Monday, March 21, 2011
Review: The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
Allie is one of the last of a dying breed of true vinyl and music appreciators. She works blissfully at Bob and Bob Records, a haven for music enthusiasts in Berkeley, California. Allie would be happy just to live as she is, surrounded by vinyl, forever, but she wonders if there are more people like her out there, such as that cute guy who has spent so much time in the store lately.
Allie starts to reach out to vinyl lovers everywhere by starting a blog, but she begins to learn that she can reach out just within her own neighborhood as well…
I have trouble finding the words to describe my experience of reading THE VINYL PRINCESS. It is an understated novel that makes its impact not with an incredible premise or fast-paced action, but with the quirky nuances that often pass by unnoticed in our everyday lives, and I love it so much for doing that.
Allie is—and at the same time isn’t—your average teenage girl. She holds herself above the usual petty melodramas of her peers, which makes her refreshing to read about, as well as gives her a potential crossover appeal. She has a sort of wry narration and a deep confidence in her music knowledge and taste, which at times made me a bit uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but imagine that the bookish equivalent of Allie would probably disdain me for reading *sniff* a young adult novel. Ah well. Too bad I still can’t help but be interested in people like her, who seem to be so sure of themselves and their passions.
The jacket synopsis doesn’t give credit to what goes on in this book. In fact, Allie’s blog is only a small thing of interest that happens to her in the course of the summer. THE VINYL PRINCESS deals elegantly with family tensions, best friend troubles, economic woes, and the adorable uncertainty of unexpected, budding romance. Even in moments when the plot seems to stumble in terms of believability, nothing really feels disbelievingly dramatic, and Allie and the supporting characters never lost my sympathies.
THE VINYL PRINCESS is a strong contemporary YA novel that will appeal to readers who like voice-driven fiction, featuring a main protagonist who seems older than her years. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that this wasn’t published as an adult novel, for in many ways its contemplation of society and humanity will be more appreciated by an older audience. It has definitely put Yvonne Prinz on my list of YA authors to watch out for, and I look forward to what she does with other characters in different situations in the future.
Nina de Gramont (Every Little Thing in the World)
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - Ummm. I think it may be a tad melodramatic for this book?
HarperTeen / Dec. 22, 2009 / Hardcover / 313pp. / $16.99