Friday, January 7, 2011

Four Seasons by Jane Breskin Zalben

Ally Katz is a thirteen-year-old piano genius, having played since she was four years old. She attends a private music school and practices up to six hours a day. She eat, breathes, and sleeps music, especially with very important recital coming up that will determine her musical future. As you can imagine, this rigorous schedule does not leave a lot of time for a social life. With criticisms getting stronger and stress levels rising, Ally begins to long for something outside of playing piano. A normal life, with girlie sleepovers and maybe even a boyfriend. However, gathering the courage to tell her parents and herself what she really wants is not going to be easy at all.

Four Seasons was an interesting book. Occasionally there will be some kid on the news that lives a similar life as Ally, but reading about it first hand was an entirely different experience. I thought Ally's voice was very raw, very well-written. The reader gets to know her every ache, her hopes, her confusions. Ally's best friend Opal was absolutely adorable and completely charming. Though all teens go through some sort of encounter where they have to learn to express their feelings to their parents, I am not sure this book will appeal to a broad reading audience. It is very focused on the fierce competitive life of being a great musician, with little else in Ally's life that matters. Those who do pick up the book will be rewarded with cute scenes with boys and a happy ending.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

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