books that relate to some peoples lives. It related to mine in a way, i think that's one of the reasons it's also inspirational to me.

Daisy is a girl who's always good, a good student, good daughter, good sister, good friend, good musician but, after her parents give her a splitting news about her autism brother. She decides to stop being good and to start being free and bad. To let everything go by and try something new. I don't think she really was "bad" but i think she was as bad as she could get without going off the edge. Starting with her appearance and her band class.
Daisy's family and the emotions and thoughts she felt toward them felt like it was so real. The conversations they had and discussions made me feel like i was eavesdropping on someone. But, i just couldn't look or read away because of how capturing it was.

Some people didn't like the book because of it's writing style but, i think it fits the book perfectly and makes it so much easier to comprehend and read. It felt almost like it was really happening each day. You just have to give it a try because i admit i hesitated only for a second when i saw the writing style. But, once you read the first chapter you get sucked in it mindless of the writing style. Time passes by and you get used to it.
The love between Daisy and Dave was very interesting because it didn't really interfere with the book rather it went flawlessly with the book. I've got to say the title fits the book perfectly and how the author ended it was amazing. She left me wanting to read a book similar like this one with real life events and in the same writing style. That's how spectacular it truly was. ;)
Profile Image for Tori Roudebush.
10 reviews1 follower
April 2, 2015
I just finished this book about 45 minutes ago and it is by far one of the best books I have ever read. Daisy is living with her autistic brother and parents; while she is trying to pursue her dreams of being a "normal" teenager, instead she is acting as a third parent to her brother. Daisy is a musically gifted teen and is trying to find the right music summer academy for her.
Daisy's character is very open minded in the music world but when it comes to the real world she's the complete opposite. Her life at home is structured. Once Daisy and Dave start hanging out she turns into the complete opposite person. It seems to me that Daisy tries to be a different person when hanging out with Dave or Justine. I don't know if anyone else has realized this, but that's how I understand the content.
This book is written in verse and it is my favorite type of writing style. I feel when reading a verse novel it is a much faster read. Kehoe really knows how to incorporate real meaning through text. This book is obviously fiction but it could easily be a real life situation.
It took awhile for me to find a connection to this book; I couldn't really relate it to any type of source or myself. After a while of thinking, I can relate this book to anybody's everyday life; of course we all aren't autistic but we all find that relief is something going on in our lives everyday. We all want that "normal" life; but we can't always have that escape or find the right distance from what we are running from. We all have that one special thing that helps us get out. That sounds weird but it's true because whether it's reading or music or something else we all get into "the zone." There is a bigger connection to this book, but I just can't figure it out.
One thing that really surprised me about the plot is that when going into the rising action is that Daisy quit music for a few days. I never thought that the author would put this in because of how musically gifted she is, and how her escape is music. By the end of the book I was completely blown away because I honestly didn't expect any of what happened.
Profile Image for Joy.
56 reviews13 followers
June 3, 2018
As someone who also has a disabled family member, I often related to Daisy’s inner guilt over feeling relief by being away from the source of challenge or trouble. But as much as I wanted to, I really could not empathize with Daisy Meehan otherwise in the slightest.

Other reviewers have noticed her many inconsistencies: the fact that she loves music as an escape to get away from everything that troubles her but stops attending jazz band because of her troubles, the way she treats Dave and the way she treats Cal, the perception of which she views her relationship with her best friend, and the unrealistic animosity she harbors towards her best friend’s new boyfriend. While I also agree there is another inconsistency with Daisy’s feelings towards wanting to be far away from Steven but then feeling guilty and resentful towards her parents for sending him away - this is more realistic. I understood her the most here, and this alone kept me reading the book.

There was no transformation for Daisy throughout the piece and towards the end everything felt abrupt and sudden and like a perfect puzzle piece. I agree that her character was never quite fleshed out and neither were many of the characters we hoped to be able to connect with. The only person I liked in the story was Cal, and even he was not fully developed in the piece.

This was an ambitious story that undoubtedly needs to be told, but needs to be handled with a little more caution.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for John Clark.
2,264 reviews25 followers
April 29, 2014
What do you do when perfect no longer works? That's the dilemma Daisy faces. From the outside, her life looks good, but at home, it's gradually becoming a war zone. Her younger brother, Stephen is severely autistic and now that he's hit puberty, the ritualistic behavior is becoming violent. The tension has driven a wedge between her parents and has forced Daisy to alter her life so she can be there when Mom needs a break. Nobody seems to realize that She needs a life too.
When her parents make the decision to have Stephen move to a structured group home, it might be too little, too late as far as Daisy is concerned. She's had it with being Miss Perfect, skipping her music commitments and letting her academics slide, while changing her appearance and going after bad boy Dave. Her parents aren't able to realize how bad things are for her and how much they need to do if she's going to pull back from the edge of darkness. It's Irish exchange student, Cal who realizes what's happening to her and won't let go until he's able to break through and help her return to being a kid again.
Written in verse, this is a book that will make readers feel as well as think. Teens who have siblings with mental health issues or parents who are distant will identify closely with Daisy. It's an excellent choice for both school and public libraries.
Profile Image for Jennifer Shanahan.
894 reviews12 followers
February 17, 2014
This was a really good book--however I did not like the form it was written in. Almost like verse as opposed to paragraphs. That was the only part I didnt like that much. As the mother of one, I felt that the story was pretty close to real life as far as a family dealing with a severely autistic non-verbal teenage boy (my son is now 18 and still lives at home). I read it in one day because it was so very interesting and pertained to not only my life but that of my own teenaged children. I highly recommend this book!! I am impressed that the author did a great job tackling a very emotional and difficult, yet also very timely subject matter. 1 in every 10 kids has autism and I think it is now 1/33 boys. Not something that is going away and the more we read and know about it, the more people will understand how difficult it is to live with and care for a severely autistic child.
Profile Image for Kathy.
593 reviews38 followers
May 19, 2014
"Explaining autism is like to put the way you
hold your lips, your cheeks,
the way you breathe to buzz into the trumpet, into words.
The only true understanding is inside,
once you've made the sound yourself."

