YA Parade: Musical Prodigy Edition

So the next easiest category I found in the YA books I’ve read was BOOKS WHERE KIDS ARE EXCELLENT MUSICIANS. I have read three of these. And really “read” is stretching it because one of the books was this book, from Penguin:

Title: Chopsticks

Authors: Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

So this book doesn’t actually come out until February and I read it because I know a dude who works at Penguin. So anyway, the book is entirely made up of photographs so it’s a quick read because there’s almost no reading to do. Basically it’s about piano genius Glory who meets this dude Frank and then goes crazytown until she can only play Chopsticks because her dad thinks Frank is lame and tries to keep them apart. OH WOE AND ANGST etc. Then the book makes you doubt the narration of the photos and blah blah and it was just so gimmicky that I thought it was kind of terrible. The images were nice and everything, and they’ll be even nicer in the final copies (since I saw an advance copy, it wasn’t as pretty as it’ll be later) but the story was just not even a little compelling to me. The characters were so flat because pictures and they really couldn’t be three-dimensional and it’s too bad. Good try, Penguin. I bet kids will like this, though, because angst or whatever. And maybe it’s even a bonus that the characters are barely characters, because then you can SUBSTITUTE YOURSELF IN YAY.

At the Brooklyn Book Festival, I heard Gayle Forman read from If I Stay and then talk about how she didn’t have a love triangle in her book because love triangles are lame and why do young adult books always have those? I was intrigued, so I read:

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

So in this one, cello genius Mia gets in a horrible car accident that kills off her parents and she’s all kinds of in a coma. But lo! She can see everything going on around her, like her awesome (guitar genius) boyfriend, Adam, coming and being sad and her other family coming and being sad and she basically thinks about her life as it was and how it will be if she wakes up and it’s really good and deep for a YA book, all talking about things that matter like what it means to be alive and whatnot. So read this one!

After reading that I was like, YAY let’s read the sequel:

Title: Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman

And it was such a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well-written. It’s told from hottie guitar-player Adam’s POV and he’s going on and on about how hard it is to be a super famous guitar player since his band, Shooting Star, took off. (Sorry Gayle, but that is a terrible band name.) It is SO ANGSTY and SO OBNOXIOUS. Again, teens are into that kind of thing sometimes, but I don’t listen to Evanescence (anymore) and I don’t want to hear all the whinyness about how hard life is when you are famous and rich when I am worrying about real jobs and paying the rent and whatever. Or ever, really, because I’m just not into angsty teen books. SO READ IT IF YOU ARE, it’s still a good book, just not my thing. Also, there were some great Mia/Adam moments that made me keep going, so there are those, too. Just. Not as good as the first.



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