Monday, January 25, 2010

Review: Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron

Struts & Frets

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary - Music
Edition: Hardcover; Library
Page Count: 304
Pub. Date: November 1, 2009
Series: N/A

Reading Challenge: 2010 YA + 2010 Support Your Local Library

My Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Amazon.com: 5 stars
Goodreads: 3.87 (Average)

Recommended For: Everyone - especially YA readers, anyone who loves music.

Book Summary:
Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.

When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?

My Thoughts:

Forewarning: major musical geeking out is about to take place. I kind of feel like a babbling baboon (say that 5x fast, I dare you) Anyway!

Music is such a big part of my life, even considering the fact that I can't play an instrument to save my life. But reading this book reminded me why I love it so much. Like reading, it transports you to a different place. When nothing else can seem to get me grounded, music has what it takes to give me that push.

Struts & Frets reverberates in my brain; like listening to a song at maximum volume with the biggest headphones that eyes could ever see. I may not be able to tell you what cord-C or cord-D sounds like or looks like on paper, but the passion for music was just flowing as I was reading this. And it's always amazing when life combines two things I love, reading and music, and provides another outlet that I can get lost in. That is why I absolutely adore this book.

And then you add in everything in between. Sammy Bojar, the main character, is a 16 year-old boy who has a tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve and just wants to make music. So much so, that he is willing to keep his band, Tragedy of Wisdom, together despite the fact that the lead singer scares the crap out of him. But through the journey of surviving high school drama, family woes, dealing with a band made of opposites, taking risks, and finding love - he is discovering that life is messy and complicated, but it's also full of promise and potential.

In this tale of love, loss, and discovery, Sammy's adolescent voice rings true and honest. Complete with insecurities, doubt, and the awkwardness that comes with the territory of growing up. But never once does he cross that line into whiny, self-absorbed angst. And the other characters are just as easy to love. Jen5 (called such because all the other Jennifer nicknames were taken) is a fun, competent girl who provides Sammy with the solidity that his life is lacking and challenges him to break out if his shell. Jon Skovron really put authenticity and a well-versed sense of reality into his writing. Never once does he skirt the heavier issues of growing up, instead embraces it while adding that extra dose of humor that creates a very cool read.

And while I realize that not everyone will feel that same musical buzz that I did, I can only hope that you at least give it a chance. It may not be the best book ever written, but the impact it had on me is what made this book so great. Anyone who has ever felt that musical pang in their chest when listening to a song, or even those who have ever felt like an outsider because of a passion or an ideal, can - and will - take something away from this book. Or maybe you'll find that inner musical geek within yourself.

Overall consensus, Struts & Frets is a book to be enjoyed by everyone. And any book that can make The Pixies and Shakespeare work together to form a great story like this has my highest recommendation. Whether you're a music fiend or just looking to get lost in a good story, this is a book to read. Press play and enjoy the beat! :)

Links: Author's Website


brizmus said...

OKay, you have convinced me that I NEED to read this book. For serious. The Pixies and Shakespeare working together = awesomeness. I am also a huge music geek, so this book is obviously totally for me! :-)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review :)

Alyssa Kirk said...

This might not be for me but I have a friend (currently at a musical theater conservatory college in NY) who would love this. Thanks for the review!

Cecelia said...

This book sounds seriously cute. I'm thinking of getting it for my music-teacher friends...

Meg @ write meg! said...

Oh, music is so good for the soul! This sounds like a great read, and I'm always interested in YA from the male perspective -- very interesting. Great review; I'm definitely going to look for this one!

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