a review of
by Kim Firmston
As the lead singer of punk band, Thrash seems to have it made. In some ways, he’s the Harry Potter of punk rock. He can do what he wants, eat what he wants, and he’s on a rocket rise to fame. His band is called Boiled Cat, which, according to boiledcat.com, is a “euphemism for a piece of female anatomy.”
But, Thrash’s 16 year-old life has been difficult. His parents were taken in a horrific car crash. His Christian aunt and uncle took him in, but abused him. His first band, Grey Phantom, stole his songs. He struggled with self-abuse and addiction. What holds him together, he’s born to do: perform.
The story begins as his tour bus leaves Vancouver, to begin the Canadian leg of a North American tour. The story is a gonzo-styled ride through a haze of difficulty: band and inter-band politics, love triangles, drugs, alcohol, thuggery, religious fanaticism, bad managers and music. Though the story is loaded with adult-sized content and issues, two things make it a young adult novel: the age of the main character, and the ending.
Author Kim Firmston has also set up a faux website on behalf of the band, setting books into social and merchandising networks. The site adds to the feel and depth of the story, and marks a growing trend in the young adult market.
Firmston lays out her characters well. I cared about them. The story delivers the vibe of a band on the road, from Thrash’s point of view, in his vernacular. Though band life, I imagine, would be a complex tangle, the plot could use a stronger arc. The story could focus more on one or two themes it raises. On the whole, though, Boiled Cat was an engaging read.
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