Book Review: Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (Realistic Teen Fiction Novel)


That’s the one word I’d use to describe this book.

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Book Cover of Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, a teen, family fiction novel.
Title: Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie | Author: Jordan Sonnenblick | Genres: Teen Fiction, Family Fiction, Realistic Fiction | First Published: 2004

Meet 13 year old Steven Alper – he’s starting 8th grade, loves drumming, and has a crush on the cutest girl in school: Renee.

Steven lives with his mom, dad, and his annoying little brother: 4 year old Jeffery.

All is well.

Until it’s not, when Jeffery is diagnosed with cancer.  

With their world upended, we follow the Alpers as they as they navigate this unexpected terrain.

And we experience it all through Steven’s eyes.

What I Liked


The point of view made the story for me.

Imagine for a second how a sibling might feel when another receives a scary medical diagnosis. What emotions might they feel? What might they go through? How might the family dynamics change? How might they cope?

It’s such an important point of view.


Drums is told with a generous helping of humor, which helped bring emotional balance to an otherwise difficult topic. Steven’s brands of humor are wit and sarcasm, two of my faves.


Sonnenblick doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but addresses them head on.

He touches upon the shifting family focus, details of Jeffrey’s medical care, and how each Alper is coping, among other things.

Because this is a book for teens that also tackles sensitive subject matter, he doesn’t go into too much detail. But he does give enough for you to get a good idea of what a person in Steven’s situation might experience.


Although Steven is a real champ in this story, in some ways he seemed too good to be true. I couldn’t help but wonder if his character’s actions were realistic.

What’s interesting is that after finishing the novel, Sonnenblick wondered the same thing (he tells us so in the Author’s Note at the end of the book).

The goods news is that he was able to breathe a sigh of relief after a family just like Steven’s read this book, and confirmed that he ‘…got it right’.


I rate books based on personal enjoyment, and this isn’t really the book one reads for entertainment. Because of that I didn’t give Drums a star rating.

Would I read it again? Hands down.

Would I recommend it? No doubt. Even moreso to anyone I thought might benefit from it.


Even though I’m not the target audience for this book – it’s targeted toward teens, especially one’s in Stevens shoes – I got a lot out of it.

It gave me a glimpse into a family dealing with cancer, and it especially gave me insight into a sibling’s experience of that situation. 

I can’t say enough about this story. If you have time and interest, it’s certainly worth a read, and definitely worth your time. 

All the Best,
♥ Ash