A Crooked Kind of Perfect
What You Need to Know:|
• Zoe wants nothing more than to play the piano, but in her family, that just may be impossible.
• Zoe's dad has anxieties associated with driving, crowds and leaving the house.
• The story is told from Zoe's perspective, so readers really get to hear what she's thinking and feeling.
• Other than cell phones, there is limited mention of modern technology, giving the story a timeless sense.
• Linda Urban is also the author of the middle grade novel, The Center of Everything.
• Did you know that Linda Urban used to work in an independent bookstore?
What a perfect middle grade book! The voice of the main character comes alive off the pages, and the imagery really draws the reader into the story. It's not overly descriptive though - it's straightforward and it moves quickly. In fact, A Crooked Kind of Perfect reminds me a little of a Judy Blume book. The main character, Zoe, is easy to relate to and she just feels so real. At ten years old, she's funny, clever, determined and thoughtful. You can't help but root for her!
Zoe's dream is to play the piano, but with her dad's anxieties and her mom's work schedule, she somehow finds herself learning to play the Perfectone D-60, a lowly organ. On top of that, she's dealing with changing friendships and first crushes. Zoe doesn't wallow in her misfortune, though. Despite setbacks and mistakes, she stays focused and true to herself. She may not have the comfort of her ex-best friend, Emma, but she finds support in some surprising places. Mabelline Person, her quirky organ instructor and Wheeler, the 5th grade "bad boy" both help her in very unexpected ways.
Although A Crooked Kind of Perfect includes some serious subjects - identity, friendship, family, fears, financial instability - it touches on them in a delicate way and then brings the reader back to a safe place. The characters are charming and unpredictable, and they leave the reader wanting to hear more from them, even after the story ends. You just can't go wrong with this one!
2009, 224 pages
Determination, Family Life, Friendship, Good Book Club Selection, Music, Self-Awareness/Discovery
• What would you like to learn to do as much as Zoe wants to learn how to play the piano?
• Why does Wheeler like to hang out at Zoe's house?
• In what ways are their families different? In what ways are they the same?
• What makes Wheeler a good friend?
• Why does Zoe's dad spend so much time at home?
• Is Emma a good friend? How does Emma and Zoe's friendship change?
• How would you describe Zoe's relationship with her mom?
• What is your prediction for Zoe once the book ends?
• How does the story affect how you feel about making mistakes?
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