It’s almost February and we’ve successfully completed our January Cabeswater Reading Challenge! We’re very excited and we can’t wait to share with you our thoughts about the books that we chose.
Read a book whose main character is a musician/plays an instrument
What book did you read and did you enjoy it?
Dre: I read Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere and I actually did enjoy it. To be honest I didn’t have that many expectations since it did seem like any other typical YA book. But it was actually a really good read and I don’t regret picking this one. The main reason why I chose this book was because I’ve read Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun and I knew for a fact that I was already a fan of her writing style. Although music wasn’t the main theme of the book, it was definitely present all throughout.
Dee: I picked up Mitch Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto straight after finding out about the prompt. I’ve been wanting to read Albom for a long time now so this reading challenge was a great opportunity to start. Saying I enjoyed it would be putting it short. The book blew my effing mind.
What were some of your favourite things about the book?
Dre: The writing, definitely. I liked how Nelson wasn’t trying too hard to make Lennon (not a fan of the name) a likeable character and yet somehow we find ourselves rooting for her in the end. My favourite thing, however, was the way she explored grief in this book. Sometimes you wanna hurl the book to the other side of the room because of Lennon’s stupid mistakes that were caused by her grief. Sometimes you wanna hug it against your chest and tell her it’s gonna be okay in the end.
Dee: It put you through a roller coaster of emotions, didn’t it?
Dre: Yeah, it’s the kind of book that really makes you feel like you’re going through what the character is facing. WHich is terrible, by the way, because in this story the character just lost someone she really loved. But props to Nelson for really bringin the story to life. Did you go through a roller coaster too, Dee?
Dee: Oh wow, I don’t even know where to begin. There are a lot of things that made this book so special. The plot, for one, is not a linear timeline but it jumps around. That in itself puts me as the reader on a roller coaster. The narration for every chapter switches between Music (yes, Music) and recitations in first person point-of-view by people who knew Frankie Presto. Here’s where things get interesting: Albom actually used the names of real-life musicians (a.k.a. they are not fictional names) and intertwine the story of their lives with that of Frankie Presto’s. I’m talking about icons like Elvis Presley. This book is not just another YA fiction. You are carried to believe that Frankie Presto was real.
What about your least favourites?
Dre: I don’t wanna give away too many spoilers but there’s a character in the book, Rachel, who is the most popular girl in school and she starts bullying Lennon because the gorgeous new student, Joe, talked to her like once. Do I even need to explain why I was annoyed by this? Also, the pacing. Yes, overall, the book was great. But there were some parts that almost made me want to give up on it because it was so slow.
Dee: Since a majority of the story is narrated by Music, the book picked up an omniscient point of view. Whilst it is appropriate for the plot, I never quite fancy an omniscient voice because it does not give me a look into our main character’s extensive thoughts and feelings. As a result, I could not form an attachment with Frankie the way I do with the characters of other novels. I would have loved to be able to see inside Frankie’s mind and heart.
How did the book stand out to you and would you recommend it to anyone?
Dre: I tend to read books that have some element of fantasy to it. So since this book deals with issues that we can face in our everyday lives it was definitely a new experience for me. Also, I liked the poems that Nelson includes before each chapter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in any of the books that I’ve read. Probably, I would recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a slow, chill read to let your brain rest a little.
Dee: This book is all I talk about to everyone I have met since I finished reading it. It’s not just a story, it’s an experience. Albom went as far as releasing an official soundtrack as a company to the book. This is the first time anyone has done that! Listening to the songs in the album, I wasn’t singing along to just any musician. I was singing to the Frankie Presto. I mean, what?
Look out for next month’s challenge prompt and feel free to join us in February!