Read I’m Glad I Did by Cynthia Weil Online

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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil's extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I'm Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwrRock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil's extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I'm Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.Story Locale: New York, NY...

Title : I’m Glad I Did
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616953560
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

I’m Glad I Did Reviews

  • Jaylia3
    2019-02-20 07:10

    Set in the pre-hippie summer of 1963 when Kennedy was president, the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, and the Beatles had not yet made it to America, I’m Glad I Did is an uptempo coming of age story complete with an entertaining slice of history that doesn’t avoid the serious issues of the day. Teenage JJ Green is determined to become a Carole King-like songwriter by getting a job at the famous Brill Building, but her father and Jackie Kennedy look-alike mother want her to follow in their footsteps and become a lawyer instead. When JJ is offered a position as a music producer’s assistant, with payment being feedback on her songs, JJ’s parents reluctantly agree to a trial, but she will only be allowed to continue in the music field if one of the songs she’s written is recorded by the end of the summer. (No pressure!) Race relations, the early 60’s music scene, the payola scandal, murder and--of course--teenage romance all play a part in the story. This is Cynthia Weil’s first novel, but she’s been writing songs long enough for Bob Dylan to consider her a master in the field. (Dylan mentioned her in his memoir Chronicles, and songs co-written by Weil with her husband Barry Mann include “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, “Blame it on the Bossa Nova”, “Somewhere Out There”, and “We Got to Get Out of This Place” among many others.) While the tone is lively and humorous, one of the predominant themes is justice--which when capitalized as Justice is actually JJ’s first name. (Did I mention her parents are lawyers?). Weil’s real life experiences and inside knowledge give her story the ring of authenticity. A fun time trip.

  • Liviania
    2019-03-05 06:01

    Songwriter Cynthia Weil drew from her own life for her debut novel I'M GLAD I DID. JJ Green is an aspiring songwriter who gets a job as an assistant at a music publishing company, where she comes to find love, a mystery, and personal success. The summer of 1963 setting is used well, and the racism of the time is definitely a factor in how the story plays out.The mystery in I'M GLAD I DID takes awhile to show up. I knew there was a mystery, so I kept being afraid of who would die. I was right to be afraid, because it did wrench my heart. But this is not a dark murder mystery, if you can't tell by the bright colors on the cover. Much of it is just about tracking down the truth of the victim's life, honoring who they were and how much they'd managed to overcome and how sad it was that their hopes for the future could no longer be accomplished.I didn't know there would be a romance at all, but I liked it. JJ is a strong personality, steadily pursuing her dreams despite her parents' disapproval. She's young, but she knows what she wants from life and how to work for it. She's dazzled by her love interest's green eyes, but their relationship really takes off because it is about more than looks, or even their shared interest in music. Both of them have a passion for doing the right thing, for doing the difficult thing if it is what they believe in.And the music side of the story gets plenty of attention too. There's lots of interesting detail about how the music publishing and recording companies worked (and how writers often got screwed out of royalties). There are references to contemporary artists, including the recently deceased Leslie Gore, and to past giants, especially in the jazz and blues genres. Weil deftly gives Rosetta Tharpe, Bessie Smith, and other often forgotten women their due.I'M GLAD I DID is sure to delight music and mystery fans alike. The historical detail isn't overwhelming, but it is never forgotten. The story works wonderfully with the setting. I can see I'M GLAD I DID having a strong appeal for Nancy Drew fans looking for something more complex.

  • Shae McDaniel
    2019-03-07 01:50

    Originally reviewed at http://www.shaelit.com/2015/03/mini-r...This book is such a sad trombone. It started beautifully, packed to the gills with 60s flavor and music business lingo. I felt like I had legitimately traveled back in time! But oh, how this book dragged. The writing really needed a couple more edits, the pacing was really wonky, the love interest liked the heroine because she wasn't "like other girls," and the plot... Let's just say the plot wasn't much of a surprise, and it certainly didn't deliver what the cover copy promised. If you're going to hype a book set in the "cultural tipping point" of America, give me some culture that's tipping! The consequences in this book were at next to nothing, both on a societal and an individual level. I wanted something with bite and instead felt like I was being gummed to death.[Actual rating is more like 1.5]Note: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher for review consideration.

