Leisha’s Song

Published by: Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange Books
Release Date: June 22, 2021
Pages: 270
ISBN13: 978-1-953735-34-8

  

Synopsis

Leisha knows something’s wrong. Her beloved vocal coach at boarding school would never have resigned and disappeared like this in the midst of preparing her prize students for a major vocal competition. Leisha’s determined to find her, make sure she’s okay.

Cody, a sensitive cellist, insists on helping her. Sparks fly, clues multiply, and romance blossoms, despite the disapproval of their families.

Leisha’s desire to be with Cody and pursue music rather than medicine puts her on a direct collision course with her African American grandfather, the only parent she’s ever had. But an even more immediate threat looms—because as Leisha draws closer to the truth about her teacher’s disappearance, she puts he own life in grave danger.

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Praise

“Heartfelt, wise and relevant, Leisha’s Song is a compelling murder mystery wrapped around a romance that propels the reader along a ‘must keep reading’ journey. Leisha is a protagonist we come to care for and cheer on as she faces a mystery that must be solved. A romance that must be navigated, and a world that must be grown into. It is a testament to Lynn Slaughter’s immense skills as a writer that she has produced another wonderful adventure story."
- T. Lynne Singleton, contributing author, African American Alphabet, A Celebration of African-American and West Indian Culture, Custom, Myth, and Symbol

"Lynn Slaughter’s knowledge, love, and passion for music are evident in Leisha’s Song. Adept at striking the right balance between tough social issues and young love, Slaughter orchestrates a tale that harmonizes issues of racism, abandonment, and abuse with the power of love and beauty of music in this young adult romantic suspense novel where two young lovers must dig through generations of hatred and intolerance to uncover the truth and solve a mystery with life and death consequences."
- V.M. Burns, Agatha Award-nominated author of The Plot is Murder

"Lynn Slaughter’s latest beautifully written thriller has it all—mystery, drama, twists and turns, romance, and skillfully-crafted characters. It is well paced and keeps you guessing. You will not want to put it down!"
- Connie Bergstein Dow, author of FROM A TO Z WITH ENERGY!

"Part mystery, part love story, Leisha’s Song explores how talent and desire clash with family expectations and old beliefs. Slaughter tells this tale with tenderness, humor, and page-turning prose that keeps readers wanting more. A not to be missed book for YA readers!"
- Ellen Birkett Morris, author of Lost Girls

"In this amazing mystery and story of new love at a fancy New England boarding school, Leisha’s Song explores the feelings of love, loss, pain, and longing amongst both students and the adults in their academic world."
- Mary Popham, author of Emmalene of Landing Run

"I loved Leisha and Cody in Leisha’s Song! I found the dialogue authentic for teens and the conflicts kept building, adding wonderful tension throughout this page-turning story."
- Beth Schmelzer, www.bestbooksbybeth.com

"Who doesn’t like a good missing teacher mystery? This one has multiple suspects, fun twists and turns, and fast-paced suspense."
-Cynthia Surrisi, author of the Quinnie Boyd Mysteries

"Suspense, tender romance, and a thoughtful exploration of racism make this page-turning coming-of-age novel a winner. An academy setting and focus on the creative arts add appeal, and Leisha’s growth from people-pleaser to independent woman will resonate with girls and women everywhere."
- Lee Tobin McClain, U.S.A. Today Bestselling Author of Home to the Harbor


Backstory

Years ago, I was standing in line at Port Authority in New York waiting for a bus to Connecticut. A pretty African-American teenage girl stood in front of me clutching a battered-looking suitcase. Her grandmother was with her, and the two were arguing. From their conversation, I gathered that the grandmother was putting her reluctant charge on a bus to attend a boarding school in Connecticut. Her granddaughter didn’t want to leave her old neighborhood and friends. The grandmother, however, was insistent.  Her granddaughter was gifted, had been awarded a scholarship. This was her shot at getting a first class education and a ticket to a better life. As I eavesdropped, I had the sense that this devoted grandmother had poured all of her ambitions and deferred dreams into her young gifted granddaughter.

I thought a lot about what it would be like for this inner city girl to be shipped off to a boarding school attended by predominantly white students from well-to-do families. I imagined that no matter how gifted and smart she was, the culture would seem strange, and there would always be students who treated her as an outsider. I hoped for her sake that she’d find supportive friends and teachers there.

The idea for Leisha, an academically gifted scholarship student from the Bronx attending a prestigious New England boarding school, grew out of the interaction I observed between this grandmother and granddaughter. In Leisha’s case, it is her grandfather who’s raised her and been the only parent she’s ever known. Devoted to his granddaughter, he dreams of her becoming a successful physician. He has her entire future mapped out for her.

The growing conflicts between Leisha and her grandfather as she begins asserting her independence were inspired not only by my own life, but by the experiences of many students I’ve counseled whose parents were not supportive of their passion for the arts. Leisha’s grandfather opposes her interest in pursuing music rather than medicine and certainly doesn’t want her inviting trouble by investigating the disappearance of her missing teacher. Nor does he want her getting involved with Cody, a sensitive white cellist who insists on being her investigative sidekick.

But Leisha falls in love, not only with music, but with Cody. Again, my own experiences in the arts inspired the story of their romance. Despite their racial and socioeconomic differences, Leisha and Cody’s shared love of music draws them together. They are soul mates who share similar values, passions, and dreams.

Finally, I was inspired to write this story because of my African-American grandson, as well as my students of color. They are hungry for books that feature main characters who look like them. As one of my African-American teen beta readers told me, “We’re so sick of being the sidekick!”  I enjoyed shaking things up in this regard. In Leisha’s Song, it’s no accident that it’s the white guy who’s the sidekick and the feisty black girl who’s the hero.


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