Plot Summary: Punk rock is in Emily Black's blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn't it lead her right back to Emily?
I’ve been hearing buzz around this book for quite some time now. I checked it out from the library a few months ago, but things got busy and I didn’t get to read it before the due date. Before I could renew it, someone else had requested it so it went back, sadly unread. But I checked it out again and made sure to finish it well before the due date, and I’m glad I did.
This is a very unique story, told from the perspective of a teenage girl in first person *and* her mom in third person. Such atypical structure must have made it a tough sell, but I’m glad it sold because it’s a wonderfully engaging story.
As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.
Mistakes that parents pass on to their kids. They don’t mean for it to happen, but it does, and this book is a fantastic example of that. The parallels between Emily and her mother tell us where the story is going to go. Emily falls into the same kinds of mistakes that her mother made, except for one difference. Emily is able to return home, and her mother isn’t.
I think this captures the essence of parenthood in that we try not to be like our parents, but doing just that because it’s what we know. And yet, we can take a piece of ourselves and make at least a small difference. Maybe even take a step toward breaking the pattern of mistakes that our parents made. This is what Emily does, and it was great to see the whole story laid out like this.
The execution of the story was done well, though there are some ‘first author’ mistakes sprinkled throughout. I didn’t care for the mother’s info-dump about why she left home. And some of the messages toward the end of the book seemed a bit heavy-handed. But, overall, this didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book. If you like studying the effects of relationships between parents and their children, you’ll probably enjoy this story. Though keep in mind that it's definitely upper YA, as it has a lot of bad language, sex, and drug use.