November 08, 2006

Music After Midnight

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

It seemed, Alex Gregory tells us, like a good idea at the time.

It wasn't, of course, but Alex is beyond pissed with his parents. His Dad, who has left he and his Mom for Alex's third grade teacher, is somewhere making it with her and not paying attention to his son. He and Alex's mother are having a knock-down, drag-out, king of messy divorces, and no conversation is safe from all-out screaming and throwing things. To top it off, tonight Alex is all alone, his best friend is working, and his Mom is going out -- on her first date.

Alex's life isn't supposed to be like this, not now that he's sixteen. His life is supposed to be about finally asking out a girl, playing his jazz guitar, enjoying life... Alex is mad, and he's not going to take it quietly. He's going to tell his Dad where to get off, for one thing. So, he drinks another slug of his Dad's vodka, grabs his Mom's car keys, jumps into the car, and... decapitates the neighbor's lawn gnome, wrecks Mom's bumper, and pukes all over the policeman's shoes.


Aside from the concussion, the stitches, the alcohol poisoning, the yelling and screaming and humiliation, Alex is pretty sure his punishment is worse than his crime. He's got 100 hours of community service at the senior center with the gnarliest old man he's ever met. He insults him -- in Yiddish, no less -- and threatens to clop him on the tuchis. Alex isn't sure he's going to survive.

And then, he does better than that.

It's not often that I read a book and laugh out loud by the first page, but when I did with this one, I knew you'd enjoy it too. It's Notes From the Midnight Driver, by Jordan Sonnenblick, and it's witty, energetic, funny, full of great vocabulary and heartfelt moments, and very much recommended. It's a wonderful ride, and I am marking this author as one of those whose work I must find and read! Enjoy!

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