Monday, August 16, 2010
I picked up Stephanie Kuehnert's first novel at a used book store a year or so ago. I'd heard I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE was amazing, but it didn't really seem like my thing. But it was used and cheap, so I picked it up.
I met Stephanie Kuehnert back in June at ALA. Well... kinda... I was standing right next to her, but wasn't sure what to say. "Hi. I'm Andrea. I have your books on my shelf. No, I haven't read them." So instead I say nothing. But I get to meet her again. And with Bring YA to PA 2010 next Saturday, I bumped it up the TBR.
The first thing I have to say is... go buy it and read it now. It was fantastic. I read it in two days, finishing it late last night and cutting down on my sleep time. But it was worth it. I ordered a brand new copy to get signed (hopefully, it arrives on time) because I loved it so much I wanted one that wasn't beaten.
The main character, Emily Black, was abandoned by her mother. But it's a good thing she has such an amazing dad. She grows up in a small town, her best friend, Regan, the daughter of her mother's best friend, and they are kinda the talk of the town. Even as little kids, they are expected to be screw-ups, for lack of a better word, like their mothers. They start a band and dream of making it big, mostly just to get out of Carlisle, Wisconsin.
I really like Emily. Her life is very different than mine. Thankfully. She had it a lot more tough than I did. Imagine how hard it would be if your mom up and left when you were a tiny kid? I lost my mom at 24 under completely different circumstances, and it's really hard. Emily made a lot of choices I would never make. Things I didn't approve of, which made me want to throttle her from time to time.
But I also felt like I understood Emily. I might not have the tendency to turn to drugs and alcohol, but I definitely get her love of music. (I'm not familiar with a lot of the bands mentioned, but I'm definitely going to check them out.) And I feel like a lot of her opinions were the same: her tendency to get angry over little things, to feel threatened when it isn't always necessary, her propensity to lash out, the protectiveness she feels towards the people she cares about, and her inability to trust... especially with guys.
All in all, this book was fantastic. You get to see Emily grow up in her first person narrative and hear about her mother, Louisa's, troubles from her point of view. I could gush more, but I'm trying not to fangirl anymore as a general rule on the blog. =P
How fantastic is the cover!?!?
A raw, edgy, emotional novel about growing up punk and living to tell.
The Clash. Social Distortion. Dead Kennedys. Patti Smith. The Ramones.Punk rock is in Emily Black's blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn't it lead her right back to Emily?