Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beige by Cecil Castellucci

I recommend this book for: high school, especially fans of punk music or California
This novel started out slowly, but it gained steam and definitely delivered at the end. Katy lives in Montreal with her mother, an archaeologist. Her father lives in L.A., plays with several punk bands including the infamous Suck, and hasn't seen Katy since he was kicked out of Canada for trying to bring drugs across the border when she was 7. Their reunion happens when Mom decides to spend the summer in Peru excavating, and that it would be better for Katy to spend some quality time with Dad, a.k.a. "The Rat" than come along.
Katy has a hard time fitting in to this new world - she hates messes, doesn't particularly like music of any kind, and she resents being shoved off onto Lake, a young punk rocker and daughter of The Rat's bandmate. But then some great moments happen: Katy and her father talk honestly about his addiction. Katy makes discoveries about her mother's past and makes friends on her own, and gets her heart broken by a handsome Californian. I really like the way Cecil Castellucci writes, and her exploration of the punk scene in all of its dirty, profane glory is incredibly fun. As an outsider slowly becoming an insider, Katy (labeled "Beige" by Lake) gives an interesting perspective, and her growth as a character made me want to cheer, even if it did happen a bit too quickly to be believed.
One clever thing I loved about this book is that at one point, Katy's friend gives her a punk primer - a mix CD of must-know songs. Each chapter is named for one of the songs, and the action of the chapter somehow relates to the title or the band . . . it's a glorious thing.
And if you like this one, try out Boyproof as well!

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