I liked it. Even though the characters were not my favorite, I really liked the writing. This perspective of a teenage girl and her family with a special needs brother and son.

It was eye-opening and heartbreaking, but beautiful and real! Watching Daisy come to terms with this major decision about her family, trying to find a way to move on was really kind of scary. And as her friends rallied around her and how she used music to cope with her loss was touching and wonderful.

Also I love books in verse! It never ceases to amaze me how an author can say so much with so little words! And this author does not disappoint!
Profile Image for Trisha.
4,651 reviews161 followers
April 29, 2014
"Is there a way to tear down the fence, mend the divide
daughter and parents
autistic and "normal",
silence and music,
home and life?"

This was very moving and very interesting to read. I really do enjoy books in verse.
But this one didn't captivate me like I thought it would. I did think her struggle was very interesting and very real. Her want to please everyone and keep status quo. also, her stumbling and shock to try to keep the family life a secret, even from her best friend. The life sounded very hard - especially for a young girls who (as she said) is forced to parent. But it's the love that's the struggle, and the pain and disappointment that comes with thinking you're making a selfish decision...even if it's the best decision for you.

Profile Image for swiftpuppy13.
79 reviews22 followers
December 29, 2015
The Sound of Letting Go
By:Stasia Ward Kehoe

Daisy Meehan's brother Steven is autistic. As a result, Daisy classifies herself as argued parents, whose relationship is slowly deteriorating. She aims to be the perfect daughter as not to stress her parents out even more. She is a decorated trumpet player and a great student. When Daisy starts to live her life and stop helping with Steven. To stop ignoring her longtime crush on Dave. When a new boy piques her interest, Daisy is questioning her feelings for Dave.
Rating: 5/5
Fave Character: Justine. I love her confidence and her loyalty towards Daisy, even with her brother the way he is.
•This books was great and really, really deep.
Profile Image for Angela.
34 reviews
August 24, 2015
This was my first book in verse although it was slow, it was beautifully written! This book became a book close to my heart because about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder although mild I could relate to Steven's character but also Daisy's character very much in that she was put in a box becoming very lonely and confused about her life. As she began to let go her life started to unfold before her and I believe that is what I have to do. I give this book a 2/5 stars.
Profile Image for Vicki.
2,207 reviews85 followers
May 17, 2014
I thought this piece was very well-written, but I got my pleasure from it mostly by taking my time to read it a bit slower, as a poem. That is how I was able to appreciate the quality of this book. The plot itself was not the driving force for me, nor were the characters.

Recommendation: I think it's beautifully written and I love the figurative language the author uses. It's worth your time in my opinion.
27 reviews14 followers
September 30, 2015
Overall the sound of letting go by Stasia Ward Kehoe is pretty good. This book is about 17 year old Daisy who feels imprisoned by her brother Steven 's autism and it's effects and her only escape is through her trumpet and the world of jazz, but when her parents decide to send Steven to an institutions she is not ready to let go. This book incorporates music, love, loss, and above all hope. In my opinion this book is pretty good but I personally didn't like how at some parts it was confusing.
Profile Image for Joy Kirr.
1,023 reviews129 followers
February 5, 2019
This one had me on an emotional roller coaster when I wasn't reading it. The relief she should have felt when she found out her parents' plans for her brother took a long time to come. The free verse / lyrics made this book's message more...... hmm. More what? I'm not sure how to say it, but I'm glad she has such a musical mind so we can see just what she thinks about her brother, her parents, her loves, and her own feelings.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sylvie.
575 reviews22 followers
January 17, 2015
I haven’t been reading much YA of late, but I really enjoyed this. The verse style was a beautiful fit for the story being told, both to convey the creative nature of a musician and the staccato struggles of dealing with autism. Plus, it got me listening to my Miles Davis albums, which, if you know me at all, is some kind of bibliomiracle.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews369 followers
January 5, 2014
3.5/5 stars

Synopsis is a bit misleading but still enjoyed this overall.
Review to come.
Profile Image for Kitty.
14 reviews
December 14, 2015
This book was really confusing in the beginning, but I do have to say that this book, has such a beautiful ending ♡ I loved it
Displaying 1 - 30 of 232 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.