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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: kellyr on August 23, 2007, 08:38 AM

Title: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: kellyr on August 23, 2007, 08:38 AM
A Crooked Kind of Perfect tells the story of Zoe Elias, an almost-eleven-year old girl who desperately wants to play the piano. At Carnegie Hall. But really, she'd settle for actually playing the piano at first. Zoe spends most of her after-school time at home with her dad, a guy with anxiety issues that pretty much keep him from being around other people, except for Hugh, the UPS guy. Mr. Elias spends his time furthering his education with at-home study courses. Mrs. Elias is the controller for the state of Michigan, and spends most of her time (including weekends) at work.

When Zoe's dad brings home a boompa-chucka Perfectone D60 electric organ! with "two (2!) keyboards, ergonomically stacked to put high and low octaves in easy reach!" and "luxuriously realistic walnut veneer!", Zoe isn't exactly thrilled. And when Wheeler Diggs follows Zoe home one day and befriends her father, Zoe really doesn't know what to think. But she kinda likes playing music -- and she kinda likes having Wheeler around, too. And when she's invited to play at the annual Perform-O-Rama, Zoe has to make a choice: prodigy or practice?

Why I love this book:

1. It rings true. Not just because I was a young girl who desperately wanted to play the piano, and then did, although I'm sure that didn't hurt. Zoe's need for acceptance and friendship is really what drives the book, and that rings true.

2. It's funny. And it has heart. And for you writer-types out there, who hear editors rave about wanting to see books with heart (without naming titles, usually), this is the exact book they mean. This and Cynthia Lord's RULES and Kate Di Camillo's Tales of Desperaux, to name a few.

3. I have an inner 10-year old girl's crush on Wheeler Diggs, who never takes off his denim jacket even if it's really hot out, or really cold. In fact, my inner 10-year old girl's crush on Wheeler is pretty much as strong as my inner 16-year old girl's crush on Tom Tanner from Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend (by Carrie Jones), which is saying something. Because Tom Tanner hits levels on the crush-o-meter that approach "Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy levels." I'm just saying.

4. The quality of the writing is superior. Really, truly excellent (or as Wheeler might say "top drawer"). So excellent that it has forced me to have positive feelings about the song "Forever in Blue Jeans," and to get misty eyed when Neil comes on the radio. Now that's some powerful writing.

So -- even though I read this in a prior incarnation as a manuscript (and before final revisions, I should add, so there was stuff here (and stuff not here) that was new to me), and even though Linda is a friend, I'd have to say that I'd be recommending this book even if those things were not true. Because this book is that good. A Crooked Kind of Perfect is a perfect kind of book.

Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: Debby G on October 19, 2007, 06:44 AM
I just finished this. I loved it! Lots of slightly nutty, flawed characters-- but all sweet and loveable in their own messed up ways. I guess they're all a crooked kind of perfect.  ;)

And the settings of Zoe's crazy house and the music competition are wacky but ring true.

Did I mention the book is funny too?

A quirky, original novel. I was smiling throughout, and thinking, "Aww!" at the end.
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: lurban on October 19, 2007, 01:54 PM
Thank you all so much.  I'm very glad you liked the book.

Debby -- can't wait to see you tomorrow at the Author Feast!
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: Kathy Q. on November 14, 2007, 09:28 AM
I loved this book, too! (You'll see how much if you look at the post on my blog: "Writing and Reading and Critique Group" at .)

In addition to all the things everyone else has mentioned, I liked the way things aren't simple. It's not just her friendship with Wheeler, but the effect she has on another boy. Although she's half angry with her former BFF for selling out to the popular crowd, she's still willing to hang out with her sometimes.

The bottom line is, this novel feels real emotionally, even as the touches of humor keep it light. It is definitely one of my favorite books for the year.

Kathy Q.
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: lurban on November 14, 2007, 09:55 AM
Thank you Kathy.  What you said on your blog is really nice, too.
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: Cana on December 02, 2007, 08:09 AM
I also loved this book! I'm crossing my toes that we'll see some major awards on this one! You can read my review here:
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: Humor Writer on February 16, 2008, 07:57 AM
I listened to this novel on audio.  I usually can't stand "listening" to books, but this one was so funny that I couldn't turn it off.  A wonderfully warm, rich comic novel that's perfect for this age group.
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: LindaBudz on February 16, 2008, 12:55 PM
Fantastic! Deserving of all the accolades. It reads as though it was the easiest thing in the world to write, but I know it couldn't have been.

I wrote a bit about it on my blog today:
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: lurban on February 16, 2008, 03:28 PM
Jiminy, Linda, I just read your blog post and I am blushing over here.  I am so glad you liked the book.  And, no, I can't finish an NYT crossword to save my life.
Title: Re: A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Post by: LindaBudz on February 17, 2008, 06:33 AM
Ah, Linda, I wouldn't have said it if I didn't feel it. :star2

And, thank you for giving me one reason to feel superior to you ... I'm pretty darn good at those crosswords, if I do say so myself.   :D