écoutez moi

Thursday, December 13

as we've established, i like books that like music. and here's another one to add to the list.

Debbie Harry Sings in French, by Meagan Brothers, is (as you might have guessed) obsessed with Blondie. but not just in the way that it references lots of Blondie songs, or has Debbie Harry in the title. oh no. our main character doesn't just lurve Blondie, he wants to be Debbie Harry. wait, he? yes, he.

let me digress for a moment. working in a bookstore, you get a lot of concerned parents coming in and asking for young adult lit that does not feature drugs, sex, divorce, depression, death, violence, or abuse. the list is pretty short. in fact, i could not make you one at the moment, as i'm hard-pressed to think of any that i've read. except for this one, but it's not out yet. maybe i just don't read the right books. but here's the thing. the reason is that these are things that absolutely are part of teenage life. i think we can all agree that that's true. sad, but true.

the reason i bring all that up is because Debbie Harry is yet another book that some concerned parents might shy away from. it tackles death, alcoholism, and gender identity in a huge way. Johnny is a great main character and a savvy narrator -- hip without pretension, matter of fact, and hugely likeable. the drag scenes (yes, drag!) are funky without being over the top. and the supporting cast are equally believable -- even if you don't like them, you get where they're coming from.

i have to say there were a few false notes, for me. Johnny is a teensy bit too blasé about the bullying he experiences, for the violence of said bullying, and the ending is just a bit too pat and has some weird implications for genetics. but the vibrance and earnestness of this novel more than make up for those bits, which are not uncommon in debut novels.

in other words, i think you'll like it.

recommended reading in the meantime (concerned parents beware): Story of a Girl, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Love is a Mix Tape, Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist


Teen Troves said...

Oh sounds good! Will def have to pick this one up!