Sick of playing it safe, straight-A sophomore Victoria Cruz auditions for a high school rock band and ends up falling for both the perfectionist bassist and the gorgeous guitarist.
Fifteen-year-old Victoria, a middle-class scholarship kid at Evanston Academy, a posh Manhattan prep school, is tired of her routine life and her “overprotective Cuban parents,” who desperately want her to get into Harvard. So she auditions to be the lead singer for Debaser, a school rock band made up of three diverse juniors: by-the-book bassist Levi (who’s Jewish), “sex god” guitarist Strand (who’s biracial), and rebellious, mohawked drummer Krina (who’s Indian). With help from her Chinese-American bestie Annie, Victoria loosens up enough to earn the spot. Despite her obvious attraction to Strand and his “midwinter sky” eyes, inexperienced Victoria deems him too much of a player and accepts the advances of reliable Levi even though their sparks are tepid by comparison. The first-person narration thoughtfully explores the tension between Victoria’s desire to please her well-meaning, hardworking immigrant parents and her need to be more adventurous. Although the love triangle is predictable (there’s little debate about which guy is the better fit for Vi), the debut offers an endearing, fast-paced read with a realistically sweet, if sheltered, first-generation-American protagonist.
Appealingly imperfect Victoria makes this an enjoyable and humorous music-fueled coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 12-16)