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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Review of the Day: A Crooked Kind of Perfect (Part Two)


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.

Notes On the Cover: To be honest, I wasn’t going to pick up this book when I first saw it.  It’s a cute cover, no question, but the image of the socks makes it look like a very boring book.  One involving boys and self-awareness and what it means to no longer be daddy’s little girl, etc. etc. etc.  Those books are fine and all but there are tons of them out there every year and they all blend together after a while.  And the socks are definitely accurate to the book.  You might even say they were important to the plot.  But if it hadn’t been for the flap copy on the back, I never would have even considered this as a Must Read.  On the other hand, you just can’t put a wheezy old organ on a cover all by itself, right?  My solution would be to show these same legs crossed on top of an organ in a kind of devil-may-care attitude.  Girls’ feet have been showing up on book covers a lot this year, y’know.  So while I may not think this was the best way to sell the book, ten’ll get you one it attracts just the right kind of child reader.  Harcourt, I’m giving you a pass.

Blog Reviews: So Misguided


  • Win a signed copy of the book (to say nothing of Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits) by participating in Ms. Urban’s sock-related contest.  Act fast, though.  All entries must be in by September 1st.
  • An interview with Ms. Urban can be found here.
About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. moyergirl says:

    Thanks! I needed that. And another thing I need – a really cool pair of socks so I can enter the contest. Guess I’ll have to go shopping!

  2. Ooo, thanks for the review. Truthfully, I had already seen a copy of this book, and the cover gave me the exact reaction you describe above: that it was just “Shug” in Sock Form. Now I’m looking forward to the read!

    By the way, the interview with Ms. Urban states that CKoP was originally intended to be a picture book, which probably explains the spare text. Neat.

  3. Elizabeth Fama says:

    Disembodied feet are less disturbing than the bodies without heads of last year.

  4. In defense of ’80’s hits:

    Owner of a lonely heart by YES
    Land of Confusion by Genesis
    Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

    There are many more, but wouldn’t these three in particular be funky adapted to organ?

  5. I dunno. I could see someone jamming to the samba setting of Hungry Like the Wolf. It’d be painful, but I could see it.

  6. Ha Ha Ha. Organ version of Love Shack!
    Man, I’m so old….

  7. roccomysocco says:

    I absolutly loved this book![oops…exclamation point!]
    i think that there should be a second book…where Zoe and Wheeler date, she joins another Perform-O-Rama, her dad gets over his agorophobia, and Mika likes Zoe too so wheeler has competition!!!! if you have Linda Urban’s e-mail…
    send this too her and tell her too acknowledge the book to
    F.Valencia from Guam![oops…]

  8. this is a good book but is there a setting?

  9. yes, the setting is in michigan