This was a Book of the Month Club pick for me and I am so happy that I just went with my gut. This book has the potential to be your run of the mill YA novel but really it transcends that and instead looks at family and the dynamics that come with that but the heart of the novel is the relationship between Phoebe and her sister Luna. Phoebe is our narrator and she comes from rock royalty. Her parents are Meg and Kieran Ferris who were part of a Nirvana like 90’s alt rock group. They got famous and then split at the height of their career when Meg wanted to leave the spotlight and raise her daughters in more normal circumstances. Kieran did not agree and he sort of slowly fades from their lives and continues to pursue music. Luna, the oldest daughter, is an up and coming indie rock princess trying to find her own way. This leaves Phoebe, a rock daughter who doesn’t sing or play an instrument but she can write- and she writes gorgeous poetry.
I was a 90’s kid back in the day so this brought me back a lot looking at the music scene and the family felt very real to me. Meg and Kieran felt completely believable in their stances and choices and the whole “used to be famous rocker” thing didn’t feel forced or gimmicky to me. They make a lot of references to various other rockers of the era and that was maybe the only part that felt a little awkward to me especially delving even slightly into the Kurt Cobain mythology of which there is much.
Phobe was interesting as she is at a pivotal age trying to decide who she is going to be as she enters adulthood and the various forces who are trying to influence her choices. The book takes place over the course of a one week trip to New York City which was also an interesting way of condensing our view. Interspersed throughout are also chapters that work backward from the end of Meg and Kieran’s relationship to the beginning. If you’re looking for a coming of age tale without the traditional gimmicks and tricks, this one is for you. I also appreciated how it doesn’t pander to teenagers and it truly is an unflinching look at love, fame, greed, and following your dreams no matter how crazy they seem.