Goodreads review, last edited February 11, 2012
I love contemporary YA. I love books centered around bands. And I especially love a realistic male voice in books. This book, thankfully, has all three.
Toby is one half of a two-man act playing Beatles songs. He and his band-mate Zach have just landed a gig warming up for a popular local band, but Zach believes that Toby's singing lacks passion. And also that he needs to fix his bass.
Soldering a bass is easy enough to accomplish, but Toby's track record with girls isn't outstanding. Still, things aren't as they seem - he starts to banter back and forth with feisty Michelle, and while fixing his bass, he finds a note inside that leads him on an adventure.
Right away, I was struck with how good the writing in this story was. The plot moves fast, the dialogue flows, and the humor is of the laugh-your-arse-off variety. I loved some of the quips, and I enjoyed the banter between Toby and Zach tremendously.
Also, mysteries of previous owners is probably my favorite (and least popular) trope, and I can't tell you how much I liked it here. Toby's bass was originally bought by his brother, Shawn, but the note inside states that if anyone finds it, then that means the bass guitar was stolen. Toby is naturally reluctant to believe it, but feels doubt, mostly because his brother was known for having involved himself in more than one shady operation.
In the end, this is a very good book that relies on some pretty amazing character studies and some very interesting histories. I only have two little problems, which can be overlooked, depending on how you feel about them.
The first one is that, though Michelle, Toby's love interest, has a pretty strong personality, her role in the book is not that great. She's mostly there to inspire him to do the right thing, which is a little MPDG-ish of her, but she has her own thing and pretty stands on her own, instead of serving as a tool for the hero to grow.
The other one is the ending, which, considering the build-up, was kind of lame. But it is cathartic for the characters, and in the end, we get a feeling of change, of hope for them. I recommend this.
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Note: Image via Goodreads.