Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Source: Bought at Borders
Cover: I actually really like this cover. I picked out the novel from the shelf and needed to read the cover flap when I saw this. I ;love that they caught the model mid head bang with those great big headphones on. I like the bold lips but they look a little too painted on. My biggest problem with this cover is after reading the characters description-- you know, the one with short, shaggy hair and who never wears make-up, the cover falls sort of flat. This isn't Allie. It's an Allie impostor!
First Sentence: "I sense him in my midst."
The Mini-review: Maybe this novel come at a bad time, but I wasn't feeling it as much as I wanted to-- I love music and I thought this novel might appeal to me on that basis.
Summer is here and Allie is exactly where she wants to be: working full-time at the ultra-cool Bob & Bob Records in Berkeley. Here Allie can spend her day bantering with the street people, talking the talk with the staff, shepherding the uncool bridge-and-tunnel shoppers-- all the while blissfully surrounded by music, music, music. It's the perfect setup for her to develop her secret identity as The Vinyl Princess. Her very first zine is about to ready print and her new blog, www.thevinylprincess.com, is up and running. From the safety of her favorite place on earth, Allie's poised to launch a vinyl revolution-- or at least reach some fellow music geeks out there.
They are out there... aren't they?
I'm more of a paranormal type of gal so when it comes to contemporary YA, I like it to have a little flair. I usually find my flair in the form of the novel using a different media to tell a story coupled with regular first person/3 person POV-- Gamer Girl had online gaming, Hold Still had Ingrid's journal, How To Say Goodbye In Robot had the radio show to name a few recently. (Oddly enough, I didn't connect this piece of information until I was thinking about this review, but it's really true) So I picked up The Vinyl Princess at the bookstore and was instantly fascinated about a blog being in a book. I really wanted to love this novel but, unfortunately, I didn't.
I felt the blog element wasn't really utilized to have maximum effect. I did get to see some insight in the blogs Allie posted but I would have liked them to tell me what she was thinking about more. It felt to me that they basically felt like filler. Kind of an "oh yeah, I have to do that too" rather than something that worked well around her life. In the end, the blog was the only thing Allie had left and it was doing well, but it just wasn't enough for me to feel satisfied.
I really liked Allie's character. She's my kind of girl-- smart, edgy, and down for anything. She holds her own and her sort of punk attitude and boyish, grunge style isn't seen a lot in this genre. For the most part, she's really perceptive. In the middle of the novel, she did start to make me mad *SPOILER ALERT* when the store she supposedly loves and is her home is robbed and she refuses to tell the cop that she knows the guy that did it is the boy she's been dreaming about and worked her over on a fake date for information about the store *END OF SPOILER ALERT*. But, she wises up and I went right back to enjoying tagging along with her. She also knows her stuff. Music is this girl's life. It's funny but this is one of the reasons I picked up this book-- because music is my life too-- but it ended up being one of the things I disliked.
I knew going in that Allie's tastes were going to be old school and refined which I didn't mind but it was the way she looked at other people that kind of bothered me. I knew going in that I was going to be in her "music club" because I'm reading her but I became increasingly uncomfortable there as she passed judgement on others for their music tastes and felt like as soon as I closed the book I'd be kicked out of her "club". Also, ALL of the music references got a little cumbersome, especially since I'm guessing the audience Prinz is writing for probably doesn't know all this stuff that extensively. For instance, she goes through some musician's entire career with what band he was in and when, and what albums he guest stars on. I would have believed Allie easily knew without ALL that proof. That could just be me though.
I also felt like the story dragged a little bit. In the first chapter, we get set up with what the store looks like and who goes in there and other characters that sometimes show. I would have rather had these details spaced out and thrown in other scenes with the store and gotten to the action. I guess I was looking for a little more suspense and got some that could have been dragged out a bit to finish the story around it and then it be done.
As always, I was a fan of the character's in the cast. Allie and her mother had an awesome relationship that I was completely absorbed in. They were close, talking through music and she actually didn't mind hanging out with her mom in public. It was refreshing to see a relationship where mother and daughter were mostly honest with each other even if the news wasn't so good or somethings were withheld. Zach was a great character and I would have liked to see Allie and his relationship move more towards something real before ending the book. They didn't have to fall into each other's arms or anything but I did generally really like Allie and wanted to see her happy with Zach. Also, Kit, Allie's best friend, was ace! She was funny and a great big ball of energy which was great since Allie was sometimes lacking in that department. They relied on each other and gave each other GOOD advice.
I also really liked the atmosphere. Allie lived in Berkeley and the author went to great lengths to explain how Telegraph Avenue, the street Allie's record store was on, was slightly run down. She described the people that hung around-- the homeless, the drunk, the poseurs-- and the many cool little vintage clothing stores and tiny ethnic restaurants. I liked pretending I lived there, going out to tiny cafes for breakfast bagels and picking up noodles for lunch with Kit.
Over all, this book was a fun read and something I enjoyed. I think I was hoping for a little bit more in the plot area, especially since Prinz established a good one that ended about halfway through. If you're a music lover, I'd so go on ahead and read this one. You'll probably getting something out of it. Be warned though, you'll want to check your your blog every five minutes!