cover image Beige


Cecil Castellucci, . . Candlewick, $16.99 (307pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3066-9

When Katy’s mother leaves for an archeological expedition, the Canadian teen is sent to live with her father—a legendary punk rock drummer and recovering drug addict nicknamed The Rat—in Los Angeles. Katy knows she is “incurably uncool,” and does not connect with her father’s lifestyle or his music; it’s Lake, the daughter of the lead singer in her father’s band who calls her “beige,” a nickname Katy adopts. But she slowly finds a place in their world, affecting them with her kindness and “learning to be loud” so she can release some of her bottled anger. The plot holds few surprises: she gets to know her father—who really does try hard to understand her, even after she tells him “I guess I don’t really like music that much”—and she begins to see another side of her mother, who was also an addict. Castellucci (The Queen of Cool ) has rendered Katy as a believable character, and teens will sympathize with her as she finally starts to reveal her true feelings. The book seems scripted at times, but readers will certainly learn something about the history of punk music and, like Katy, can consider what it means to “live on [one’s] own terms without conforming to society’s expectations.” Ages 14-up. (June)