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This one time at band camp . . . YA Lit about Marching Band Coming Soon

A few years ago, as I sat watching 1,000s of teens perform in a statewide marching band contest, I thought to myself, where are all the YA books with kids in marching band? I’ve read about football and cheerleading. I’ve even read about teens that play instruments and taking classes at school, but there hasn’t been a lot of teens that are in marching band featured in YA lit. None of the bus rides to competitions, band camp, and all the drama that comes with getting up at 6 am to practice marching in the school parking lot before most of your classmates have even opened their eyelids.

Music for All indicates that people involved in music programs including marching band score higher on the SAT, by an average of 107 points. Other research indicates that there are at least 1,077 high school marching bands alone. Marching bands are featured each year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and are a huge part of the Friday Night Lights we all talk about. What a high school football game without the marching band performance at half time?

So I was excited to see this year that there are at least 2 YA lit books featuring teens in marching bands. Here’s everything you wanted to know about some upcoming YA lit that features teens in high school marching bands.

Forward March by Skye Quinlan

Publisher’s Book Description:

What’s worse? Someone using your face for catfishing or realizing you actually do have a crush on the catfished girl?

Harper “Band Geek” McKinley just wants to make it through her senior year of marching band—and her Republican father’s presidential campaign. That was a tall order to start, but everything was going well enough until someone made a fake gay dating profile posing as Harper. The real Harper can’t afford for anyone to find out about the Tinder profile for three very important reasons:

1. Her mom is the school dean and dating profiles for students are strictly forbidden.
2. Harper doesn’t even know if she likes anyone like that—let alone if she likes other girls.
3. If this secret gets out, her father could lose the election, one she’s not sure she even wants him to win.

But upon meeting Margot Blanchard, the drumline leader who swiped right, Harper thinks it might be worth the trouble to let Margot get to know the real her.

With her dad’s campaign on the line, Harper’s relationship with her family at stake, and no idea who made that fake dating profile, Harper has to decide what’s more important to her: living her truth or becoming the First Daughter of America.

Coming March 8, 2022 from Page Street Kids

It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano

Publisher’s Book Description:

A sweet and nerdy contemporary YA novel set in the world of marching band perfect for fans of Late to the Party and Kate in Waiting.

Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.

But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.

But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and the end-of-semester band competition grows near, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially new section leader Bloom, a sweet and shy ace boy who might be a better match for her than Gilberto—might just turn things around.

Coming August 2, 2022 from Viking Books for Young Readers

It’s nice to see some books coming out that featuring marching band, a staple for a lot of teens of the high school experience.