Saturday, January 3, 2015

Marching Band and the Expanding Universe

24197123Joey Kimbel is a shy, red headed musician just starting high school. When he joins the marching band as the new snare drum player, he finds himself battling bullies and jocks and falling for the one girl he’s not supposed to love - color guard girl, Alhena Almasi. Now, with a band of misfits and skater punks, Joey struggles to survive high school, find his own path and be with the only girl that matters in his universe.

Marching Band and the Expanding Universe is a story of love and pain and learning to be true to yourself. It is for anyone who can't live without music. This book is for anybody who's been picked on and isn't afraid to fight back.

*May Contains Spoilers*

High school can be heartbreaking. It can also be soul-crushing and hope-shattering. Markus Almond shares the high school story of Joey in his novel, Marching Band and the Expanding Universe. Readers bear witness as Joey struggles with becoming a high school student and all that it implies. 

Joey is a realistic character with both good and bad qualities. He's a talented musician who strives to be better. Joey is a loving character but sometimes expresses it in an inappropriate manner. He stands up for what he believes in and even goes at far as protecting others he cares about. Of course he is a high school boy. He's quick to judge, form relationships, and fall in love. Joey also begins to lie to his parents and sneak around. In his later high school years, he drinks underage and smokes. Joey is a likeable character, with flaws, but some readers may not connect with him as much as others. Though I did like Joey, the love interest, Alhena, was not my favorite character. She seemed off in some way, like I couldn't trust anything she said. 

The plot of the novel follows Joey from the first day of high school to after graduation. Readers experience the struggle of self definition and discovery in alignment with Joey as he battles bullies and fights for his first love. Overall the book is an enjoyable read. The bullying scenes broke my heart, while reading all the swear words a young teenage boy can come up with irked me. The few spelling errors sprinkled throughout the book were also a little distracting. Though, the realistic representation of high school was impressive.

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

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