  • Ann Imberman
    2019-03-01 00:12

    I’m not exactly a young adult, but I am a reader who appreciates a well-told, well-written story, and “I’m Glad I Did” is both of those. The author’s first-hand experience in the music business in the early 1960’s gives the reader an insight and understanding not only of the thrill of creativity, but also the dirty underbelly of the way some things were done back then.JJ is a very positive role model. I loved her passion and determination to follow her dreams and pursue the life she felt destined for despite the lack of support from her family. This girl has real gumption and a great heart. The romantic elements are sensitively and beautifully handled, and the tone is age-appropriate throughout. Other characters in the book are well-drawn, and we come to care very much about what happens to them. As the plot moved into the realm of a who-done-it, it became a real page-turner for me and I found I couldn’t put it down until I found out exactly what had happened, and why.I loved the author’s portrayal of this world she was so much a part of at the start of her incredible and illustrious career. The novel can be extremely enjoyable for adults who were around when rock and roll was in its early years, and who lived through or are curious about some of the historical events of the Civil Rights movement. I look forward to more from this excellent writer who has so much to say to both young and mature adults.

  • Elizabeth K.
    2019-02-16 03:05

    This book was very earnest. It was also a perfectly fine, quick read. A teenage girl spends the summer before college working at an entry level job at a pop record company in the 60s. The aspect that worked the best is that Cynthia Weil WAS a young girl in the music industry in the 60s, and the parts related to this experience felt extremely real because I'm assuming they are real, and it's certainly a world that not too many authors have first-hand experience with.Beyond that, there is a music industry mystery to be solved and that, well, it was very plot-driven, and the bones of it felt like something anyone could come up with if asked to think up a crime that might need solving in this era and location. There wasn't anything wrong with it, exactly, except for being overly earnest and solved in an extremely expository way.

  • Debby
    2019-02-20 03:58

    3 starsI'm Glad I Did is a book that probably wouldn't be on my radar at all and that I wouldn't be likely to pick up if it wasn't at BEA in 2014. But I'm glad it was, because this historical fiction about the music industry is wonderfully written and authentic. Ultimately, I did want a little more from the mystery part - but I did enjoy this quick read anyway.Cynthia Weil is - apparently - a pretty successful songwriter, so it was immediately obvious that the setting within the music industry in the 1960s, in New York City, was wonderfully authentic. I looove music and such behind-the-scenes stories (like the TV series Nashville), so I was instantly smitten with that. JJ Greene comes from a family of lawyers, but she wants to be a songwriter. Her mother is prejudiced against the music industry, so JJ goes behind her back to get a summer job in a music publishing company and sets up a deal - if she can get a song recorded before she leaves, her mother will let her pursue her dream.The scenes where JJ is writing her music are so wonderfully written and inspiring. I generally admire characters going for their dreams in spite of familial or societal expectations, so I could instantly sympathize with and admire her. However, this isn't a light and fluffy "searching for stardom" story, because when JJ finally seems to be getting on her way with her writing, she gets caught up in a murder mystery.The mystery part of the story is where the book kind of lost steam for me. I liked that it brought the racial issues of the time period to the front, because that added to the wonderfully authentic setting, and it highlighted complex family dynamics, which gave the story some added depth. However, figuring out who did it was rather simplistic. Convenient details were revealed at convenient times. Unsurprisingly it was up to two teenagers to figure it all out - they couldn't trust the police. I dunno, it was all just a bit cliche and unoriginal. There were some twists which I wasn't entirely expecting, but they were revealed without a real sense of suspense. So... it was kind of a mixed bag. If you're really into mysteries, this one will probably bore you. It's not the biggest selling point of the novel.As always with YA, there's also a romance. JJ quickly meets Luke in the office, and he eventually becomes her songwriting partner. But after just seeing him once, she kind of obsesses about the "green-eyed boy" in a way that did NOT really make me ship them. Fair enough, when they start actually getting to know each other, it mellows out and clearly is not instalove... but then later, after knowing each other for only a few weeks, they get sappy and sort of make long term plans and... eh. I didn't really care for the romance at all, to be honest, and I would have preferred them being just friends. Seriously, being romantically involved with your songwriting partner is a bad idea, because the relationship turning sour could ruin your career - but that was not even mentioned.Ultimately, I feel like this book was trying to do a bit too much for it all to be done effectively. Let's not forget it's less than 300 pages, which contains a historically authentic setting, songwriting, a murder mystery, some romance, complex family dynamics, and some racial tensions. All of that. Though none of it is really done badly, there's not enough room for it all to get the depth it needs to blow you away. There's a bit of wasted potential, I guess.Summing Up:I finished my LAST BEA 2014 ARC! (*cough* That was an achievement worth mentioning, okay?) I liked I'm Glad I Did for the songwriting and historical aspects, but the romance and mystery left me wanting a bit more. If you want an authentic music industry setting in the 1960s, I'd definitely recommend this one - but if you want a suspenseful mystery or an achingly beautiful romance, you might want to look elsewhere. I liked it, but I didn't love it.GIF it to me straight!Recommended To:Fans of music-oriented novels and the 1960s.*ARC received for free at BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the contents of the review.

