Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki book review


Author (Last name first):  Kotecki, Nathan
Title of the Book:  The Suburban Strange
Publisher:    Houghton Mifflin             Date of Publication:  2012
ISBN#         978-0-547-72996-1
Price: $16.99        Grade Level:         J/S     Number of Pages: 349
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P

Highly Recommended  

Celia Balaustine transferred to Suburban High at the start of her 10th grade year.  She wants to reinvent herself and not be the same person she was at her old school.  Celia is a highly talented artist, who catches the attention of a girl named Regine.  Regine introduces Celia to her tight knit group of friends who call themselves The Rosary.  Celia become part of this group and for the first time in her life, has a place to belong. The Rosary wants everyone in the group to do their homework, study, have an after school job, look sophisticate and expand their artistic horizons.  They hang out at a club on weekends to listen to music and dance.  Then weird things start to happen at school.  The story takes on a paranormal twist and every 16 year old girl is at risk of getting hurt at Suburban High.  The Rosary may have the answers to this school curse.

One of the first things to catch the readers’ attention in this series are the character names.  They are definitely unique.  The cover gives off a dark, eerie, gothic vibe and the reader can expect the same from the writing.  I think readers will be introduced to new music and artists that inspired parts of the writing.  The characters were really into discovering new music (being the perfect outlet for the author to share the music he likes).  I would like to know the reaction of today’s high school students to the music references.  Most of it seemed to be 80s-90s dark alternative music.  I enjoyed it because I was familiar with most of it…but I am not sure about the average 16 year old.  I love that some of the setting takes place in a used bookstore and the conversations about visual arts.  Unusual for a YA book.  I think this book can be classified as an urban fantasy.  There are elements of romance, mystery, intrigue and the paranormal.  I like how the story did not end with a huge cliffhanger, but hints at the future. I am looking forward to the second book.

I think this book is appropriate for a school library.  It will appeal to the visual arts/music students and those interested in the gothic or indie scene.  I would promote this book to both boys and girls. I don’t see it fitting into the curriculum directly, but it’s definitely a good pick for fun reading.  I think it’s the perfect book during a school break (I’ll put it on my Spring Break books display).  It would make for a good book club pick. The book made me want to go listen to the author’s playlist.  Overall, it was a unique and intriguing story.  I’m rather surprised that I was not able to find professional reviews of this book.