Katy gets sent from Montreal to L.A. to spend part of the summer with her punk rocker dad, Beau “The Rat” Ratner, while her mom is in Peru on an archaeological dig. Katy hasn’t seen her dad since she was a toddler, and isn’t excited — she hates music, she’s a clean freak and she really misses her mom. The Rat’s band never made it big, and he’s only been sober and clean for a few years. While in L.A. she learns about her now-stable mom’s crazy groupie past as well as a few things about herself (duh, it’s a YA book). Along the way, she meets Garth Skater, a dorky-but-sweet skater boy who’s a huge fan of her dad’s, Lake Suck, the daughter of her dad’s bandmate who’s way too cool for school (and Katy) and has her own band, and Leo, a hot swim team god who lives in her dad’s apartment complex.
BFF Charm: Yay
So, Katy totally got on my nerves at the beginning. GF is just WAY too uptight for me! I just wanted to sit her down and FORCE her to open up with all the stuff that’s going on in her head, and tell her she’d be cool if she’d just re-LAX (And seriously? Give the Dead Kennedys a chance). All the auxiliary characters — you know, the ones Katy’s too beige and annoyed and self-absorbed to appreciate — are actually rockin’, and I’d LOVE to have Trixie as my dad’s girlfriend! I mean, if my parents were divorced and my dad was The Rat, or at least a little more punk rock than he is now (and that’s like saying I wish my dog was a little more live oak tree, or something). By the time Katy really owns her beige-ness in a really rad scene at the end, I just wanted to give her a million squee-ing hugs and make her my new BFF.
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
There’s a tiny bit of 1-2 I gotta crush on you, and a makeout scene, but none of it really does anything. the big relationship is Katy’s beige-as-boring self, and her beige-the-freethinkin’-punk self. Also key are her emerging friendships with Garth and Lake.
Talky Talk: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Y’all, I like punk music. I wouldn’t call myself an expert or anything, and I don’t like it all (nor do I feel like I have to), but when I first started reading this book I thought, “Man, am I really such a music loser?” But then I realized I DID know all the bands mentioned and almost all the songs, so it was cool. But don’t worry — if you aren’t into punk, you won’t feel like a poser or anything. You’ll just feel like Katy. Plus, Cecil Castellucci (y’all have GOT to check out her totally rad graphic novels P.L.A.I.N. Janes and Janes in Love, by the way, about a group of misfit girls all named Jane who start a guerrilla art club and doin’ art an’ stuff in public spaces in their town) … where was I? Oh yeah, Cecil Castellucci has a totally straightforward style that captures the angst (oh, the angst) without it being too whiny or condescending. And she makes the grownups cool, too (man, I totally have a girl-crush on Trixie-the-burlesque-dancer/Rat’s girlfriend, by the way).
Bonus Factor: Duckie
Garth’s adorable, and even though he’s not romantically into Katy, they’re a great duo.
Bonus Factor: Iona
Ok, ok, two Pretty in Pink bonus factors, but Trixie would TOTALLY remake her old prom dress (or burlesque outfit) to give Katy the hottest dress for prom ever. Plus, she’s full of great advice and always willing to blow off work to listen when Katy’s ready to talk.
Relationship Status: Total Groupie
I really really liked this book. Like, if it was ever in town, I’d totally go to the show and try to get backstage, and I might tattoo “BEIGE” on my knuckles if I got too drunk. But let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a lasting, quality relationship.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Beige is available now.