High Plains Book Award — Finalist, Young Adult • MYRCA Northern Lights Award — Shortlisted • SYRCA Snow Willow Award — Shortlisted
An aspiring teenage DJ must learn how to navigate life when people find out that she's the daughter of a famous singer.
Fifteen-year-old Delilah “Dizzy” Doucette lives with her dad and brother above their vintage record store, The Vinyl Trap. She’s learning how to spin records from her brother’s best friend, and she’s getting pretty good. But behind her bohemian life, Dizzy and her family have a secret: her mom is the megafamous singer Georgia Waters. When this secret is revealed to the world, Dizzy’s life spins out of control. She must decide what is most important to her — the family she has or the family she wants.
About the author
An author and junior high school teacher who also enjoyed many years of teaching kindergarten, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous works include the critically-acclaimed middle-grade novels Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own; Sadia, which won the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, which was selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons. The family’s West Highland Terrier Rosie adds an extra-loveable dose of liveliness, squirrel-chasing, and shoe-chewing to their lives.
- Short-listed, SYRCA Snow Willow Award
- Short-listed, MYRCA Northern Lights Award
- Short-listed, High Plains Book Award, Young Adult Category
- Commended, CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens, Starred Selection (Spring 2020)
Excerpt: Spin (by (author) Colleen Nelson)
I slid the record out of the sleeve. The pressed plastic flashed like an oil slick. I’d been around records my whole fifteen and a half years, but I still loved the satiny shine of them. I held the unmarked record up when Dad came into the office. “Do you know who this is?” I asked him. Our record store, The Vinyl Trap, was slow for a Saturday. I’d retreated to the office at the back of the store looking for something to listen to.
Dad shrugged and nodded at the turntable on his desk. “Put it on. Let’s find out.” The couch springs creaked when he sat down and propped his black motorcycle boots up on the coffee table. I dropped the record over the pin in the centre of the turntable. With the flick of a switch, it started to spin and I dropped the needle. Seconds later, a sultry powerhouse of a voice filled the room. I peeked at Dad. His eyes were closed and his head swayed with the emotion of the song. It was bare bones, just a piano and the singer.
The voice was familiar. It would have been to anyone who heard it. Georgia Waters, the world’s most famous singer.
And my mother.
The huskiness of her voice was like sandpaper and honey, every note filled with emotion. I watched Dad lose himself in the song. She didn’t need any accompaniment. She had one of those voices that hit, right in your gut, and made you ache along with her.
“Man, that woman can sing.” Dad sighed when the song ended.
“Yeah,” I agreed quietly and lifted the needle off the record.
“I think she was pregnant with you when she recorded that song.”
“Why’d you hide it away?” I stood up and dug through his desk drawer until I found a marker. In block letters, I wrote GEORGIA WATERS on the sleeve.
“Wasn’t hiding it, just forgot I had it.” Dad’s gravelly voice sounded like his mind was somewhere else. With greying hair, left long and shaggy, and the chunky silver rings that covered his fingers, it was obvious he wasn’t the khaki-button-down-briefcase kind of dad other kids had. One arm was covered in tattoos: a saxophone, some music notes, my brother’s name and mine swirled up his ropy-veined forearm, just above a stack of braided leather bracelets. Georgia’s name had been there, too, once upon a time. Now it was covered with a band of music notes.
I looked at him reproachfully. I was never sure where his feelings for her lay. He probably wasn’t, either. The bell over the door chimed, announcing a customer, and Dad stood up. He looked relieved at the interruption. “Hey there,” he called out. “Can I help you?”
I heard the customer tell Dad that he was looking for a specific record but couldn’t remember the name of the artist or the title of the album. I rolled my eyes at the impossibility of the request, but Dad loved the needle-in-a-haystack hunts: I heard it in a New York City jazz bar in 1996 and have been looking for it ever since. My brother, Lou, and I didn’t have the patience to work with a customer for two hours until the exact record was identified, but Dad did.
I held Georgia’s record in my hand and glanced at the shelves. Were more of them hidden in Dad’s private collection? Since we were kids, Dad had sworn us to secrecy about who our mom was. He’d explained that if anyone found out, we’d get hounded, like other celebrities’ children. Photographers would hide in bushes and kids at school would want to be our friends just because we were related to Georgia Waters. Keeping it a secret was easy; it wasn’t like Georgia came around very often. I’d only seen her once in the last fourteen years. She’d visited when I was six, and even though Dad told us not to say anything, I’d blurted it out at recess the next day. The girls had laughed at me and called me a liar. I remember getting red in the face and stamping my feet, insisting that it was the truth. They’d started calling me Deliar, instead of Delilah.
By the time I got to middle school, everyone had forgotten my claim on Georgia. Now that I was in high school, I was just a kid with no mom. Always had been. I’d stopped trying to explain it.
The ironic part of being abandoned by a famous singer is that she never really went away. All it took was a Google search of her name and I got two million hits. I knew where she’d had dinner last night, who she had it with, and what time she left the restaurant because the photographs were plastered all over the internet. I could follow her vacationing on a yacht and see pictures in magazines of her arriving at late-night talk shows. She might have escaped us, but we couldn’t escape her.
I put the record back and made a mental note of its location on the shelf in case I wanted to listen to it again.
Or not. Maybe it would just sit there, forgotten. Like we were.
A fun and fast read for those looking for stories about family and celebrity.
School Library Journal
Nelson captures the human condition with great conviction…Spin is a fast-paced, emotionally charged read, with just the right amount of behind-the-music melodrama.
Quill & Quire