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Check It Out

Courier Article by Maryann Mori
Sunday, April 8, 2007

Tales of Teen Musicians Tell of Inspiring Journeys

National Library Week will be celebrated April 15-21 with the theme Come Together at your library.

Teens ages 12-18 can come together at Central Library for the Teen Talent Show on April 21. Two teens have already displayed their talents here by including their book reviews with mine. To get you "in the groove," we've chosen books that feature teen musicians.

Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements

Gwennie Page is not your usual teenager - unless you're a teen who is passionate about music. Gwennie lives with her grandfather in New York, practices her violin five hours a day, and is getting ready for college auditions at prestigious music schools.

As if her life isn't already stressful enough, Gwennie has to deal with her grandfather's mysterious disappearance, an angry uncle and a stranger who claims he was once invisible. Even if you can't tell the difference between a Bach partita and a Pagannini caprice, you'll still get caught up in the fast-moving rhythm of this sequel to Things Not Seen. (Fans of Cements' first book will be happy to see Bobby reappear in this second book).

Resurrection Blues by Mike Tanner

Eighteen-year-old Flynn Robinson drops out of high school to join a rock band. He later finds out he's only a temporary guitarist and gets in a fight with the lead guy.

Flynn then has problems with his girlfriend and doesn't know what to do with his life.

I really liked this book because it gives you a taste of the real world. The author creates a believable plot and realistic characters.

Each page hooks you and makes you want to find out what happens next. - reviewed by Renee' Helmling, part of the Library's Teen Zone.

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going

This book is about a very fat guy named Troy who tries to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. While he's thinking about doing this, another guy named Curt comes along and stops the suicide.

Curt asks Troy to join his band as a drummer. Troy doesn't know how to play drums, and he's used to other people making fun of him, but he decides to join Curt's band. At the first gig, Troy is so nervous that he throws up on stage. The audience thinks it's part of the show!

This is a great realistic fiction book. Realistic fiction is hard to do, and this author did a good job. I recommend this book to older teens because of the strong language and a few of the scenes. - reviewed by Jon Cummins, part of the Library's Teen Zone.

Define 'Normal' by Julie Anne Peters.

Antonia agrees to serve as a peer mentor at her middle school but has second thoughts about the agreement when she is assigned to help jJzz Luther, the girl who wears black lipstick and dons plenty of body piercings.

As these two completely different and sometimes hostile lives interact, Antonia realizes she may not be as normal as she thinks she is, and she may need Jazz more than Jazz needs her.

Only when Jazz divulges her secret talent - that she is a fabulous pianist - do things get better and both teens have a chance at returning to a more normal life.

This book is a guaranteed hit, and it makes the reader think twice before judging on mere appearances.

Maryann Mori is teen services librarian at Central Library. She can be reached at (812) 428-8229. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of the library.