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Who Put This Song On?

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she’s in therapy. She can’t count the number of times she’s been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her “weird” outfits, and been told she’s not “really” black. Also, she’s spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there’s that, too.

Lately, it feels li
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Delacorte Press
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  152 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Adam Dalva
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Out Today: I came into this YA novel as a huge fan of Parker's poetry, so I'm not surprised that the language shines or that the imagery is fantastic. But more: the plot is gripping and relatable - a girl, an outsider, stuck in suburbia, wanting to break free, trapped in many ways. Beyond the excellent romantic imbroglios and school issues, the novel takes on mental health issues and race in wonderful, important ways - it is also very funny, and a pitch-perfect recapturing of a time and place (t ...more
Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell

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WHO PUT THIS SONG ON? is a young adult novel about a teenager named Morgan struggling with depression and anxiety. Her mood is exacerbated by being a young, liberal black woman in a highly conservative, highly religious suburb in Southern California, where she feels like nobody-- including her parents-- understand her and her struggle to come to terms with her identity. Morgan's refuge are emo culture and emo music, as this book is set in 2008, and she identifies strongly with the
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Morgan Parker uses her own experiences as a teenager to write this novel about a 15 year old, Morgan Parker, who struggles to find balance after being diagnosed with depression. Not only that, she is one of the only students of color in her private Christian school (and in her neighborhood, suburbia) where she is discouraged from having her own opinions. I like how her identity is also part emo, with all the appropriate musical references, and also a slight tribute to The Golden Notebook maybe? ...more
Kathy - Books & Munches
TRIGGERS: Panic attacks, use of alcohol and drugs, homophobia, racism, talk about suicidal thoughts and suicide, pregnancy scare, attempted sexual abuse (cut short but still..)
REPS: LGBTQIA+, anxiety, depression, African American, Christianity


Once I got more into the story - more on the start of it later -, I liked Morgan more and more. She started feeling multidimensional and layered to me. Even though it took a while to get to that point, I really did like the characte/> ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Morgan’s story tackles issues of racism, the stress of being the token POC in the room, and feeling like you can never just exist – forever stuck between being ‘not black’ and yet at the same time unable to forget her identity. Her story is humorous and genuine, while not minimizing the struggles of finding the right medication and her family’s reactions to her mental health.

Who Put
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who Put This Song on? is the most accurate depiction of teen depression and anxiety I've ever encountered and will be an automatic recommendation for anyone going through a hard time. The dichotomy of Morgan's space as a young African American woman in a mostly white high school and her desire to fit in with other outcast groups is also really beautifully explored here.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes it’s worth staying up until 2 in the morning to finish a book. This is one of those. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so completely able to just be okay with Who I Am. Loved this book. Everyone should read it.
Mya Alexice
This was SO GOOD. It's 2008 and Morgan is a black girl amidst a mostly all-white suburb struggles with racism, depression, liking boys who only like white girls, and finding her place. Really amazing stuff. Finished reading in 2 days! What a fantastic debut novel by Morgan Parker. Can't wait to see what she does next.
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Who Put This Song On? is a memoir of the author's life, with many fictionalized aspects, according to the author's note in the back. This authenticity really shines through in the novel, as it deals with a lot of heavy topics in a very real way. Morgan felt like a very realistic and relatable main character.

The book is set around the time Obama was first elected as preside
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHO PUT THIS SONG ON? by Morgan Parker in exchange for my honest review.***


As a teen, writer Morgan Parker feels like an outsider. Her christian high school hardly has any other black kids and her white therapist doesn’t get it. Morgan is suicidally depressed with anger and sadness her most prominent symptoms.

WHO PUT THIS SONG ON? is a niche book that will probably appeal to a narrow group of reader
Surprising, lyrical and authentic
Emma L.

Rating: 🌟🌟 (2/5 stars).

Eh I truly didn't like this. I hate to say that about a book that's the fictionalized version of her life but this wasn't good. I wasn't particularly attached to anyone or anything. And everything felt just so random and disjointed. Also what was the point of this novel? I honestly don't know. Besides I wasn't a fan of the anxiety and depression representation. I totally acknowledge that everybody's experiences are different but this didn't sit well to me. This book u
Kate (GirlReading)
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Achingly honest, brilliantly funny and crushingly pertinent in its discussion of mental health, race, relationships and growing up feeling 'other'.

This was by no means an easy read and Morgan Parker doesn't shy away from exploring 'tough' topics head on without frills (so if you are sensitive to any of the topics I've listed in the trigger warnings I would be cautious going into it) but they way these topics are discussed are done so with care, honesty and executed brilliantly.

From the multipl
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At a time when everyone says things like "wow exposed," "I feel seen," or "omg ME" about simple things all the time, it's hard for me to articulate how deeply and seriously I feel those things about this book... This is the most of myself that I have ever, ever seen in any piece of media and it was EXTREMELY overwhelming. I had multiple highlighters on hand every time I read this because I needed to highlight so many different lines and passages for a myriad of screaming reasons, and I needed to ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Somewhere between a 4 and a 5!! I think my favorite thing about this book was the fact that it was semi-autobiographical. I really like Morgan as a person and it was cool reading her story as a teenager, or however much of it was her story!! Because it was true to life, it felt a little meandery with no solid happy ending. But that’s understandable and realistic! I did enjoy it very much, I enjoy Morgan’s voice, her way of viewing the world, and sense of humor. And I appreciated that it presente ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I wanted so badly to like this book. Morgan Parker was a featured author at a dinner I attended and when talking about this semi-autographical story she was hilariously honest about the struggles she endured during her teen years that led to the writing of this book. I put it at the top of my very tall TBR pile and couldn’t wait to dive in.

