Book Review: A Crooked Kind of Perfect

January 31, 2010

I was supposed to play the piano. […] I play the organ.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban can be summed up in the words of the Rolling Stones:  “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”  As the breakout quote shows, main character Zoe wants to play the piano.  Instead, she gets an organ.  So the whole book is about how she deals with what she gets versus what she really wants.  You know, like an organ instead of a piano or a dad who is too scared to drive her anywhere versus the freedom to go to parties with her friends.crooked1

What I Liked

– I loved the characters.  All of them.  They are awesome.  From her comptroller mother to her slightly autistic/socially anxious dad to her music teacher to the bully turned friend.  I was sad when the book was over because I wanted to spend more time with the characters.

– I liked that the dad was this complicated man who wanted the best and meant the best but didn’t know how to achieve that exactly.  Which could be said for all of the characters.

– I loved the emphasis on practicing your craft.  Zoe wants to be a prodigy.  She isn’t.  Zoe wants to play beautifully but thinks it should come naturally.  But her mom shows her in the best way possible (LOVE HER MOM) that it takes practice to make it sound effortless.

– “Just keep playing.”  (The musical equivalent of “Just keep swimming.”)

– I always feel funny shipping tweens but at the same time, OMG, I JUST WANTED THOSE TWO CRAZY KIDS TO WORK IT OUT.  Hand holding, burping contests, hanging out at each other’s houses, walking home from school together.  Cute, cute, cute, cute!  I wanted more middle school cutesy dating stuff even if it’s not really dating.

– I thought all of the relationships were really well handled and developed.

– I loved the resolution of all of the conflicts in the book.  All of them

What I Didn’t Like

– The book was too short.  It was the perfect length for what it was trying to accomplish, but, as I said earlier, I wanted it to be longer so I could spend more time with the characters.

In conclusion:  The title of the book is spot on.  It is a crooked kind of perfect–just a little slice of perfection, really.

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