Cover Image: Alma Presses Play

Alma Presses Play

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Member Reviews

I normally love a novel in verse, but this didn't feel like verse to me. There were a lot of things going on, and even though that might be how real life is, it didn't feel cohesive in a novel. I hated that there wasn't a clear ending.
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I love books that are written in verse. If beautifully written it can change the whole vibe of the book. Even though I was born in the 80's. Reading about growing up in the 80's sounds so cool. She loves Music and hanging out with her friends riding her bike. Life seems good... until it's not.
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Alma Presses Play is told in unpunctuated poems, some begin with a song lyric, some begin with a word and its definition and some are in the form of a letter or lists.  I don’t read a lot of books written in verse and when I do I really enjoy reading them.  This wasn’t a fast read for me because I was reading it off my computer and eye strain was real for me. I don’t regret that at all. It was worth it.

Our main character is Alma (13 years old) and she is a half-Chinese, half-Jewish girl growing up in New York City in the ’80s. There was so much 80s reference that it definitely brought me back to my youth with her walkman and the music she was listening to. Every time she mentioned a song I admit I went to youtube to hear it again. Brought back so many fun memories for me. Yes, I even had a walkman with cassettes.

Alma is your typical 13/14-year-old girl trying to navigate life as best as she can while dealing with family problems with her parents possibly divorcing, friends, and puberty.

The one thing I did notice and not sure if girls are like that today but Alma was obsessed with her period and telling everyone and practically anyone. I know when I was her age I never told anyone and none of my friends really talked about it. I do know one thing girls back then actually were obsessed with and gushed about was their first kiss. I still remember mine and the funny fact is I am still friends with him today.
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This was an interesting book. Alma is a middle school girl in the 1980's and we follow her through school and the troubles at home between her parents' failing marriage.
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Alma Presses Play is a novel in verse about a half-Chinese, half-Jewish girl named Alma in 1980s New York. She struggles with finding her place and feeling caught in between worlds, and in between her parents. 

I really enjoyed this book and felt like Alma was such a realistic, relatable character. The book touches on identity, diaspora, and the feeling of being fractured that so many mixed-race folks experience. As a mixed Asian & Jewish person myself, I found that Alma's feelings really resonated with me. The 1980s New York setting was fun, and I loved the diverse mix of supporting characters. The author challenges some racist, homophobic, and antisemitic sentiments of the time, which I appreciated.

My only disappointment is that I expected music to be a much bigger part of the book due to the title, cover, and summary! Music was woven into the story, but definitely not as much as I'd expected. 

Alma Presses Play is perfect for older pre-teens & younger teens. I think this would be a perfect book for readers who are transitioning from children's fiction to young adult fiction, or middle school readers getting ready to move to high school.
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This was a quick and enjoyable read. I haven't read many novels written in verse, and I liked this more than most of them. It was a little hard for me to get through, and was a little confused on what was happening because it focuses so much on the character's emotions. I would definitely recommend to  a younger audience, but I think most people will like it.
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I loved this so much. I highly recommend this to everyone. I am going to go out and get a physical copy.
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It is an inherent flaw in verse novels that there isn't much action. The focus of the book isn't on what happens but rather on how the characters feel about those events. Most of this book is spent reflecting on race, gender roles, and the difficulties of being a middle schooler. A quick read but not terribly engaging.
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I'm afraid I had to DNF this book. Unfortunately this is partly due to the way it is offered on Netgalley - there are no download options that allow me to change the font size which makes it very difficult to read. Also, I was struggling to gel with the book. Ordinarily I love novels in verse but this one just didn't hit the mark.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Tina Cane for the opportunity to read Alma Presses Play in exchange for an honest review.

This book claims to be a novel-in-verse, and while it certainly has its poetic elements, it wasn't quite like the other novels-in-verse that I have read before. 

Alma is a half Chinese, half Jewish girl living in New York in the 1980's. She loved her Walkman, on which she listens to her favorite songs. Often times people relate songs to current events in their lives, and Alma certainly finds a song for every circumstance. She shows the struggles of transitioning from middle school to high school, but she has some road bumps along the way.

Alma loses friends and makes new ones. Her parents are in the midst of a divorce. She sees a social worker/therapist lady. And she's about to enter high school. Life is a whirlwind, but at least she can find her way through by connecting to music. This also has great cultural elements throughout the novel.

I marked this as both Middle Grade and Young Adult, as the character is a good portrayal for both audiences. This is a coming-of-age story about learning how to get through the things life throws at a person. While it wasn't quite what I expected with verse (I particularly enjoy Ellen Hopkins' verse novel methods), this is a great high-lo novel that readers will enjoy and connect to.
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Coming of age novel, set in 1982, about 13 year old Alma, who is half-Chinese, half-Jewish. The book documents her everyday struggles as she witnesses the unsurprising dissolution of her parents' marriage, copes with the move of a close friend, puberty, and middle school awkwardness.
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Thank you to #NetGalley. for the E-ARC of #AlmaPressesPlay in exchange for an honest review.

