Reading the attractive book on the left was one of the highlights of my year. I was able to get Andromeda Klein slightly ahead of schedule, all because Elisa found me an advanced copy.
(Dr.) Frank Portman’s newest novel is hilarious, smart, original, eerie, well-researched, and void of teen stereotypes. It’s hard not to fall in love with skinny, quiet, “weedgie”-obsessed Andromeda, a girl equal parts awkward and hard of hearing, who gives herself meaningful (or meaningless?) tattoos in concealed places. Her parents are a little strange (“the mom” is in her own little world, and “the dad” suspects the government might be surveying his every move).
But perhaps more significantly than these problems, Andromeda’s best friend Daisy is dead. The two weren’t exactly on the best of terms when this occurred either. Luckily, the young occultist has been experimenting with decoding messages from beyond. Unlike Tom Henderson, the Catcher in the Rye-hating narrator of King Dork, she doesn’t understand why people her age are so preoccupied with rock and roll. 14th century Ars nova music is a little more Andromeda’s speed. As they say, alienation makes the world go round.
For years Frank’s writing talent has remained hidden in an (unfortunately) marginal pop-punk band. So it makes me happy that his YA books are finding more exposure (not forsaking the fact that the world can’t have too many MTX records). My own predictions are that just as many imaginative adults will adore this book as peculiar teens. I could keep singing the book’s praises, but wouldn’t you rather order AK and see for yourself? Then, after it becomes available, you could listen to the accompanying 7″ (see artwork and video featuring recording process). Doesn’t that sound like fun? I think so.
*For the sake of archiving where I’m at, this makes 35 out of 52 for 2009.