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Who Put This Song On?

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  317 ratings  ·  110 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
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  317 ratings  ·  110 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 ...more
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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 readers and for that reason, I
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
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
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 ...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.
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 ...more
|| Soph ||
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FRICK I LOVE THIS. here’s just a few things i loved:

-this story takes place in 2008. i am a sucker for any story taking place in the mid-2000s

-christ, i could relate so hard. if you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, please please read it.

-the author’s note at the end <3 (literally moved my 3.5 to a 4 when i read it).

*taking one star off because it felt slow in some areas.*

*tw for anxiety and depression*

that is all
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
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
My review of Who Put This Song On? is up on my blog now!

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 ...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 again, isn't a
Tre Berry
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aa-fiction, ya
4.5 Stars!

This book is about 17 year old Morgan’s struggles with depression and anxiety. She feels like the odd-ball in her family, with her parents doting on her younger brother and feeling uneasy around her. She has a unique sense of style, which made some think she’s gay. So many boxes to fit into. Why can’t she just be her unique, witty self?

Morgan’s parents send her to a therapist to sort out her issues, and of course, she was prescribed medications. I think the family should’ve been a part
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
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I came to this loving Parker’s poetry. I really wasn’t sure how that would translate to memoir-ish YA, but oh wow just beautifully. None of Parker’s books are written for me, a white woman, and that’s what makes them so good. They are full of so many relatable, empathetic moments though, and as a person who was confused and grossed out by organized patriarchal Christianity in a small town and was also dealing with depression and anxiety as a teen (and now) and was too smart for my own good (and ...more
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 ...more
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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, ...more