  • Christina (Reading Extensively)
    2019-03-04 01:50

    I love the music of this time period so I was excited to read this book. I hadn't heard of the Brill Building before and it was really interesting to learn about the music business and what it was like for people trying to make it in that world. The author was a songwriter in the Brill Building herself during that time period which makes the novel feel more authentic. Although the focus of the book is on the music industry in the early 60s, the author also touches a little on race relations and current events of that time period. I'm Glad I Did is both a "coming of age" story and a mystery. JJ is a bright and spunky girl whose family expects her to be a lawyer like they are. JJ has a gift for music though and her dream is to be a songwriter. The story starts with her trying to get an internship at the Brill Building despite her family's disapproval. Finally her mom relents and agrees that JJ can take the internship just to get her love of music out of her system. If she can land a record deal for one of her songs by the end of the summer, then she can pursue her dreams with their blessing. This may be a tough challenge for JJ until by chance she meets Luke Silver and former singer Dulcie Brown. I really liked JJ and how she followed her dreams even though it didn't match with her family's expectations and she knew it was a long shot to get a record deal. JJ has a big heart and I thought she was brave both in her career choices and her personal life. She loves her family so it is hard for her to keep secrets from them or to go against them. I liked how she was willing to give her uncle a chance even though her mom thought he wasn't that great of a person.Luke Silver is JJ's friend, music partner and love interest in the novel. Luke has a gift for writing lyrics while JJ's gift is for composing music. He is also the son of George Silver, the late business partner of JJ's uncle. JJ is attracted to Luke from the moment she meets him but it isn't until she accidentally stumbles upon a song he wrote that they connect. I liked the way their relationship developed though it is one more secret that JJ has to keep from her parents.I liked the secondary characters like Dulcie and JJ's Uncle Bernie, the black sheep music mogul who may or may not be a little crooked. Dulcie is a warm person who JJ likes instantly and she encourages JJ in her dreams even as her own dreams have been damaged by poor life choices. Uncle Bernie also helps JJ out in her fledgling career but her mom wouldn't approve if she knew that JJ was in touch with him. While I wanted her parents to be supportive of her dreams instead of just pushing her into their mold, I loved the fact that JJ's mom is a successful lawyer and that both parents want their daughter to have a career as a lawyer too. They may not be open to music as a career but they were definitely a liberal family in their views of women in the workplace.I have never watched Mad Men but from what I've heard read about it, it is pretty gritty in terms of content. While this book does mention drug use and affairs, the main characters are not involved in that and the story is not really gritty or violent. It reminded me more of the TV show American Dreams. I think the only way this book is like Mad Men is the time period and the way women were treated. JJ is lucky to have a chance at song writing thanks to her connections. Although there are a few coincidences in this story that seem far fetched and the resolution is a little too easy I really liked this debut novel. JJ is a fun character and I loved the setting and trying to figure out the mystery. I think this book would appeal to readers who like a little mystery, teen romance and the 1960s setting.

  • Emma
    2019-02-22 22:44

    I'm Glad I Did seemed interesting at first, but it was not a quality book. First off, the setting - at first I loved the fact that it was all set in the 60's, but you just couldn't tell without the narrator directly stating that it was. Also, in the 1960s, women couldn't serve on a jury, get an Ivy League education, or experience equality in the workplace. (source) So it's very unlikely that JJ would be able to score an internship at a major music company, or even that her mother would be a successful lawyer. (another source) Second, a major issue for me was that the main character, JJ, seemed like an intense Mary Sue, AKA a character who is so perfect it's annoying. In the beginning of the book, JJ seems to get the best of both worlds: she's an awesome singer/songwriter and she's also able to argue for her parents to let her do the internship. She also knows fluent Spanish and basically everyone loves her - EX: The elevator guy is really, really nice to her after she thinks she's gotten rejected for the job. Basically whenever there's a challenge, she conveniently has the skills to solve it. Third, there were so many clichés in this book. Just, so so many. All the family members' names beginning with "J", even the housekeeper and both parents? JJ looking a lot like her mom? Her brother conveniently jumping in with the most cliché plan ever written? The brother knowing the parents' personalities better than anyone? It was hard to navigate through this book without hitting at least five or so clichés. The characters were very static. They didn't really change at all. On the plus side, the book is relatively fast-paced.

