If the book has a problem it probably concerns the lack of dramatic tension. For example, one day Wheeler’s mildly pissed about something and yet the next time Zoe sees him she says, "I thought you might not come back here ever." It’s a rather extreme sentence considering the two of them never ever really fight. There is some tension regarding Zoe’s parents and their presence in her life, so that may make up for the lack of problems elsewhere in the book. Yet as a former resident of Southwestern Michigan, I’d have enjoyed a little more clarification as to the location of this book. The competition is in somewhere called Birch Valley? Aw, make it Kalamazoo. You could totally have a competition there.
Tiny nibbles of complaints aside, it’s a swell read. Characters are crystal clear and their motivations make perfect sense. Urban wields the infinitely difficult first person narrative with aplomb. And, all that aside, it’s about a kid who plays the organ. That’s just a good high-concept idea right there. One of the more pleasant first-time novelist surprises of the year.
Blog Reviews: So Misguided