Friday, April 24, 2009

Seattle Blues

I want to go to Seattle so badly. I don't care if it rains a lot, I just know that it's beautiful and is the land of all things coffee (among many other things of course). Well, in Seattle Blues, Michael Wenberg gives us a peek into this culture-rich city during the early 1970's, while also producing a sweet coming of age story.

13 year old Maya is not happy with her mother. It's the summer of 1970, her father is missing in action in Vietnam (something Maya is firmly in denial about), and the poor girl is being shipped off to stay with a grandmother she's never met, all the way up in Seattle. Though things certainly start out rocky, Maya manages to make herself some pretty good friends and come into her own, by starting to play the trombone. Her love of music grows and grows and she is able to use this love to connect on a different level with all the new people she's met, as well as with her mother's thought process in sending her to Seattle, and with her father being missing.

The world of jazz resonates loud and clear, along with the uprising of protests and war riots, all seen through Maya's eyes. The writing is crisp and easy to read, the story enjoyable. I really loved the character of Maya's grandmother and after the first few pages found myself craving grape lollipops. :)

My one "complaint," which isn't really a complaint, more of an observation, is that I really felt the character of Maya came across as much younger than 13. The way she spoke and some of the actions she performed were more suited to a 9 or 10 year old and in that sense, I think the lower end of the middle grade spectrum would enjoy this a bit more than 13 or 14 year olds. The reading level on Amazon is listed for 9-12 year olds, so they agreed with me apparently!

I also wasn't in love with the cover, but that was a small issue. Nothing that would prevent me from picking this one up.

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.

Seattle Blues
Michael Wenberg
232 pages
Middle Grade fiction
WestSide Books
February 2009

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