  • Shoshana G
    2019-03-12 23:48

    First, the good things - the setting is great. Cynthia Weil is an award-winning songwriter, and her debut novel about a young girl trying to make it as a songwriter in the 60s obviously takes a lot from her life, and feels real. JJ's struggle to explain to her parents that she doesn't want to follow in their footsteps is relatable to most kids and teens, and it's nice to see family drama presented as a real but also as part of a loving family. Also, as much as I love smutty YA, it's nice to have some titles which are good options for the younger end of the audience. The book also address race relations in a very (for lack of a better term) whitewashed but respectful way, which also might make it a good match for the 12-14 crowd.But, there were a lot of parts that were less successful. It's a debut, and it feels like a debut. Occasionally the voice feels inauthentic - there's one part (p. 196) where JJ is describing her uncle's wife as viewing her husband as both a husband and a father figure, and that passage doesn't feel like it organically came from the 16 year old narrator. There's a lot of telling in this novel where things should be shown.There was one thing I HATED. I hate this trope every time I encounter it and am starting to feel like I need to call it out every time. On page 128, JJ is flirting with her crush Luke and she utters the dreaded phrase, "I'm not like most girls". Then worse upon worse, he replies, "I like that about you". NO. NO NO NO. You don't get to do that. There's nothing wrong with being a girl. There's nothing wrong with being a typical girl. Yes, the narrator is special/smart/independent - but SO ARE LOTS OF GIRLS. Being a girl-hating baby cool girl does not make you a special snowflake.(I read an ARC graciously provided by the publisher.)

  • Cuppa
    2019-02-16 02:53

    This is a delightful and moving novel that will suit a wide range of tastes from middle school to adult, from mystery lovers to those who enjoy history or romance or women’s fiction or family sagas. I’m Glad I Did is set in 1963, during a time when racial tensions were at a high in our country and as they are again currently. It is the story of one summer in J.J. Green’s life when she breaks out of her family’s expectations, follows her dream, discovers love and heartache and ultimately forges stronger relationships with the family she was trying to escape in the beginning.This story has many facets, but is simply told by J.J., the daughter of a high ranking lawyer and a judge in New York City. J.J. has defied her parents, who expect her to follow in their footsteps and forge a career in law, and taken a job as an unpaid assistant for a music publisher. Her parents agree that she can take the job, but if she doesn’t have a record deal by the end of the summer, she must give up music and go to college to study law. During the summer J.J. meets many interesting but imperfect people including her black sheep music mogul uncle, a troubled young man whose lyrics fit her melodies perfectly and a cleaning lady who was once a famous singer. When the cleaning lady winds up dead, J.J. resists the police ruling of suicide and works to discover the truth. But getting to the truth requires uncovering some painful family secrets.Author Cynthia Weil is an accomplished songwriter herself. This is her first novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read. It may also be a good selection for book clubs. There’s lots of material to spark a discussion.

  • Patty
    2019-02-24 05:13

    I'm Glad I DidByCynthia WeilThe main and most important characters in this book...JJ and her family...including her Uncle...were key characters in this book. Luke...new friend and love interest...was also an essential character.My very brief story summary that includes bits and bobs from the beginning, middle and end of this book...This was a fun book about the music industry in the 60's. Sixteen year old JJ wants to be a song writer and she has the summer to prove it to her parents. She lucks into a job in NYC at the Brill Building...which just happens to be the "epicenter of songwriting for a new sound called rock and roll". Not only does she write a song...she is also at the heart of murder, mayhem, and a big mystery.My actual most favorite part of this book...JJ was fun...she did not want to follow in her family's footsteps and become a lawyer. Her relationship with Luke was fun, too. Finding Dulcie was lucky for her...Dulcie of the lovely voice and very sad past. Dulcie...the holder of a life changing huge secret...sad, sweet Dulcie. My actual true feelings about this book and whether or not other potential readers will enjoy it...I really enjoyed this book and I think that many other readers will, too. My only thought is that its appeal might be wider than just YA. As a child of the 60's...I "got" all of the artists names and references and loved that part of the book.

