Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers

Johnny's life is pretty out of control. His dad is killed in a car accident, and his mom checks out for a while. He deals with it by drinking and going to clubs, until the night when things go too far. He ends up getting dumped at the ER, treated for an overdose, and shipped off to rehab.

The only thing that gets him through rehab is Debbie Harry, lead singer of the new wave band Blondie. He can't get enough of her. When he gets out of rehab, his mom isn't sure what to do, she just knows that she can't handle it. Johnny gets sent to live with his Uncle Sam in South Carolina. From Tampa to South Carolina? Johnny doesn't like the sound of it, but he doesn't have much choice.

His new school is a lot different from his old one, and it seems like he's attracting unwanted attention from some local bullies. He finds the cool local record store, and befriends a beautiful girl named Maria. He turns her on to Debbie Harry, and the friendship blossoms into something deeper. It turns out the local bullies dislike him because one of them is Maria's ex. But it's worth it, Maria is different from anyone he has ever known. She encourages him to be his own person, and understands his obsession with Debbie...the idea that he almost wants to BE her.

Maria comes up with a crazy scheme that starts with Johnny buying a dress. She tells him about an opportunity to perform in a drag show, and puts the idea in his head about dressing up like Debbie, with the possibility of winning some serious money. Will he go through with this? If he does, does that make him gay?

A great story about how gender roles are not always clear cut, and how self-expression is all about letting go of your fears and doubts.
"Go be Debbie!" Maria gave me a shove. Next thing I knew, I was standing onstage. A blast of wild hoots and hollers shot up from the blurry darkness in front of me. It was like looking into an eclipse," (Brothers pg. 170, 2008).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

Brothers, Meagan. (2008). Debbie Harry Sings in French. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

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