cover image Tempo Change

Tempo Change

Barbara Hall. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73607-7

Hall, a rocker as well as an author (The Noah Confessions), is familiar with the trappings that accompany life as a musician, yet this novel about a high school band's moment in the sun teeters between glam and corny. Sixteen-year-old Blanche Kelly's father, a famous musician, has been out of the picture for the past 10 years, and her mother is a recovering alcoholic. Blanche, smart but lacking a social life, starts a band called The Fringers on a whim; the group wins some local competitions and goes on to play at the Coachella music festival. She enjoys the spotlight, but is crushed when her selfish and aging rock star dad, who has resurfaced, is not what she expected. Blanche is a religious skeptic, which lends the book some depth, and music buffs will appreciate nods to Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith and the like. But the clichéd vocabulary used to describe the music scene and the tepid dialogue between Blanche and her dysfunctional parents may disappoint. Ages 12-up.