1. Borders Original Voices pick
    • Book Sense Pick
    • Featured book on CBS The Early Show
    • The launch title for Seventeen magazine’s fiction club
    • "Promising debut" in Pages magazine
    Working Mother magazine "must read"
    • 2004 Popular Paperback for Young Adults chosen by the American Library Association
    • Book Sense 2004-2005 Reading Group Suggestion
    • ABA recommended book for teens
    • Chosen for the 2005 New York State Summer Reading program

Critical Praise:

"Tucker's assured debut novel is an achingly tender narrative about grief, love, madness and crippling family secrets."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An engagingly intricate debut… The characters become as real to the reader as they are to [the narrator]… Though brimful of sentiment, The Song Reader never spills over into sentimentality."
The Philadelphia Inquirer (Editor’s Choice)

"Tucker's song-reading device is ingenious…[A] complicated story about the unbreakable bond between two sisters."
The Boston Globe

"Tucker turns an engaging premise into a fascinating novel… Leeann's voice, a combination of wistfulness, pragmatism and humor, is utterly authentic."
The Denver Post

"In this sparkling debut, Lisa Tucker takes a fascinating premise-the possibility of reading the future through songs-and uses it to tell the absorbing story of two sisters, struggling to grow up together. If Mary Beth were practicing nearby, I know I'd be one of her clients. The Song Reader is a delightful and engrossing novel."
—Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves The Furniture and The Missing World

"A page-turner which features several compelling plots working in tandem… Tucker’s writing presents an enlightening notion of family."
Bookselling This Week

"A provocative first novel… lyrical and mesmerizing."
The Beverly Hills Courier

"Tucker's first effort out of the gate is a clear winner… [Be] among the first to discover a brilliant new literary talent…"
The Albuquerque Tribune

"This intoxicating debut may remind [readers] of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, but it’s not lost in their shadows."
Publishers Weekly(starred review)

"A brilliant, hard-to-put-down novel, Tucker teaches us a life lesson…"
Memphis Flyer

"An intriguing and heartwarming tale of family and struggle."
Times Leader

"Engaging and bittersweet… a wonderful first novel."

"In this incisive and ultimately startling work, Tucker very skillfully reveals the damage that family members can do to one another and the energy required to repair the damage…"
Library Journal

"Tucker takes the…idea of the connection between music and the mind [and] formulates it into something innovative and emotional… unarguably compelling."
Santa Monica Mirror

"[The] novel works on several levels…You[‘ll] root for Leeann and keep turning pages in hopes that she finds happiness…"
St. Louis Post Dispatch

"Tucker use[s] a winning formula: Give readers a good old-fashioned story… that people can’t stop talking about."
Philadelphia Weekly

"Tucker has created a convincing musing on the importance of memory…[T]he reader is left with a… satisfying, complex reaction."
Santa Fe Reporter

"Read the book. . so the next time you hum ‘Save A Prayer’ in the shower, you’ll know why."
Riverfront Times

"Tucker even takes mental illness in stride, incorporating it easily and without melodrama into this family saga."

"One of the most highly anticipated debut novels… endearing and inspiring."
The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal

"The book is an anthem to the power of music in individual lives. It's Tucker's way of gently encouraging all of us to take a minute and listen to the music of our lives."
Ventura County Star

"My pick for best book so far in 2003. [A] spectacular novel… surprising, funny, sad, easy to get into, well-plotted, original, and rich in its characters. I can’t recommend this one highly enough."
Culture Dose

"Tucker's first novel has an impressively unique story line that touches on much more than simply music. She brings the reader into the lives of two young girls who learn lessons in family, sisterhood, trust, love and the art of forgiveness."
MSU Reporter

"Written with vivid imagery and characters that all can recognize, The Song Reader is a unique vision… At turns shocking and inspiring, it is sure to stick with you and make you rethink your "favorite" songs."
Boston Beats

"This is an assured debut, making Tucker an author whose next book you're definitely going to want to seek out."
Good Reading magazine

"This is a beautiful and bittersweet debut. . .A story at once funny and touching, heartbreaking and wise."
Romantic Times, top pick

"Place and time are brought to life vividly in this novel. The characters are strong. . the whole concept of ‘song reading’ is. . .compelling."

"Her voice is honest and intelligent. . [T]he situations are believable, Leeann is authentic, and teens will recognize the feelings. . ."
School Library Journal

"A thought-provoking plot and memorable characters combined to make this the best book I’ve read in 2003.  . . [M]eaningful, wise, and unforgettable."
The Romance Reader

"In the Anne Tyler tradition…complex characters in unusual family dynamics compel the reader to continue rooting for this so-real family, even after the last page is reached."
Celebrity Café

"Quite amazing—lyrically written, funny and sad, eccentric and entertaining. It crosses the border between literary writing and popular prose; it has one foot in each camp for its wisdom and staying power."
Curled Up With A Good Book

"Tucker's debut novel is the good kind of li-fi [literary fiction]. It is not only beautifully written featuring finely crafted true-to-life quirky characters, it tells a story and tells it well."

"Lisa Tucker's debut novel is filled with mainly female characters who are compellingly odd whilst remaining thoroughly believable."
Bookbrowse (5 stars)

The Song Reader

Leeann's older sister Mary Beth has a gift. When the two sisters are left alone after the death of their mother and the disappearance of their father, Mary Beth becomes the hero of both her younger sister and their entire town. She is a "song reader."  She doesn't read palms or tarot cards; she reads people's secrets and desires from the songs they can't get out of their minds. And her customers idolize her. As Leeann tells us, "They took her advice––to marry, to break it off…They swore she could see right into their hearts."

But as Leeann soon learns, every gift has its price. The sisters' bond will be tested when Mary Beth's advice leads to a tragedy that divides their small Missouri town. As Mary Beth retreats into her own world, Leeann must face the truth about their parents and their past, and the flawed humanity of the sister she adores. The Song Reader is an exploration of what makes a family, what breaks it apart, and how the bonds of love and blood can be both a burden and a blessing.

About Lisa  
   Reading Groups  
About Lisa  
   Reading Groups