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I have a short confession: I live one town over from the author and in high school, I too was interested in marine biology, only Cameran Sassman became one. She has multiple science degrees, and is a talented writer, judging from this first YA novel. The book is loosely based on Sassman’s own life as a New Jersey teenager and the music scene that inspired this book.
At first, the main character of Mimi seems a bit flaky. She jumps from one relationship to another and can’t seem to make up her mind about the men in her life. I went from being indifferent to this character to feeling terribly sad about the choices she made and how it can bend your life’s path in different directions. It also painfully reminded me of my own ineptitude as a teenager and it wasn’t always comfortable reading about the mistakes we all make in life.
Mimi is heavily involved in the high school band and has a small group of great friends that are there for her throughout the novel. The one relationship she sometimes takes for granted is with her band friend Jaxx, who obviously loves her. Mimi is so afraid of ruining their perfect friendship that she keeps going to other guys, and it sets up tension for the follow-up novel. Mimi and her friends care a bit too much about their appearance, but that is the case for most teenagers. That awkward, self-conscious state of being is certainly something I remember. The excitement of seeing bands nobody else knew about was always a trip, and Mimi and her pals drove to a number of punk shows that the author might have attended herself as a NJ teenager. Or how about the excitement of finding cool, obscure records at indie record stores? I used to drive many miles in search of hard to find releases. Sassman does a great job describing that scene, and even if I didn’t follow the punk scene, the rest of it resonates.
There is so much difficulty growing up, and even though my own coming of age was many decades ago, I could relate to how confusing it was dealing with hormones and all the attendant baggage that comes with these changes. The book is a quick read and I definitely recommend it for those who want a taste of those 80s scenes or those who just want to remember those glory days for independent music.
Catch up with the author on her web site.