  • Katie
    2019-03-04 02:09

    Cynthia Weil's story of the music industry in the 1960s is a quick and enjoyable read. J.J. Green has just graduated from high school and dreams of making it as a songwriter in the music industry despite the fact the it is practically a house rule that all Green children become lawyers. J.J. Has one short summer to prove to her family that she has enough talent to follow her dream. After securing a summer job in New York's music district's historic Brill Building, the teen protagonist is taken on a wild ride including meeting and working with her musical icon, reconnecting with an estranged uncle, falling in love for the first time, and even helping to solve a murder mystery.It is clear that Weil knows her way around the music business and her insight helps to create a colorful and engaging setting for the book. Key events from the civil rights movement are referenced throughout; however, the book seems to lack the sense of electric tension those events generated. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, that more than anything, is about family and forgiveness. Additionally, I find it refreshing to come across a novel for teens that is not laced with swear words and suggestive scenes that I think will still be enjoyed by a wide range of young adults.Advanced Review Copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

  • Nick
    2019-03-16 23:43

    If this same book had been released as just an adult mystery, with the main character 20 instead of 16, I think it would have worked better as a book. It certainly would have been easier to market.For one thing, she's remarkably mature for her age. For another, there are almost no other teen characters in the story, other than her eventual love interest, and even HE acts way more mature than his age, especially when it comes to the life-changing reveals that affect him.The bulk of the cast of the story are in their 40s, with two or three in their 20s, and that feels really odd in a YA novel.The author, one of the most brilliant and prolific songwriters in the history of pop music, is still feeling her way about pacing prose, but there's nothing awful. There were a couple of clever twists in the mystery, and some very interesting characters overall, and I thought that the portrayal of the setting in the Brill Building was really cool. I had just seen an old movie about songwriters right before reading this, and the atmosphere felt authentic, or at least entertaining enough to make you want to believe in it.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-02-16 07:06

    Thanks to Edelweiss for supplying me with an early copy in exchange for a fair review.A quick read and entertaining mystery. JJ, feeling trapped by the weight of parental expectations, sets out to make her songwriting dream come true. Unfortunately, dreams aren't attained for free. This book should work for those who prefer contemporary realistic fiction, as well as those who enjoy a historical jaunt. While it is set in the 1960s, with music to match, it maintains a modern appeal. Good for fans of American Dreams or Meg Cabot's Size 12 series.

  • Cami
    2019-02-28 03:44

    Always wished I had lived through the 60s and love the music of that period so I swiped my cousin's BEA arc. I read it in one sitting. Kept saying one more chapter until 2 in the morning. I thought it captured the music business and integrated the racial tension of the time in it's unique mystery/ love story. The heroine is smart, funny and matures through the story in so many ways Don't want to spoil anything for anyone so I won't say any more.. I would just recommend it strongly.

  • Darcy
    2019-03-07 03:06

    There were parts of this one that I really liked, but there were parts that didn't ring true for the time period. JJ seemed to know too much considering that she was a 16 year old girl and one that was sheltered. I did like how JJ seemed to pick up strays with Dulce and Luke, both relationships were great. I hated what happened to Dulce, but was ok with how things ended for everyone else.

  • Saleena Davidson
    2019-03-17 04:10

    I thought THIS book was going to be a saccharine sweet bit of nothing set in the 60s music industry.....instead, I got a romantic yet thoughtful story of the music business, family and a bit of a mystery to solve (with a murder!). I was very pleasantly surprised at the depth to the book and how much I enjoyed the adventure. Give this one a try, as I'll be buying it when it releases in Jan.

  • Melissa Carpenter
    2019-02-22 23:01

    I'm Glad I Did is a wonderfully written, intriguing example of everything that can be great about YA Historical Fiction. The characters are compelling and realistic, the major cultural issues of the time are front and center, and it's educational and entertaining. Love, love, love this.

  • kate
    2019-03-07 01:54

    Absolutely fantastic. Cynthia Weil is a talented storyteller - and she made me feel like I was right there with JJ in 1963 NYC. Very clean read - recommending for ages 12&up. Touches on Civil Rights movement, interracial/interfaith relationships, music. Cannot wait to read more books by Cynthia!

