Shrinking Violet is the debut novel by Danielle Joseph and it is definitely a strong start to what looks to be a promising career as a YA novelist! The story is about a young girl named Tere who has a problem: she is painfully shy. Still, all she wants is to become a radio DJ. It's a bit hard to talk to hundreds when she can barely talk to anyone outside of her best friend and Gavin--the cute boy in her English class--but when an opportunity to work at her stepfather's radio station presents itself, she doesn't hesitate to take it. Tere spends her next few weeks interning on a somewhat sleezy DJ, Derek's show until one of the other DJs drops out of his slot. Tere steps in to help one of the producers do the show and soon enough she's part of the show! But Tere's dream isn't all it could be. Her radio persona, Sweet T, becomes quite popular and Derek takes the liberty to offer her up in a contest. Whomever writes the best love song to Sweet T gets to take her to her senior prom. Only Tere doesn't want to go, she doesn't want to reveal herself, she doesn't want to go with a stranger. Truthfully she wants to go with someone else. So does she get out of it, or does she find her voice? You'll have to read to find out.
I really love this book, and I gratefully thank Danielle Joseph for sending me a copy (I won it off her blog). Tere is such a sweet, genuine character. She feels real to me, and that's the strongest part of this book. Gavin also feels real and I wish I had known a boy like him in high school. I admit that the ending was a little bit predictable, but I'm generally good at guessing these things, and I loved it anyway. In fact, I was hoping the whole time for it. There was a point where I got worried that it wouldn't happen even! Music plays a big part in this book and I'm left wishing that it came with a soundtrack. I especially want to hear the entry about Sweet T's favorite foods, that part made me laugh in the book. I also want to hear the band Shrinking Violet. In this book Tere became a good friend to me and it was nice watching her mature and change and truly "find her voice." The story is part finding yourself, part going after your dreams, and part adorable love story.
I highly recommend this book (twice today...so far), especially to anyone who loves YA and those cute Shojo-like books. It's a fabulous book that is wonderfully written with amazing, realistic characters that is sure to cheer you up and leaving you with a happy feeling and a need for more! Hopefully we'll see more from Danielle Joseph in the very near future.