In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.
A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.
Oh my goodness, so cute.
This is the second Mary Amato book I’ve read. I’m officially a fan. She just has this perfectly engaging way of letting readers into the lives of her adorable, quirky characters. I seriously love her characters. Minerva and Fin are hilarious and fun and I kind of wanted to hang out with them. They said funny things all the time but dialogue never felt awkward. I never even had to deal with an info dump! Yay for that. And oh-my-goodness Hayes was so cute. Seriously, characters were So Great!! Everyone had depth and feeling and likable-ness and I just loved them. And Amato has a fantastic way of making her characters say the silliest things in place of curse words (“Son-of-a-Biscuit!”), or just “cursing” when they say bad words. Because a lot of people say bad words and I think it is realistic to have them around but I don’t actually want to read them. So, thank you for that.
Something else I love about this book was the actual plot. Minerva is a quirky girl living with her single mother because her father abandoned them when Minerva was only 2 years old. Or did he? I love that this dealt with real issues but I never felt like I was being preached to. Emotions just happened and no one had to explain them because, like in life, we all just get it. Thank you, Ms Amato for understanding that and treating your readers like intelligent human beings. Appreciation is flowing your way.
I will try to give a coherent review without giving anything away: I loved who Minerva’s mom and dad turned out to be. Amato took our perceptions of those that leave vs. those that stay and flipped everything completely upside down. I Love That!!! (!) And, man, did things get real there for a while. I mean like, domestic disturbance type of real. But it was so good. And so real. And so perfect. And I love that Amato went against the grain while still making these characters so rounded. I just–seriously, I could gush for hours. Love.
Another lovely aspect of Amato’s books is that they tend to have a strong musical quality to them. Minerva plays the ukelele and she and her friends sing and record music. There are song lyrics at the end of each chapter, too. AND (!) at the back of the book it shows you how to play the songs. You can even go listen to them, which is kind of awesome. I love all the music stuff. Makes me happy.
One thing that kind of bothered me was that I felt like it ended too quickly. It didn’t end perfectly, and I’m actually glad for that, but a lot of stuff was glossed over. I would have liked a little more detail.
I love this book. You’ll love this book. It’s completely clean and adorable and I’d be comfortable recommending this to 12-year-olds. Maybe even younger. And definitely older. Go read it!
Sexual Content: None
So clean!! I love it!!