  • Michelle (Champ)
    2019-03-08 03:50

    picked up on a whim at the library. I'm glad I did. What a great story told by one of the greatest songwriters. I felt I was back in the 60s when JJ helping her solve a murder set in a record company. Fun.

  • Nancy Cook-senn
    2019-02-25 00:53

    Enjoyed the interview on CBS Sunday Morning with Weill and songwriting partner and husband Barry Mann. Her novel is a newcomer's experience entering the record business in the early '60s with all it heart-breaking commercialism and cruelty as well as insight and art.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-02-19 03:57

    A lovely YA read that combines music, mystery, the 60s, Payola, racial tension, and a spunky aspiring songwriter named JJ. I loved it!

  • Cole Carpenter
    2019-03-02 05:59

    This book is a lesson to me to never judge a book by its cover

  • Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
    2019-02-21 02:08

    Review originally posted at Mostly YA LitIt’s 1963 and JJ Green is a New York City girl and a songwriter in a family of lawyers. JJ has always felt immense passion for songwriting, and because of that, she’s a total black sheep. But the summer before she starts at Columbia University, she gets a job as an assistant at a music publishing company, where she exchanges work for a short-term songwriting contract. Her parents make a deal with her: if she can get a song recorded before school starts, they will let her go with her dreams. If not, she will have to give up songwriting. This book is such a lovely glimpse into a world that not a lot of teens will know much about–the sixties, music publishing, race relations, you name it. There’s a lot going on here, and I think the best part is how well Cynthia Weil evokes the feeling and atmosphere of the sixties. I really feel that only Weil, who is a huge songwriter who got her start in the sixties, could have written this novel. It’s not autobiographical, but there are moments when you really feel like you’ve escaped into the past and you’re working in the Brill Building with JJ. The novel beautifully weaves together history with JJ’s summer. All throughout, you get glimpses of what’s happening in the world at that time, especially with race relations. JJ, who has always been quite sheltered, gets her eyes opened wide to the music world, to the complexities of relationships, and to the history behind some of the greatest musicians of the time. While I loved the setting and the setup, I did feel a bit like we didn’t delve deeply enough into who JJ was. By the end of the novel, I knew that she was strong, feisty and a songwriter…but that was it. I didn’t really feel like I knew her, and I felt a bit of a distance from her. Because of that distance, the romance in the novel felt sweet, but didn’t quite get me to real feels levels. Still, for a debut novel, this book is quite complex – there are strands of mystery, threads of race relations, and just a great message of doing what you believe in. It’s a fast read that holds together well, and I had a great time reading it. Bonuses:Kick-Ass Secondary Characters: I think JJ’s character development suffered a bit because we got so much of the people around her. From the mysterious boy in the elevator to JJ’s “perfect brother”, to JJ’s Uncle Bernie who is the “godfather of the music industry” to Rona who answered the phones at the music publishing company, there is a wide cast of characters. I really enjoyed meeting them, almost more than I enjoyed JJ herself. It’s A Mystery: I can’t talk about this book without talking about how it goes from a simple music coming-of-age to a mystery – it happens naturally, and it’s an added element that gives this story a lot of its momentum. The mystery definitely has some darkness to it, and it’s a good whodunit. I wouldn’t call it especially realistic, but man, did I have fun reading about it.Mad Men Fashion: There’s not a lot of it, but JJ’s mother, Janny, is a fashion plate, and Weil totally name-drops some of the great designers at the time. As a fashion lover myself, this was a little bit of a vintage clothing education for me. =)Book Theme Song:  Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass Elliot (written by Cynthia Weil & Barry Mann)It may be rough goin' / Just to do your thing / The hardest thing to do / But you've gotta make your own kind of music...Even if nobody else sings along...The Final Word:I’m Glad I Did is a fast-paced YA historical about music, love, and intrigue in the early sixties. It’s fun, it’s sweet, and it nicely melds together history with what was going on in the music industry at that time. Great for classrooms looking for some context to sixties race relations, and good vintage fun for everyone else.

  • Alyssa Schneyman
    2019-03-02 02:50

    This is a delightful and moving novel that will suit a wide range of tastes from middle school to adult, from mystery lovers to those who enjoy history or romance or women’s fiction or family sagas. I’m Glad I Did is set in 1963, during a time when racial tensions were at a high in our country and as they are again currently. It is the story of one summer in J.J. Green’s life when she breaks out of her family’s expectations, follows her dream, discovers love and heartache and ultimately forges stronger relationships with the family she was trying to escape in the beginning.Author Cynthia Weil is an accomplished songwriter herself. This is her first novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read. It may also be a good selection for book clubs. There’s lots of material to spark a discussion.ARC-Netgalley

  • Kathy
    2019-02-17 01:58

    Strong feel for the time. Main character is a young girl bucking the family history and the norms of the time. I predicted the ending which is the reason for the 4 stars, but I am an ADULT reading a YA book - so that's not too surprising.

