Saturday, June 07, 2008

Book Review: Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss

48 Hour Challenge Book 4
Started: Saturday, 9:02 pm
Finished: Saturday, 10:52 pm

Book: Band Geek Love
Author: Josie Bloss
Published: July 1, 2008

It’s Ellie’s senior year. She’s the trumpet section leader and she has a fabulous solo. It’s the year she’s been looking forward to her entire high school life. It’s going to be perfect.

That was the plan, anyway.

Suddenly, she’s got a gorgeous sophomore boy in her section that she can’t seem to stop thinking about. Plus, her two best friends are acting weird all of a sudden, and if those aren't bad enough, the boy who wrecked her life back in freshman year is back in town, screwing with her head again. What happened to her perfect year?

In a lot of ways, this is a risky book. For one thing, band members are not exactly the most revered creatures in any high school. (Trust me; I went to a school with a nationally honored marching band and they were still considered the ragingest geeks to walk the halls.) Bloss not only brings us intimately into this world, she feels no need to normalize it. This is not a book where the band geek becomes accepted by the popular crowd. It takes place wholly within the world of marching band.

Then there’s the younger-man storyline. I think most authors would have gone for Nathan as Ellie’s love interest instead of Conner. Sometimes I had a hard time believing that a high-school sophomore would be as mature and sensitive as Conner, but his musical background (can’t say more than that for spoilers) helped me believe he would be different than the expected fifteen-year-old.

Finally, there’s Ellie herself. To be perfectly honest, that’s where I had the most trouble with this book. She’s extremely difficult to like: closed-off, rigid, hard-shelled, paranoid even. True, Ellie acknowledges all these faults in herself, and sure, I know why she acts and feels the way she does, but it didn’t stop me from being exasperated at some of her dumber or nastier moments.

Still, this is a realistic, intriguing story about a young woman experiencing a seismic upheaval in her self-perception, and becoming a better person for it.

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