Unfortunately, the book isn’t as funny and engaging as the author is. I understand that it’s about mental illness but I found it very difficult to
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly honest and open YA novel that is somewhat memoir-istic in prose with wit and control and awareness. This is a spectacular book about what it's like to have depression, be Black (in a space where that's weaponized against you), and ableism in all it's forms and what folks can do better. WHO PUT THIS SONG ON? doesn't preach it portrays reality and gives space for the main character, Morgan Parker, to FEEL and be okay with that. It's a journey and it's hilarious and it has real moments f ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-author
3.5 stars
*I received a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I had mixed feelings on this one. While I thought it was a good book for the most part I did have some issues with it.

Just to quickly deal with writing style & plot: I had no problem with the writing style, I've seen other reviews complain about the use of parentheticals, but as I tend to use those a lot I didn't mind them a lot. As for plot, there's very little of that here which, once
Leah Rachel von Essen
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker was one of the most lovely YA contemporaries I’ve read in some time. Parker’s novel captures what it was like to be a teen in 2008 superbly. Morgan, the main character, is a real teen with real depression struggling to feel normal, already a black emo girl at a mostly white school, and now she’s going to therapy and struggling with her meds.

Parker has said that much of the novel is based on her own life, and it shows: together with her sheer writing talent
So this book had a lot of important themes. As someone who attended a majority white high school in 2008 I could relate to the racism Morgan faced and the feelings of not fitting in. It was like re-living my high school years again. I've since long pushed that past me. I didn't feel like this story had much of a structure though. I feel like everything written here could've been written in a long poem instead or an article. Teen Morgan wasn't a likable character and so much of this predictable s ...more
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookCon 2019 and Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I would like to open this review by touching briefly on how much I liked Morgan Parker’s writing style. This novel is poetic without being flowery and it all flows together so well. There was such an amazing balance of description, dialogue, and events and I never felt like I was being “told” something. There’s
Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)
Read even more book reviews at:

Who Put This Song On? follows the story of Morgan who is a girl who lives with depression, anxiety, and feels like a constant outsider. She’s one of the very few minority students at the school and on top of that, people place her into the typical black girl stereotype. She loves indie emo music, wearing quirky outfits, and is nerdy.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been told I’m not really black, how many times I’ve been the only black g
Ronnie Stephens
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've seen mostly positive reviews for WHO PUT THIS SONG ON?, but I'm frustrated by a couple of consistent criticisms that I'm seeing from (mostly) white, middle-aged reviewers. First, some readers are questioning the likability and relatability of the protagonist, which feels a lot like perpetuating negative stereotypes about mental health. Having depression is HARD, and loving those with depression is HARD, but it's damaging to suggest that we should not center characters with mental health bec ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Who Put This Song On? is Morgan Parker's first novel, a fictionalization of her own teen years in Southern California. The book begins with Morgan returning to school after a summer battling depression and self-harming urges. In spite of feelings of alienation, Morgan reunites with two dear friends and manages to make two new ones as she pushes through the dross of depression, family tension, and being one of a handful of Black students at a Christian high school.

This will be a very relatable b
Brooke Lorren
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker is part memoir, dealing with a girl's depression at the beginning of her last year in high school. There was a lot that I enjoyed about the book, including the mental health rep; however, the story seemed to lack an overall plot and there were some parts of the story that didn't fit into the time frame it took place in.

What I liked: I really liked Morgan's character. She makes mistakes, she experiences depression, but she seems like a real chara
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
official release: September 24th, 2019
“Everyone has fucked up. Everyone has been brilliant. Both of those things are true.”
wow this one HIT 👏🏼 ME 👏🏼 in the best way. this is a semi-autobiographical story about teenaged Morgan Parker who is trying to find her way in the world as a young black girl attending a suffocating and ignorant Catholic school in Southern California while also battling clinical depression and anxiety. this felt a lot like The Perks of Being a Wallflower but way
Lindsay Montague
Oh my God, this book! I knew nothing about this book or this author before getting into this book and within 10 pages, I was hooked!!!

Who Put This Song On? is loosely based on author Morgan Parker's real life as a black teen who struggles with finding her place in the world. Morgan wrestles with her mental health, her blackness—or lack thereof—in a predominately white neighborhood, and how to feel in her own skin and with her sometimes dark thoughts. She is constantly being made fun
Shanna Miles
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Morgan is a California girl but she’s far from typical. Fresh from a suicide attempt and on the shaky ground of recovery, she’s figuring out how to deal with parents who don’t understand her moods (though, she doesn’t really understand them herself), and how to continue to survive as one of only a handful of Black kids at a private Christian school. She doesn’t look like the other girls, dress like the other girls and she prefers Emo to Hip-Hop. Firmly outside of what passes for normal at her sc ...more
3.5 stars actually... I wanted so bad to like this book but I have to be honest....

The book follows Morgan, an African American girl living in white suburbia and attends a predominately white school. She has depression and anxiety and receives counseling for it. She struggles to fit in with her pro black views and seemingly 'liberal' political views. I do like the fact that she isn't the stereotypical black teenager -- only listening to rap music. Her environment may have a hand in t
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, contemporary
Who Put This Song On? succeeds at deeply immersing the reader in the headspace of a teenager (circa 2008) struggling to reconcile her depression with her coming-of-age journey and exploration of her Black identity. Morgan's voice is vivid and honest--which it should be, because the main character of this semi-autobiographical novelized diary is the author's teenage self.

That said, I'm not sure that novelization was the right move for this story. My full review discusses the ways that this did
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Morgan Parker is the author of THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCÉ, a Goodreads Choice Award semi-finalist, and OTHER PEOPLE'S COMFORT KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT, selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Paris Review, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Best American Poetry 2016, The New York Times, a ...more