A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Linda Urban, Author . Harcourt $16 (213p) ISBN 978-0-15-206007-7

Former bookseller Urban makes a highly promising fiction debut with this sweet, funny novel, relayed in short, titled entries. Ten-year-old Zoe dreams of becoming a famous pianist (as she says in “How It Was Supposed to Be,” “A piano is sophisticated. Glamorous. Worldly”). But her quasi-agoraphobic father has one of his usual freak-outs as he attempts to shop for a piano and buys her an electric organ instead. How can Zoe possibly become the next Vladimir Horowitz if she has to play on a “Perfectone D-60”? Grudgingly, she begins taking lessons from Mabelline Person (pronounced “Per-saaahn ”), who hands Zoe songbooks full of TV theme songs or hits from the ’70s (“My piano teacher was supposed to be a sweet, rumpled old man,” Zoe confides to readers. “I would call him Maestro…. He would discourage me from practicing too much and spoiling the spontaneity of my play”). But when Mabelline enters her in the Perform-O-Rama—her first contest ever—Zoe thinks for the first time that her dreams could possibly come true. Throw in an absurdly workaholic mother, a best friend who deserts Zoe for a girl with a rhyming name (Joella Tinstella), an underparented boy who blossoms overnight when Zoe’s dad takes him under his wing, and Zoe’s dad’s eccentricities, if not to say full-blown neuroses; Urban controls these exaggerated elements through the evenness of Zoe’s voice. No matter how outrageously her subjects behave, the author always sounds natural. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Show other formats
Prebound-Glued - 213 pages - 978-0-606-14466-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-90024-0
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-15-206669-7
Paperback - 213 pages - 978-0-15-206608-6
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-6145-0
Prebound-Sewn - 213 pages - 978-1-61383-078-9
Compact Disc - 3 pages - 978-0-7393-5961-7
Compact Disc - 3 pages - 978-0-7393-6144-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.