Thursday, August 12, 2010

Band Geek Love

While that is the title of the book I'm reviewing, that's also what we (band geeks) say about a book that obsesses over marching band.

So I just finished reading this book titled Band Geek Love, by Josie Bloss. I have a lot to say about this -- both praise and criticism alike.

Synopsis (written by me): Ellie is a senior, finally the section leader of her trumpet section. She's been waiting four years for this, to finally be the leader, to whip her section in to shape, and to show off in front of the entire band with her amazing trumpet solo. This is her year to shine. Then he shows up -- Connor -- the mysterious new trumpet player who turns everything upside down in Ellie's world, something she was trying to avoid since her freshman year fiasco.

First, I must commend Miss Josie Bloss on her use of marching band as a prevalent theme in a book. That doesn't happen very often. And when marching band does occur, it's done wrong. As a former band geek, I can safely say that this book touched upon every aspect of marching band, and got it right down to a T -- right down to the color of the polo shirts they had to wear! (Although that was merely a coincidence.) I won't get into the details of marching band, but if by the end of this post you want to read this book, I think you'll be able to follow along nicely, and maybe gain some respect for us bandos.

Next, I will criticize a few things. Basically, this plot could fit into any other group in high school -- preps, cheerleaders, jocks, art kids. It just happens to be in band. The romance. I know, I know... it's a YA novel, so romance is almost a given, and it's pretty much the major plot point in here, but--this book is supposed to be a quirky, yet realistic novel, and I felt like I was reading a band geek version of Twilight.

Now I mean that in the best way possible of course. There were no sparkling vampires, or games of thunderstorm baseball, but what was in here, was the arrival of a mysterious new boy who was incredibly hot, and distracted the female protagonist to no end. Not to mention, she just went three years ignoring boys, and now suddenly she can't keep her mind off of this new one because for some reason that no one can explain, he's attracted to her.

Now, am I the only one who thinks that is just a little bit suspicious? I for one, am not fond of unexplainable attraction. He's hot, okay, but coming from a band geek who watched many hot band geeks march around in front of her, hot guys really don't distract as much as you'd think. Whatever Connor's initial attraction to Ellie is, I don't understand, because the only thing I picked up on right away was "you're cute when you yell." (Not a direct quote.)

I just had to touch on the ending. (Not a spoiler, I hope.) I felt like it was one of those "and then I woke up" occurrences... where the author kind of wrote herself into a corner, and she had very few options out. Plus, it was too sappy for my taste, but with the style of the book, it did fit nicely. I don't think it could have ended a different way (aside from that suspicious "deus ex machina" thing.... oh yeah, I went there. I learned things in english class!)

Aside from that, there are things I will praise about this book. It was well written. I connected with the characters. I won't say that Ellie didn't piss me off from time to time, but then again, so do a lot of people I know. And she was just reacting to the drama... something I tend to shy away from. But... it was a nice, light book. It was a quick, easy, entertaining read. And, get this, I think it had a deep message.

Ellie transformed in this book. So much so, I almost feel like the book could be edging on literary. (Not completely.) It's just that when the book starts, Ellie starts out thinking she is one person. She is so sure she is the band geek, completely devoted to her trumpet, against dating in high school, etc, etc, etc. But by the end, everything she knew was turned upside down, and by the end, she realizes she is not who she thought she was. There's a lot of self discovery here, although jammed into a tight package.

Overall, it's a good book. I wouldn't pick up the sequel, but the first one is worth a read.

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