Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review: When the Stars Go Blue

Synopsis: A dancer driven to succeed.  A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.  The summer they share.  And the moment it all goes wrong.  Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.  But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

My Review:  And yes... I did just put a DCI (Drum Core International) video here.  Well actually it's like a clip of the best moments of the competition, because I felt it unfair to just show one.  Dear lord I am a band geek... O.O

I don’t know why I continually go into non-paranormal YA books with such low expectations, but I sure need to stop because I keep getting blown away.  The synopsis is rather vague so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I am very glad I read this. 
There are so many odd coincidences in this book that relate to my life.  The MC is Cuban.  My Spanish teacher is Cuban.  Soledad and her grandma speak Spanish on and off.  I understood all of it!  (most of the time…) They made references to Princess Bride.  I LOVE that movie!  The story revolves around a Bugle Corps!  Marching band is totally my thing.  This is the first time ever I have felt that a book had been written specifically for me to enjoy!  It was that amazingly close!  Kind of freaky… but awesome at the same time.  ^.^
Soledad was awesome.  I love her rough independence and determination.  Dance is her true passion in life, and she will do anything to make her dream a reality.  She has had an unconventional upbringing, but she doesn’t let her tragic past intrude on her life.  When asked to portray the role of Carmen by cute band geek Jonathon , Carmen is at first a bit reluctant.  When shown the hard work and dedication of the Bugle Corps, Soledad realizes that it is definitely up her ally.  Romance blooms and Soledad falls in love for the first time.  While Jonathon and Soledad’s relationship grows, what constitutes a normal relationship and what may be just a bit too possessive, problems arise.  Soledad becomes annoyed with little things that Jonathon does, but she just dismisses them away as normal relationship behavior.  It truly is confusing to think about.   What is “normal” relationship behavior?  God I certainly am not the person to ask.  Anyway I won’t go too into it.  All I will say is that I believe that Jonathon is truly in love with Soledad.  Does that love justify his actions?  Absolutely not.  However, I do sympathize with him and surprisingly enough do not hate his guts.  Shocking, no? 
I was amazed by how well the author captured the essence of “marching band”.  I mean it was just so well described!  The true essence of working together as an entire unit, being able to accomplish what you set out to do, and ultimately knowing you rocked the snot out of your show is something that no outsider can truly appreciate.  Only us band geeks truly know the epic-ness of which it describes. The author did a truly amazing job capturing the intense raw emotions of the characters.  The passion, the fury, the just raw edge of competition, and fierce drive.  Beautifully done!  It’s difficult to put it into words, but there was just something about this book that really struck a chord in me.  It both stresses the importance of following your dreams, but at the same time it stresses the importance of not letting others live through you.  You can’t let people pressure you into doing anything that you do not want, and despite your dreams, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  You have to be adaptable and move past what you desire, and  accept what you can truly accomplish.   However, life lessons aside, the messages this book sends does not overwhelm the novel.  
Maybe this novel just really spoke to me because there were so many connections to my life.  I have no idea… I just really enjoyed it.  I’m sure fellow band geeks will adore this novel just as much as I did and non-band geeks alike.  It was just a wonderful story that a lot of teens will enjoy.  I hope to read further books by the author, and I’m sure I’ll adore them just as much. 


Blueicegal ♥ said...

sounds like you really enjoyed it kay!! man i still want to learn Spanish urgh, great review my dear :)