A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there isn't too much to worry about here. Katy's parents are recovering drug addicts, and her dad still gets tempted. There's also some swearing, underage drinking at a teen party, and some heavy kissing. Readers will appreciate Katy's transformation into a more complex -- and less Beige -- person. And teen readers will learn something about punk rock music since chapter titles reveal the titles of songs and names of famous bands. Ultimately, there is enough compelling material about the price of addiction -- and the importance of being yourself -- to make this a compelling read.
What's the story?
Katy goes to Los Angeles to spend time with her father, a recovering drug addict and punk rock drummer whom she barely knows. Katy, a polite girl who masks her true feelings, meets a wild cast of characters there, from a teen punk singer to a mermaid-obsessed burlesque dancer. Through them she eventually learns to not only like punk music, but also to start letting the world know how she really feels.
Is it any good?
Readers will appreciate the unusual backdrop: An L.A. punk scene with dirty apartments and clubs, energetic music, a burlesque dancer, and a recovering drug addict dad known as The Rat. Katy's new world seems very real, and readers will immediately understand why the good girl feels out of place. The wonderful, offbeat characters are easy to like, and it's easy to sympathize with Katy.
The plot follows a predictable path. No one will be surprised when Katy and her dad start to build a relationship (or when Katy and Lake -- the teen punk rock singer behind her Beige nickname -- finally bond). A final scene in which Katy sings backup for Lake seems a bit unbelievable, but it helps drive home the book's point: Everyone needs to find her own voice. There is enough compelling material about the price of addiction -- and the importance of being yourself -- to make this a compelling read.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about addiction and its place in the entertainment industry. Why do so many stars have drinking and drug problems? Do they have a responsibility to be better role models?
What did you think about the chapter titles that name punk rock songs and bands? Had you heard of many of these before? Did these details add or subtract from the book?
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