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Beige
by Cecil Castellucci

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-While her mother is studying Incan artifacts in Peru, Katy is conducting an anthropological study of aging punks. In other words, she's been exiled to her dad's grimy bachelor pad in L.A. for the summer. The teen has no interest in her father's legendary band or his contributions to her genetic code, but through his acquaintances she does get a crash course in punk music, DIY, and burlesque dancing. Most of her education comes from Lake, a teen who aspires to punk-rock stardom. It is she who dubs Katy "Beige" (because she's boring) and drags her to concerts, guitar stores, and keggers. But Katy fears the power that punk music (and drugs) had over her parents, and she refuses to give in to it. These characters, including Katy's new romantic interest, talk like real teenagers, hip and harsh, and the plot twists subvert the usual girl-meets-guy story line. However, this book lacks the details-from teenage sign language to sci-fi trivia-that gave Castellucci's other books credibility. Besides a dog named Sid Vicious and the song titles at the beginning of each chapter, the story makes few references to real punk hallmarks. Gordon Korman's Born to Rock (Hyperion, 2006) and K. L. Going's Fat Kid Rules the World (Putnam, 2003) feature more gut-wrenching punk heroes. And even theses tales pale before the true story of the L.A. punk scene as told in Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen's We Got the Neutron Bomb (Three Rivers, 2001).-Emily R. Brown, Providence Public Library, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly When Katy's mother leaves for an archeological expedition, the Canadian teen is sent to live with her father-a legendary punk rock drummer and recovering drug addict nicknamed The Rat-in Los Angeles. Katy knows she is "incurably uncool," and does not connect with her father's lifestyle or his music; it's Lake, the daughter of the lead singer in her father's band who calls her "beige," a nickname Katy adopts. But she slowly finds a place in their world, affecting them with her kindness and "learning to be loud" so she can release some of her bottled anger. The plot holds few surprises: she gets to know her father-who really does try hard to understand her, even after she tells him "I guess I don't really like music that much"-and she begins to see another side of her mother, who was also an addict. Castellucci (The Queen of Cool) has rendered Katy as a believable character, and teens will sympathize with her as she finally starts to reveal her true feelings. The book seems scripted at times, but readers will certainly learn something about the history of punk music and, like Katy, can consider what it means to "live on [one's] own terms without conforming to society's expectations." Ages 14-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list While her mother is off on an archaeological dig, Katy is forced to leave Montreal and go to Los Angeles to visit her long-lost father. Her father, The Rat, is a drummer for the punk band Suck, and his apartment is a mess even the soap is dirty. When he asks what Katy might like to do in L.A., she thinks, There is nothing I want to do in L.A. Not one thing. Except leave. Castellucci gives a fresh spin to the familiar exiled-teen plot by mixing details of the L.A. punk scene with memorable characters and witty dialogue. Nicknamed Beige for her bland personality by Lake (a girl bribed to befriend her), Katy becomes the merch girl, selling T-shirts for Lake's band, even though she hates its music. But by the end of the story, Katy has lost some of her Beige ways, and the lessons she has learned will help her deal with a sudden change in her mother's plans. Chapter titles of punk songs and band names will give readers a starting point for learning more about the music. Consider this pure Nirvana.--Dobrez, Cindy Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.