Some Strange Music Draws Me In: A BUST Review

by Rufus Hickok

Most of us stumble through adolescence like we’re trying to solve the mystery of ourselves. For Melanie, a 14-year-old girl living in a small Massachusetts town in the 1980s—who suspects she might not be a girl at all—the mystery is both exhilarating and terrifying. Thankfully, she finds a mentor in Sylvia, a badass trans woman who knows about cool music, wears cool clothes, and drives in demolition derbies. Their friendship clears a space for Mel to thrive and start imagining life as Max, while rattling everyone around them. 

When writing nonfiction under the pen name Jeremiah Moss, author Griffin Hansbury has previously published extensively about how pre-gentrification New York City was a safe haven for creative young queer and trans kids who wouldn’t have thrived and might not have survived in their hometowns. In Some Strange Music Draws Me In, he fictionally captures growing up trans in a place where any deviation from the norm is seen as a threat, and how kind elders can guide us toward becoming ourselves. At once an analysis of gender, sex, and class, this novel is populated by characters so real, you’ll wish you could hang out with them and keep them safe. 

Top Image Via W.W. Norton & Company

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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