Suzanne Supplee's previous novels were wonderful (Artichoke's Heart, When Irish Guys Are Smiling). She strikes pure gold with book #3: SOMEBODY EVERYBODY LISTENS TO (Dutton 2010). Retta leaves high school still unsure about whether or not to pursue her dream of a singing career in Nashville. But she decides to give it a go largely due to some pushing from her best friend and nag, Brenda. So, armed with her guitar and a small stash of cash, Retta heads from tiny Starling, Tennessee, to Nashville. Things do not proceed as planned, of course. Retta is mugged, smashes her borrowed car into a cement wall, gets a parking ticket, and generally feels defeated after only one day in the big city. Enter tow truck driver and mechanic, Ricky Dean. Retta manages to get her car fixed and obtain a gig singing at a local hotel bar. There are many more bumps in the road ahead, though. Retta must rely on herself and her friends if she is to survive and make a break into the music business. Can a small town girl afford to have big city dreams? <223>
Supplee's structure for the novel is a standout on its own. Each chapter is introduced with a short biography of one of those stars that has made it in Nashville. The chapter titles are then one of that star's hits. And, of course, the fact that Retta knows her Nashville history and her country roots shines through the pages of this hard luck makes good story. Readers will pull for Retta to make it from start to finish. They will share her journey; more importantly, they will share her feelings and emotions as well.