After losing his mother, a bereft middle school boy decides to form a band.
Terence Kato has had a horrible year: his mother has died; his dad is depressed and spends most days in bed; and he’s had to leave his exclusive private art school for the public one. At Franklin Middle School—where music is an extracurricular—Terence decides to form his own band, although, constrained by his grief, he is determined not to make actual friends. He meets Eddie, a girl with “dark skin, short hair, and a suspicious golden piercing in her nose.” Eddie is a singer, and over time, she helps him meet the other members that eventually compose their band, the PA Quintet. The group decides to enter a battle-of-the-bands contest only to discover that their competition is none other than Terence’s old classmates from his former school. Terence’s pain is palpable but only on a surface level; Brezenoff’s tale never takes a deep dive into any great character development and keeps readers at arm’s length with its third-person, present-tense narration. This aside, the plotting is light and breezy, and while predictable, the story is comfortably uplifting. Music fans will delight in (and most likely run to look up) the dizzying array of musicians mentioned. Though Terence has a common Japanese surname, there is little sense of Japanese identity in the book.
A cursory examination of grief that culminates in a feel-good read. (Fiction. 9-13)