Barbara Hall captures the voice of a teenage girl who not only writes and performs music but also deals with a famous but absent father.
Not many people at the private school Blanche Kelly attends on scholarship know that she’s the daughter of someone famous. It has always made her feel special to know that her father is an indie rock icon, even if he did leave when she was in first grade. Blanche’s mother has had to provide for her alone since then, and it hasn’t been easy, but Blanche can’t quite forgive her mom for not understanding that an artist like her dad needs time and space to connect to his muse. So when she and her father get in contact again, Blanche keeps it a secret from her mother.
Meanwhile, acting on a crazy spur-of-the-moment decision, Blanche creates an all-girl rock band. Their sound quickly captures a wide audience, and they are invited to compete at the Coachella Music Festival. Blanche realizes that this could be the perfect opportunity for a reunion with her father. Won’t her father be proud to hear her band, whether they win or not?
Hall, a rocker as well as an author (The Noah Confessions), is familiar with the trappings that accompany life as a musician, yet this novel about a high school band's moment in the sun teeters between glam and corny. Sixteen-year-old Blanche Kelly's father, a famous musician, has been out of the picture for the past 10 years, and her mother is a recovering alcoholic. Blanche, smart but lacking a social life, starts a band called The Fringers on a whim; the group wins some local competitions and goes on to play at the Coachella music festival. She enjoys the spotlight, but is crushed when her selfish and aging rock star dad, who has resurfaced, is not what she expected. Blanche is a religious skeptic, which lends the book some depth, and music buffs will appreciate nods to Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith and the like. But the clichéd vocabulary used to describe the music scene and the tepid dialogue between Blanche and her dysfunctional parents may disappoint. Ages 12-up.
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