  • Paige Wondrasek
    2019-03-06 04:54

    I was not fond of this book, the story was not very shocking and the characters were very stereotypical.

  • Alli_katsoccer10
    2019-02-21 06:50

    I did like how the book was written but I didn't like what the book was based on.

  • Ruth
    2019-03-09 23:05

    This is a good teen novel. It's a little too mature for younger kids.

  • Emma
    2019-02-20 22:46

    “There are three unbreakable rules in my family: 1. The Greens always have breakfast together. 2. The greens always negotiate instead of arguing. 3. The greens always become lawyers.”This is how the book starts, not counting the prologue. I’m Glad I Did stars sixteen-year-old J.J. Green, an early high school graduate with a passion for songwriting and a dream to get her songs out into the world. After landing an internship at Good Music Publishing, J.J. is able to prove to her less-than-supportive family of lawyers that songwriting isn’t just an obsession, or full of shady scammers such as her big shot publishing uncle. Set in the summer of 1963, J.J. comes across several characters, from Luke Silver, the son of another publishing king with a secret skill for songwriting, to legendary but forgotten singer Sweet Dulcie Brown. But when J.J. faces tragedy, she finds herself going after more than just her goal to be a songwriter (officially, with a contract, by the end of the summer, or else her music making “obsession” will be done for good), but working her way through decades of secrets and shocks that may just end up affecting her.The authenticity of the 1960s is very believable, but of course the author, Grammy-winning songwriter Cynthia Weil, would know a thing or two about it. She and her co-writer/husband Barry Mann have been working together since the early 1960s, and “one of the longest-running teams in the music business” according to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page, which also claims that Weil has registered 600 songs with Broadcast Music. Throughout the book, she tackles topics from racism and segregation to fashion, to Martin Luther king’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the sexism in the music industry:“'I didn’t know girls wrote songs,’ he announced, as if his ignorance was something to be proud of.‘We learn something every day, don’t we?’ I responded politely. Did you ever hear of Alberta Hunter?’His face went blank.” The accuracy of the time the book is set in not only sucks you right into the setting, but is also one of the book’s biggest strengths. Another strength in this book is J.J. herself. J.J. (a.k.a Justice Jeanette: Justice as a nod to her parents’ careers, and Jeanette after Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be a part of the U.S. Congress. In J.J.’s words, “Try living up to that.”) J.J. is instantly likable, positive, determined, and has a good head on her shoulders. She gives off the “sweet and innocent” feel that everyone expects when they think of people living in her time, when the fifties were melting away and one of history’s most important decades was in motion. The people she surrounds herself have a variety of personality traits, from immature to hopeful to shy to cold, but they all fall under that same vintage feel that keeps us readers in the present feeling like we’re reading something set in the past. As for the secrets and shocks mentioned in my summary, Weil writes this book in that way where you think you know who did it until the moment you think they’re going to get caught, and then you get proven wrong and have to continue reading to find out more. This gave the mystery part of the book more depth and thought, although the final result of it is a little anticlimactic but still surprising. The only weakness this book really has in my opinion is that sometimes things went too well for J.J. and the characters she’s surrounded by, that “too well” where it almost seems a little unrealistic. I think it kind of just comes with the whole vintage feel of the story or to keep the book’s overall mood a lighter tone, like how today the fifties are seen as squeaky clean and romantic to the point where characters act a little too cheery, or have that feeling that they lack a little dimension (even though I’m Glad I Did isn’t set in the fifties, the hippies and drugs thing isn’t hinted at in this story. Again, it’s set in the early 1960s, when the 1950s may still have had a bit of influence on the times). But other than that, I can’t pick out anything else that I didn’t like. Overall, this book is a lightweight, easy read with a good balance of fluff and depth. If you’re looking for a quick read you can easily submerge yourself into, I think you’ll like this. Bonus points if you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes of how the music industry works (at least, in 1963).*you can read this review on my book review tumblr, www.myyabookshelf.tumblr.com