Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I am NOT The Walrus by Ed Briant - Review and Giveaway

I am NOT The Walrus
Ed Briant (website)
Publisher: Flux (July 2012. 228p. $9.95. ISBN 978-0-7387-3246-6)
Source: netgalley/BlueSlip Media
Genre: Realistic/Mystery (Beatles cover band, mystery guitar)
Rating: 3.5/5
Next Tour Stop: Guys Lit Wire
Buy it:  (Amazon | Indiebound)

It's a mystery! Toby and his best friend, Zack, are trying to come up with a name for their Beatles cover band in time for their first gig.  Toby also needs to figure out what's wrong with his bass guitar. And who is the strange dude who keeps following him? And, most importantly, is he worthy enough to date a Frost? These mysteries will hopefully be solved by the time you reach the end of I am NOT the Walrus by Ed Briant.

Memento Park pic courtesy Ebriant.com
Toby, Zack, and friends live and breath around the coastal town of Port Jackson, somewhere in England. How do I know it's England? They were playing Rugby and said things like "bollocks" and "blimey, mate".   The Port Jackson and surrounding areas, down to the bus stations, were vividly portrayed. I could almost smell the water and really wanted to go visit.  I could especially picture the walk Toby and Michelle took around the park.  

Toby's borrowed his guitar from his brother Shawn, who's off in the Navy, and he needs to fix it before the show.  He can't afford to have any work done so he does it himself.  Finding the note inside the p-bass sets off the mystery. Should he try to find the owner of the note and risk having to return the guitar? How long has the note been in the guitar anyway? Being a stand-up lad, Toby  tries to right what might have been a wrong done to someone long ago.  Only things turn just a little bit scary and creepy and he wishes he hadn't bothered. 

I am not the Walrus is at times charming and at times alarming. The budding relationship between Toby and Shelly is sweet and fun. 
" I thought you two were getting along like a house on fire." "More like a house of pain".  
 I thought Toby's character was realistic and smart-alecky in a good natured way.  Shelly's and Zach's characters could have used a bit more fleshing out but overall they came across as believable, too.  I had a qualm with Rupert. Not so much his character as his character defect.  It was unrealistic based on all his actions throughout the book - showing up in different places and the scary chase. So, that kind of marred the ending for me. 

 I also had a tough time with the beginning of the book. The horoscopes at the start of some of the chapters threw me off as I kept trying to figure out their significance to the rest of the chapter and wondering how they fit. They seemed like an unnecessary element. The middle of the book was solidly written.  You got to know Toby and his absent brother Shawn.  The story moved logically as we followed Toby's footsteps while trying to uncover the mystery of the bass. Things seemed to fall apart when Toby confronted Rupert near the end.

Overall, the story is humorous and fast-paced. Kinda like Gilmore Girls as a book. Only with boys so not as pop-culturey as it is one-linery.  I would give it 3.5 copies and recommend it to the language arts teacher as a decent addition to her mystery unit.  I would also give it to students who like music as you don't find many books that cover the arts for this age group. Other bonuses is it's not about sports and the kids take the bus! Too many young adult books feature characters who have cars at their disposal!

Ed Briant on right Pic courtesy Ebriant.com
About the Author
Ed Briant grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives just outside Philadelphia, where he writes, illustrates, and creates the popular comic strip "Tales from the Slush Pile." He has two daughters, teaches creative writing, and plays the alto saxophone (quite badly). Choppy Socky Blues was his first book for young adults. He can be found online at ebriant.com.

One copy of I Am (Not) the Walrus by Ed Briant along with a guitar pick, is up for grabs.  
Just fill out the form with your name, email address, and twitter handle if you have one. 
 Open to US Residents only. 
July 10, 2012 - July 13, 2012 11:59 pm. 
One entry per person.

I am NOT the Walrus excerpt.

Check out Ed Brian't guest post where talks about a family who is all about deception. 

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