THE OPPOSITE OF MUSIC by Janet Ruth Young

THE OPPOSITE OF MUSIC

Age Range: 14 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

In some ways, Young’s creatively constructed debut harks back to an earlier era, when problems often took precedence over people in YA novels. Billy is the narrator, a suburban Bostonian teenager whose artist father is showing signs of depression when the story opens. After Bill, Sr. responds negatively to medications prescribed by a psychiatrist, Billy’s mother decides to treat her husband at home, recruiting Billy to work with his father everyday after school. Young’s portrait of how the disease and its competing and often contradictory treatments (including electroconvulsive therapy) quickly consume the family is a strongly convincing element. Her combination of conversational scripts, monologues, free verse, fictional articles and traditional narrative will undoubtedly impress many readers. What’s missing here is the emotional life of Billy and the other family members as they try to cope with Bill Sr.’s devastating condition. The smart, music-loving teen’s statement that his father’s illness has given his life meaning seems tacked on to make up for this omission, especially since so little is known about Billy before his father got sick. What rings true is a lewdly funny scene in the school cafeteria ensues, and when the guilt-ridden son ditches his father to attend a concert with a friend. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2007
ISBN: 1-4169-0040-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2007




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