Review: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class.

But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out – doing mock broadcasts for Miami’s hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T – and to everyone’s shock, she’s a hit!

Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ’s awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest — and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize – Sweet T’s dream could turn into Tere’s worst nightmare…

Shrinking Violet reminded me a little of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales in that Tere, like Elise from TSWSYL, found her passion and was able to connect with others through music.

I liked Tere from the beginning, but it was hard for me to relate to her. She was so shy. That’s why it was such a surprise when she not only dreamed of being a famous DJ, but took action to make that dream a reality. Sure, it was easier for her to get the job than it would be for most — her stepfather owned the radio station — but good for her for going after it. It would have been even easier for her to sit in her room imagining life as a DJ the way she had been for so long. Instead, Tere saw an opportunity and went for it. A senior in high school, Tere was about to graduate and if this chance hadn’t come along for her, I don’t know if she would have ever found another one. I don’t think she would have gone on to major in broadcasting or joined the college radio station. She would have had to put herself out there for that, and I don’t know if she would have done that under another set of circumstances.

In actuality, Tere was just an intern who didn’t get much time on-air. I can see how it would have been nervewracking for her — for anyone, really, at first, but especially for Tere who couldn’t even talk to her classmates without stressing out. It was a little unbelievable that Sweet T (as Tere was known on-air) would gain instant popularity after just a few words, but I guess everyone loves the chance to win a contest.

At the same time she was starting at the radio station, Tere was also dealing with the dreaded group project/oral presentation in one of her classes, developing a crush on one of the members of her group, and finally beginning to understand her mom. Tere and her mother didn’t get along very well, but Tere learned that her mom did mean well and wanted the best for her. She just didn’t go about it the right way and was pushy instead of letting Tere find her own way.

Tere’s crush Gavin was a little different than most book boyfriends. He was quiet and brooding, wore all black, and was into metal and rap music. Rap was Tere’s favorite, too, which seemed like an odd choice for such a reserved girl. But maybe I just feel that way because I don’t like rap. Naturally, Tere’s mom didn’t like Gavin, but in the end, Tere got support from someone she wouldn’t have expected to stand up for her.

Shrinking Violet was pretty predictable, but overall it was a fun read. Tere was a good character, one you don’t read about often. Shrinking Violet was made into a Disney Channel movie called Radio Rebel in 2012. I think Netflix has the movie so I’m going to have to watch it sometime. I don’t expect great things from it, but if it follows the book, I think it could be enjoyable.

3 1/2 stars



  1. This actually sounds like something I might like. I may check it out. Great review!
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