Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Band Bonanza

 4 out of 5 gnomes

This book was really funny, especially for anyone who's been part of marching band.  I practically had flashbacks of marching and the smell of astroturf while reading.  This story reads like a primer on what marching band and music can mean to a person.  

Elsie is kind of a brat and know-it-all at first.  She is redeemed though because she grows into a more likable character as the story progresses.  At first she kind of reminds me a little bit of Frasier because she's very particular and believes that she should be the best at what she does.

The story is fun and relatable to what everybody goes through when they start high school.  She's just pushed headfirst into the process when she has to add band camp to her activities.  Elsie is thrown for a loop on the very first day of band camp when she finds out what exactly she signed up for.  She seems to have a knack for getting into embarrassing situations and the very first day gets the nickname Chicken.  The group has lot of chants and rules that she knows nothing about and has to learn as fast as possible.  She finds herself not being the star player that she's used to being and this bugs the heck out of her.

She feels like quitting after the first day but she needs to be in marching band or she won't be able to try out for or attend a prestigious music camp that she's dying to get in to.  It's great to see her slowly make friends and realize that being perfect is not all it's cracked up to be.

Her parents are in the picture but they just seem to add stress to the already overly stressed Elsie's life.  Her father has the job that she wants, he plays French horn with the Boston Symphony.  He doesn't overtly pressure her to play perfectly but she still feels this innate need to succeed as soon as possible.  The mom is nice but not as strong a figure as the father, she's more of a peace maker between the two.  They are also both way overprotective.    

There are plenty of misunderstandings and boy trouble.  There seem to be two potential love interests and this makes Elsie plenty confused.  The reader has to wonder if Elsie will even pick a boy over her French horn, which seems to be the most important thing to her. 

Elsie grows so much as a person thanks to marching band.  The choices she makes and the journey she goes through are great to read about.  By the end she is a better more relaxed person one that would make a good friend and has a better grip on what she wants her future to be.

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