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The Battle Hymn Blues

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Stoney Nix can play anything, from Beethoven to the Blues, on his old rattletrap piano. It’s just a gift, and a good one. Music is his ticket out of Pinewood, Alabama, his ironic, dying hometown, where they reenact the Civil War but cancel marching band because it’s too small. Then Sadie Green, the hilarious and beautiful new girl (and Stoney’s major crush), convinces him Stoney Nix can play anything, from Beethoven to the Blues, on his old rattletrap piano. It’s just a gift, and a good one. Music is his ticket out of Pinewood, Alabama, his ironic, dying hometown, where they reenact the Civil War but cancel marching band because it’s too small. Then Sadie Green, the hilarious and beautiful new girl (and Stoney’s major crush), convinces him to fight in the fake Civil War battle. What happens there will haunt Stoney forever—and only through voices of the past, struggle, friendship, and his music, will Stoney find himself. A young adult-paranormal-gothic-comedy-romance, The Battle Hymn Blues is a story filled with ghosts and pranks, music and mystery. It’s a love song to the blues we all share, how the past and the future and happiness have the strangest ways of finding you.

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Stoney Nix can play anything, from Beethoven to the Blues, on his old rattletrap piano. It’s just a gift, and a good one. Music is his ticket out of Pinewood, Alabama, his ironic, dying hometown, where they reenact the Civil War but cancel marching band because it’s too small. Then Sadie Green, the hilarious and beautiful new girl (and Stoney’s major crush), convinces him Stoney Nix can play anything, from Beethoven to the Blues, on his old rattletrap piano. It’s just a gift, and a good one. Music is his ticket out of Pinewood, Alabama, his ironic, dying hometown, where they reenact the Civil War but cancel marching band because it’s too small. Then Sadie Green, the hilarious and beautiful new girl (and Stoney’s major crush), convinces him to fight in the fake Civil War battle. What happens there will haunt Stoney forever—and only through voices of the past, struggle, friendship, and his music, will Stoney find himself. A young adult-paranormal-gothic-comedy-romance, The Battle Hymn Blues is a story filled with ghosts and pranks, music and mystery. It’s a love song to the blues we all share, how the past and the future and happiness have the strangest ways of finding you.

30 review for The Battle Hymn Blues

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Grey

    I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book and it turned out to be one of the best books I read in 2012. The voice was fresh and unique...it made me THINK about this story - about the main character - for weeks after I'd finished. One of the most interesting aspects of this book to me was how music was such an integral part of Stoney's existence. I live with people who have perfect pitch (thank goodness I don't, it seems more of a curse than a blessing) and live their lives to their I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book and it turned out to be one of the best books I read in 2012. The voice was fresh and unique...it made me THINK about this story - about the main character - for weeks after I'd finished. One of the most interesting aspects of this book to me was how music was such an integral part of Stoney's existence. I live with people who have perfect pitch (thank goodness I don't, it seems more of a curse than a blessing) and live their lives to their own personal soundtrack. The way Lawley wrote Stoney's internal monologue in relation to music was SO real to me because of that. I also loved the way the past kept intruding on the present. Not only the obsession with the past (real or imagined) that Stoney's dad has, but the way the Lawley weaves the past and present together into a whole new tapestry. It's not quite a ghost story, it's not quite magical realism...or is it? It's awesome, whatever it is. Really loved it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rincey

    I downloaded this as a free Kindle download and read it during my free time and breaks at work. I don't know, I just didn't get this book. The first half seems really interesting, I was really intrigued by the characters [especially Clyde] but then the big climax of the story happens and everything seems to fall apart from there. ***minor spoilers** Ghosts??? Seriously, there were chapters of just the main character and ghosts. I understand that they were hallucinations, but what was the point? I I downloaded this as a free Kindle download and read it during my free time and breaks at work. I don't know, I just didn't get this book. The first half seems really interesting, I was really intrigued by the characters [especially Clyde] but then the big climax of the story happens and everything seems to fall apart from there. ***minor spoilers** Ghosts??? Seriously, there were chapters of just the main character and ghosts. I understand that they were hallucinations, but what was the point? I guess since it was free and helped pass the time then no harm, no foul.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Anuchan

    Loved the book! Narrator's voice was entertaining and engaging, the theme was interesting, and the protagonist had a thrilling perspective. It would appeal to teenage boys. I give it 5 stars for an American audience, but I would take off a star for international audiences because of its heavy reliance on the US Civil War. The constant references to music struck me as odd in a novel, but it could be appealing to the target audience.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nichelle

    This book went far beyond the expectations I had for it! I really enjoyed it and I'll add it to my YA collection for my classroom and recommend it for boys (and girls!). It has a lot of history to it as well as a character that is very genuine. I really enjoyed Stony and his way of seeing the world through music. A really wonderful read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    This book is about Stoney, named after General Stonewall Jackson - his dad is a big Civil War buff - who from the beginning kind of gave me an August Rush feel... Stoney is really into music and hears it everywhere he goes. Stoney is from Pinewood, Alabama, a small old logging town. The book focuses on Stoney as a musician and his place in Pinewood before and after the climax, and how he adapted to his life after the climax. This book started off really good and I was really into it. And then th This book is about Stoney, named after General Stonewall Jackson - his dad is a big Civil War buff - who from the beginning kind of gave me an August Rush feel... Stoney is really into music and hears it everywhere he goes. Stoney is from Pinewood, Alabama, a small old logging town. The book focuses on Stoney as a musician and his place in Pinewood before and after the climax, and how he adapted to his life after the climax. This book started off really good and I was really into it. And then the ghost thing kinda threw me for a loop and I lost a lot of interest and didnt really understand the point of them, but it did end up tying together at the end and making sense.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I thought I knew early on where this story was going--a typical coming-of-age for an uber-talented, misunderstood teen whose small town can't live up to his dreams--and then The Incident happens at the reenactment, and *then* some magical realism enters the story. Stoney, Clyde, Sadie, and (most of) the adults in their life are likeable characters that the audience cares about greatly. If you liked Mango-Shaped Space, this has some common elements: synesthesia with music rather than color. I rece I thought I knew early on where this story was going--a typical coming-of-age for an uber-talented, misunderstood teen whose small town can't live up to his dreams--and then The Incident happens at the reenactment, and *then* some magical realism enters the story. Stoney, Clyde, Sadie, and (most of) the adults in their life are likeable characters that the audience cares about greatly. If you liked Mango-Shaped Space, this has some common elements: synesthesia with music rather than color. I received this book as a free Kindle download.

  7. 4 out of 5

    wanderer

    Excellent young adult voice. Not crazy about the ghosts/hallucinations or the drawn-out scene right before the ending. Good characterization. Language. It's a modern teen book, should've guessed. Free on Kindle. *Edited to add "hallucinations" and "drawn-out scene right before", since the ghosts weren't exactly ghosts and the actual ending was fine, really.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Mathews

    Although I am far past the "young adult" stage, I enjoyed this book. I found myself highlighting (on my Kindle) several passages that were so descriptive and imaginative that I did not want to lose them. Keep writing Baker Lawley.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anja Mizner

    Strangest book ever...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Made myself keep reading hoping it would get better. A "Hand Funeral" REALLY??? Voices and sounds described in musical notes? REALLY???

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Goerz (Wheeler)

    Got for free on Amazon

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becca Tyler

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Souder

  16. 5 out of 5

    Keri

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Breakiron

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 5 out of 5

    Freddy Román

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  23. 5 out of 5

    Words

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ciesielski

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liza

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joy Quinnan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Venuti

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shari*LoveMiKindle*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kellee

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