Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Who Put This Song On?” as Want to Read:
Who Put This Song On?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Who Put This Song On?

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,251 ratings  ·  315 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 like the whole
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Delacorte Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Who Put This Song On?, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Vivi Hyacinthe Yes, I think this would be a great read for 8th graders. There are gentle, empathetic themes of mental health that could spark meaningful conversation…moreYes, I think this would be a great read for 8th graders. There are gentle, empathetic themes of mental health that could spark meaningful conversations, or just convince someone to get the help that they need. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,251 ratings  ·  315 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Who Put This Song On?
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 ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

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 i
C.G. Drews
Oh this is the kind of book that just captured my heart. I'm just going to yell messy chaotic friendship groups and then cry on you because omg I LOVE these types of books. This one doesn't have a solid plot, it meanders and it's about depression and fitting in and the hopelessly overwhelm of feeling too much. It felt so so real. It was so so deeply good to read.

Some books just get it, and this one 1000 % does. As someone who's had depression for (like Morgan) what feels like absolut
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 character she became over t
One of the best depictions of depression and anxiety I've read, and it's especially noteworthy that Morgan, the main character who is based on Morgan the author, is black, as her mental illnesses intersect directly with her experiences being black.

By turns funny and heartbreaking, this book is a slice of life into Morgan's ups and downs in her conservative Christian school and very white suburban southern California youth. She doesn't apologize for her experiences, nor feel the need to make exc
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
Never Without a Book
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker
This book was so hard to rate. I had to take a few days & think, but then realized that I was at one time in life Morgan. Depression and all the things that come with isn’t talked about much in the Black community. I know what it’s like to fight through depression and this novel will help so many young kids. I am highly recommending this to everyone.
Kristen Finnegan
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 read. The m
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
Absolutely beautiful coming of age story about the author. Everyone should read this. The honesty is palpable. She does a fantastic job elaborating on the fact she is a very bright person of color and this was often not an easy cross to carry. She was pigeoned holed and judged throughout her life because people were always trying to figure out and label her base on their own misguided perceptions and experiences. Even her mom had hopes and expectations which Morgan struggled with because she is ...more
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
Important. Funny. Self-aware. This YA novel spans a timeframe of a young girl's discovery, coming of age, if you will. Where she finds who she is, or at least attempts to do so, in a world determined to box her.

Topics discussed: Mental Health (e.g. Clinical Depression, racism, sexism, societal cliches).

This book creates a smart space for all the black girls, like me, determined to create their own path when society thinks they know better of you. Why fit in when the squeeze is too tight?

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. ...more
Melanie  Brinkman
My song doesn't sound like anyone elses.

In a very conservative and religious suburb, Morgan feels like an outsider as a young black teen. The more she struggles with expectations, faith, racism, and everything in between, the worse her anxiety and depression get. It seems the world is content to keep on being the way it is, but Morgan certainly isn't. Music offers her solace, but can she learn to dance to her own tune?

A story of learning to blast your song proudly in a world that wants you to tu
Feb 01, 2020 added it
It’s hard for me to describe this book

Morgan is a great main character. Her struggles and experiences were crafted perfectly and she felt so very real. The writing was beautiful and poetic. The portrayal of depression was amazingly well done. Ive left it at a 4 bc thinking back, there was a time when a character asked of the mc was a lesbian and it was just kinda weird how the author dealt with that. Not in a offensive way, in my opinion, just like in a straight way if u catch my drift. Im just
My Rating: 3.5 stars, rounded up

Who Put This Song On? is about Morgan Parker, a clinically depressed and anxious Black teen in extremely Christian suburbia at the time of the 2008 presidential election, where Barack Obama was about to be elected. Morgan begins to question things around her, and how the whole world seems to be following some terrible track on repeat, and wonders who put this song on and when she can put on her own song to listen to.

My Breakdown:

- I'm not usually the bigges
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.
Alex Johnson
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so unlike the books that I usually love, but Morgan Parker's unflinching honesty made her own story shine. The author takes us through her life at 15, focusing not only on what it's like to be a black teenage girl in California but one who has depression and anxiety and who attends a faith-based school and who is trying to navigate friendships.

It's not clear how much of the book is autobiographical, but it kind of doesn't matter. All the characters are complex and engaging, especial
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i wish i had this book at 16. a perfect book-- especially for the depressed future poet who likes to fight their history teachers. the end chapters made me cry. thank you morgan parker.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I enjoy Morgan Parker’s poetry and found similar enjoyment in these pages of her first YA novel; she knows of depression and anxiety and depicts it well. This should be on more best books lists of the year!
Very weird to read a book written in 2019 that takes place during my first year of college. Is this considered Historical Fiction? Am I old?
Surprising, lyrical and authentic
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 president, which is exactly the time I went
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. ...more
Carolyn Elaine
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 stars

Morgan doesn't want to be defined by her depression. Living in sunny California and being one of the only Black girls in her Christian high school is tough. And, it's even tougher having depression. Morgan believes she is cursed. That God cursed her to have depression and to be "difficult". She knows she's not the easiest person to be around. Morgan is ready to change the song and share her story of depression. In Who Put This Song On?, Morgan Parker writes a fictional story of
Kate (GirlReading)
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
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020
I really enjoyed this slice of life YA, and I enjoyed the author’s note at the end. I really empathized with being in high school and listening to punk/emo music in 2008, but there’s so much of Morgan’s experience that I didn’t share (being Black, having severe depression and a suicide attempt, and going to a Catholic high school in conservative SoCal) but I loved reading about her experience. It’s a really good contemporary YA, and Morgan’s voice is really compelling (the audiobook narrator was ...more
Erin Glover
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
A decent book about what it feels like to suffer from depression in high school and want to fit in desperately, while desperately trying to be unique. The protagonist has the added burden of being pretty much the only POC in her Christian school. I would have liked to have seen more deep, raw emotion displayed regarding this super relevant topic. Also, I'm not sure why it had to happen around 2008 instead of the present time. Teen depression, anxiety, and suicide is at an all-time high right now ...more
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
Mariama J.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will save lives. A truly honest, beautiful exploration of what it means to be a young back woman, living with depression and trying to thrive in a mostly white world. As a teen and now adult who lives with severe anxiety, I could relate to so many moments in this story. I also very much appreciated the resources and author notes that followed. I will most certainly recommend this book to everyone I see, and read it again and again.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Jackpot
  • Sulwe
  • A Place to Belong
  • The Revolution of Birdie Randolph
  • Song of the Crimson Flower (Rise of the Empress #2.5)
  • Color Me In
  • Little Weirds
  • All the Impossible Things
  • Watch Us Rise
  • All This Could Be Yours
  • Following
  • The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1
  • Everything Inside
  • Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • High School
  • Call It What You Want
  • Winterwood
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
74 likes · 20 comments
“My good old panic, this familiar terror. I wish I could explain, but it's like there are no exact words. Every single interaction is potentially hazardous. Medicated, unmedicated, important, frivolous--everything could be a second away from destroying me.” 0 likes
“The coals of hatred I harbor for my town, my school--ugh, even the very ideas of babies and marriage and church and sidewalks--are really simmering, turning golden brown on each side like chicken skin, but I still live here.” 0 likes
More quotes…