I’m here for another blog tour featuring a Childrens/Middle Grade book. Big thanks to Shalini from Digital Reads Blog Tours. This books really surprised me and I’m excited to share my thoughts about it.
TITLE: Jam Sessions
BY: Jerry Harwood
PUBLICATION: March 2020
NOTES: I received an e-copy from the author and blog tour organizer in exchange for promotion and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Meet Phillip. His mom relocates him to a new school in the middle of the school year.
Things do not go well. Phillip lands himself a trip to the dean of student’s office when he tries to forge his mother’s signature. Maybe if he spelled her name correctly it would have gone better.
Phillip also finds himself having more and more anxiety. And the song some bullies are singing is certainly not helping:
Phillip Willip, Puddin and Pie.
Got a bad grade and made him cry.
There is one class Phillip has that is going well. It is with Mr. Filter, who starts each day with a writing prompt. These “jam sessions” allow students to be creative and enjoy writing. Phillip writes about being a basketball on a soccer field. Another day he writes about receiving two dragon eggs in the mail, one for himself and one for a particularly cute girl.
But will Phillip ever be able to make his real life go as well as his Jam Sessions?
I found Jam Sessions informative and relatable, which makes it an important read.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. In fact, I didn’t even know what this book is about. I didn’t read the blurb before I started reading. This book features a boy, Phillip, who has anxiety that definitely went strong when his mother took him in a new place and in a new school, but for a reason. As most middle schools, Phillip’s new school has bullies who he was associated with and it didn’t help with his anxiety that Phillip even had panic attacks.
I think this is a very realistic book. I never thought I would see myself in a boy like Phillip but I did. I have anxiety for as long as I can remember but it was definitely worse during my teenage years. I felt for Phillip as he navigated each day in his new school, trying to fit in and really, just trying to survive. The portrayal of anxiety in this book is very realistic and relatable. I know that not all share the same way of dealing anxiety and panic but still, I saw myself in Phillip. At first, he associated himself with wrong people but he found the right friends to be with along the way. I want to have friends like Ashley, Jaylan and Daniel. I wish all teens, especially the ones struggling with mental health has friends like them.
I also love Phillip’s favorite teacher, Mr. Filters. His Jam Sessions are the best and I wished I had the same teacher in school. Using my creativity with the help of my teacher would’ve helped me a lot in dealing with my mental health issues. Phillip and his mother have a good enough relationship but his mother is busy with work. Thankfully he has a good relationship with his grandfather. Not all the teachers in his school are good parent figures but the ones that are good are really likeable. I think the author did a great job at portraying the teachers. He did a great job at portraying the bullies, as well. They were very realistic.
The writing overall is great. I enjoyed the short chapters which I think children and middle grade readers and even adult readers will love. There were capitalized words in dialogues throughout the book and they bothered me at first but got used to them eventually. The story itself is a bit slow in the beginning but picks up as the story goes.
RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies
For me, this book is important and I really hope many will have the chance to read this. This will not just educate people who are not that familiar with anxiety and panic attacks but will also help those who needed help with this issue.
“Wow! You really SHOWED her! That’s awesome, Phillip. We hate Tina. She is such a prude.”
Robert added from the bus seat behind them, “Remember when we tied her gym shoes together and threw them up onto the basketball goal? She got us a detention for that. She deserved it, Phillip!”
Phillip didn’t feel like he “showed” anyone anything. And he certainly didn’t feel like Tina deserved to have her earring ripped out, even if she was reading his journal. But Chuck seemed to think it was the best thing that had ever happened at Cloverfield Middle School.
“Yeah,” Phillip added, “but I have ISS tomorrow. And it is in the afternoon, so I still have to get that math test signed. My mom is going to be so mad after this.”
“Let me see that test,” Chuck interjected.
Phillip hesitantly pulled it out of the front pocket of his trapper keeper. There again was the massive red “35%” on top of the page.
“What is your mom’s name?” Chuck asked.
It was a weird question. “Rhodman, just like mine.”
“No dude, like her FIRST name.”
Chuck suddenly produced a pen from seemingly nowhere. Before Phillip could protest, Chuck wrote in big letters:
“There you go, Phillip. Problem solved!” Chuck handed the paper back with the name written boldly right below the “35%.”
“What did you do?” Phillip said louder than he meant to. “That isn’t even how you spell it!”
“Mrs. Murray will never know. You are good. Now you don’t have to tell your mom. Seriously, I did you a favor. Be grateful.”
Jam Sessions: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0868XNSH9
EBook (non-kindle): https://books2read.com/u/3k1X8n
Jam Sessions Available For Classrooms: Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Circumlocution
Author’s other book: Twelve Hours on the Block: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J3YDCCX
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Harwood was born in Ooltewah, TN. His mother was an elementary school teacher and he spent his afternoons reading books in her classroom or the nearby library. He has experimented with other occupations: camp director, program director at a counseling center, college professor and middle school teacher. Jerry has backpacked Europe, taught in a Ukrainian University, worked in Rwanda after the genocide, is a first responder, sort-of remodeled a VW Thing, and has a love for Cherry Coke Zero that is only surpassed by his love for his wife, six children, and grandson.
Jerry attended college at UT Chattanooga where he was in university honors and majored in Latin and classical literature. He has two master’s degrees, nearing completion on a third. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he is an active member of the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild, the Atlanta Writer’s Club, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Author social media details
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0863YPCD7
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Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.