Thursday, May 3, 2018

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion

What looks like an insta-love romance becomes something else entirely as lies accumulate on both sides of Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion. On a school trip to Manhattan, Dominique falls for Ben when his music conservatory performs at Carnegie Hall. To win his love, Dom pretends to be a wealthy NYU student instead of a high school junior from a gritty New Jersey suburb. Ben, a musical prodigy, has secrets of his own.

This YA novel gripped me from the opening scene to the perfect last line. Both of the teen protagonists have creative passions and natural talent, however Dom had to quit dance to help her mom keep her laundromat afloat. Ben has a supportive family and all the privileges money can buy, but he struggles under the pressure to live up to his potential in an ultra-competitive atmosphere. Both kids tell self-destructive lies to survive. Their stories are told in alternating point-of-view chapters, allowing the reader to piece the true narrative together. This engaging book is structured like a classical sonata with jazz riffs.

The main characters were well developed but only superficially diverse. Since Dom's Ecuadorian immigrant dad deserted her years ago, she can't speak Spanish or understand her cultural heritage. There is a throw away line about Passover towels (huh?) in Ben's apartment, but Jewish identity doesn't shape his character or the narrative. As a Jew with Hispanic relatives this lack of depth disappointed me. It's still better to have some diversity than none, and strong voices and realistic flaws fleshed out the characters.

I loved how this contemporary novel explored socio-economic differences, but some of the financial details were unrealistic. A low income student would get free lunch at public school and food stamps at home (only coupons were mentioned), and a credit card would be frozen if a cardholder started making unusually large purchases rapidly. However, these were minor details that didn't detract much from the story overall. If you enjoy unreliable narrators, mismatched romance, and music, check out this impressive debut.

It's been a late spring in Maine: freezing on Tuesday morning and then high 80s F yesterday! Only Scout misses the snow.

Reviewer's Disclosure:
I'm friends with the editor of this novel, but glowing early reviews on Goodreads and in Entertainment Weekly made me decide to read it. When I was unable to find a copy at independent bookstores in Maine, I purchased the ebook for my Kindle. The hardcover was released last month.

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@Barrie Summy

12 comments:

Jody Feldman said...

Great observations, Sarah! And yet, this does look worthwhile.

wheelerph said...

Hmm, they should have had you read it while it was still unfinished! Sounds like a wonderful book despite your reservations, though.

Sarah Laurence said...

Jody and Wheeler, it was indeed a book well worth reading. When reviewing a book, I analyze both its strengths and weaknesses to help match the book with the best readers. As a writer, I also learn from what works and doesn't work as well in books that I read. There has been a recent push in the industry to make kid lit more diverse, and I applaud authors who stretch beyond their own experiences to be more inclusive, but it does take more research and sensitivity readers are helpful too.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Glad you liked the book despite the few flaws you pointed out.

Powell River Books said...

I am currently reading a science fiction book that is using alternating chapters, but for points in time. Like your book, the reader has to piece the story together. I kind of like it. Keeps me guessing. Thank for stopping by and commenting on my review about Yvonne Maximchuk's memoir. Being a author and artist yourself, she must have seemed a kindred spirit. - Margy

Barrie said...

I love unreliable narrators! I think this would be a good book for my daughter. And, if it's in the house, I'll read it, too. :) Thanks for reviewing!

Sarah Laurence said...

Linda, it had very few flaws for a debut.

Margy, the narrative style was my favorite part of the book. I can see that would work well in a sci fi book too. Yes, it's nice to see there are other artist/writers out there.

Barrie, great! I'd love to hear her reaction and yours. Thanks for hosting the book review club!

Lucy said...

Sounds interesting. Thanks for reviewing.

P.S. Love the picture of Scout. :)

troutbirder said...

Interesting. For me alternating narrators is ok. Time jumping back and forth not so much...

thecuecard said...

It sounds a little like a Nicola Yoon teen romance story eh? Despite the flaws you note, it sounds quite good. nice review.

Anthony Lamport said...

Ahh, the photo. Scout's head is mirrored by the shape of the two small bays in the background!
Great photography there.

Jenn Jilks said...

I'm just getting caught up!
Great review. I really think it helps to be a better writer by such reviews. We must trade books sometime!!!