Alma Presses Play is a well written novel in verse, marketed as a YA novel.  Based on the language used I would say that it is more upper middle school, younger YA age range.  Alma is a 13 year old that has her favorite tunes on hand to help her through many of lives challenges. Being half Chinese and half Jewish leaves Alma searching for the whole. A wide range of topics are covered, Cultural differences, inclusion, first loves, and so much more.  Alma's feelings and observations often had depth and moved me at times.  If you are looking for that read that ties life to music give this a try.
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Alma Presses Play was my first novel told in verse, and what a great first story to go with! Alma is such a strong narrator who, despite going through a lot at this point in her life, maintains strong opinions and never wavers on them. I loved the use of letters, dialogue, and song lyrics that were used to tell this story, it made it all the more unique and fun to read. This is easily one of my favorite coming of age stories and in my top ten books for 2021!
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Loved this book in verse by Tina Cane!

This coming of age story features Alma, a Chinese and Jewish teenager growing up in New York during the 80s. I really enjoyed this story, and the poems helped paint an emotional journey of self exploration. 

Alma's quest to define herself and the different cultural parts of herself was inspiring and moving, and I was pulled into the story. Some of the musical poems felt a bit flat to me, but I've never had a huge connection to music. 

This was a quick and engaging read, and I would definitely recommend it.
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Gorgeous cover with a story in verse that packs a punch. Alma's lens of the world may be through young eyes but her observations and feelings for her situation and the things around her were deep and moving. I really think these lines will connect with so many. I loved this one! 

<i>A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.</i>
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I received a copy of this story as an e-ARC from NetGalley. Any and all thoughts are my own.

This story follows Alma, a girl who is half-Chinese and half-Jewish who lives in NYC in the 80s, and told in prose as it follows her life, both the ups and downs, of a typical family life.

I liked this novel. I haven't read prose in a while and this felt like a nice take on it, however I can't really speak on the accuracy of the Chinese or Jewish representation as I am neither of those things. I liked Alma's character a good bunch, because of her passions for reading and writing and also listening to music. She uses it pretty often to compare moments in her life to ones she hears about or reads about, and elevates the meaning of the story even though she is just 13 in the story.

A lot of the other characters were pretty diverse, which was nice as it shows the complex roots of New York City, but I wasn't really a fan of Miguel. He ends up being a total asshole for something I won't get into because of spoilers but I love that it's shown as a chance for growth and development with Alma, and that you don't need to get into a relationship right away.

Alma also faces a lot of real life struggles, like the arguing of parents and trying to find her own place in the world, that felt realistic and impactful enough, but not enough to really move me.

Alma Presses Play is a great novel on finding one's self, family, and self-identity that is a great quick read.
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I knew I was going to like this book as soon as I saw that beautiful cover. Yuta Onoda did a phenomenal job of putting us into Alma's world before we even open the book. Alma is a half-Chinese, half-Jewish thirteen-year-old navigating life in New York City in the early 80s. At the end of 8th grade and the summer that follows, Alma is dealing with the impending demise of her parents' marriage, hanging with her friends, and figuring out what may be some romantic feelings for her friend Miguel. She also gets her period, deals with the loss of a friend who moves away, and has meaningful conversations with her school guidance counselor. And she always, always has her favorite music close by. 

As someone who was about Alma's age at the time this book takes place, I loved the nostalgia brought on by Alma's playlists, her favorite candy (some of which I had completely forgotten about!), and the pop culture references of the day. It reminded me of simpler times, when the limits of your world were your neighborhood, and time with your friends was the priority of your day. 

I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of poetry, so the idea of a novel written in verse was a tad intimidating, but Cane made the words flow so effortlessly that I almost forgot about their format. I actually enjoyed the way the words and phrases were spaced on the page, and the blank spaces between the chunks of text felt like breaths that Alma would take were she speaking these words aloud. 

I would recommend this book for later middle-grade readers and younger YA readers. Alma is only thirteen but she really is an old soul, wise beyond her years in some moments. And, as always, I encourage those of us who aren't such young adults to check this out as well.
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I've enjoyed what I was able to read of this book. Unfortunately, there was no warning that this book could only be read on the app. I would not have requested it if that was the case because I can't read on a blue light screen. This is a great premise, and I really enjoyed the verse style, which is super unique.
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This is a book that I think I will reread on audio, because I think that I'll be able to digest it more fully. The poetry didn't flow as well in my head as I was reading it as I think I would hearing it. This is something that is meant to be listened to, much like slam poetry you hear live is. I think this book was really cute, but I felt like it was really disjointed and I couldn't follow the string throughout the book. But I love the MC. she's a precious bean who needs to be protected.

Watch my full review in my August wrap up on
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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review 

I was initially surprised by how long it took me to read this book. Not because I wasn't interested, but because it hit really hard in the nostalgia corner of my brain. 

The character Alma feels caught in the middle in so many aspects of her life, which is easy to relate to. Especially the lyrical way her story is told. 

Some of the stomach pitting moments came out of left field, but that just added to the realism for me. Life does that: it drop kicks you and sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. With smartphones and the internet, sometimes I forget what it was like before, when we relied on times to call for long distance, letter writing, and how someone can lose touch completely if neither of those are available. For me, this tapped into a part of myself that often felt trapped and stuck. 

It truly felt like seeing the world through a growing girl's eyes. Parts of it made me feel guilty, like I was reading her diary. The open rawness with which Alma is expressed, especially with repetition, makes for an emotional read so be prepared for that. 

I'm glad to see in verse stories still coming out for young readers, and can't wait to see more from this author!
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