Book Reviews of Beige

Beige
Beige
Author: Cecil Castellucci
ISBN-13: 9780763630669
ISBN-10: 0763630667
Publication Date: 5/8/2007
Pages: 320
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5

4 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Candlewick
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Beige on + 162 more book reviews
Id heard good things about Cecil Castelluccis Beige, so I attempted extra lengths to get my hands on it. A copy popped up at Paperbackswap.com before I could get to a bookstore and wouldnt you know, but its the latest in a year-long epidemic of books showing up with water stains (despite my clear request that these sorts of books NOT be sent my way. Sigh).

Still, a little water will only prevent me from re-listing the book at PaperBackSwap. It wont prevent me from reading it with a canister of albuterol handy. Water damage invites mold into a book, people!

It was hard to put Beige on the Read Soon pile (as opposed to the ToBeRead mountain range in my office). It didnt linger long, a scant two months. Maybe two and a half.

In the end, I have to say I was disappointed with Beige. Its not that its not a good book. It is. Its not that you cant feel the music in these pages. You can.

Its that it reminds me so much of one of my all-time favorite books, Fat Kid Rules the Earth, that Beige seems like a derivative female version of the same story. Oh, there are differences: Katy comes to LA, expecting to spend two weeks with her father the legendary punk rocker. She meets a cast of characters who should have been vibrant and wonderful, but didnt live and breathe as much as Id have liked them to. I left this book wanting to know more about Garth. More about Trixie, and her relationship to The Rat. And I left it hoping that Lake would become less of the cliche she is in these pages. Leo, too. Talk about the perfect jock whos into one-night stands before he loses his virginity.

Still, if you either cant draw the comparison with Fat Kid or if you dont want to, the way Castellucci draws the music for the reader is well done. As Katy begins to understand it, so do we. Its a slow surrender, a slow realization of what music is and how it operates. And why its so important to so many of us.

I loved, too, the idea of the pool as the gathering place. In fact, I wish the final group scene had been set down at the pool. It became a strong metaphor for Katys transformation. But not just Katys. Her friends, such as they are, transform also, as the best characters in the best books do. Lake grows. Garth changes, although hes still too much an enigma. I want more Garth! (I can easily see him holding court in his own book, in fact.)

In a switch from most plots aimed at kids and teens, I honestly thought there was one adult who stole the show: The Rat. Man, the visual I drew of him was of Tommy Lee, all skinny arms and legs and tattoos. But hes also a man struggling with a past that continues to stalk him, a past that he built his legacy on. It can stalk him all it wants; hes going to continue to find ways to work it. His band wasnt a flash-in-the-pan. Theyre coming back.

And still, The Rat bangs his drums to deal with his addiction cravings. He bangs his drums because he doesnt get his own daughter. He wants, he needs, he cant wash his dishes.

Here is one point where Castellucci doesnt sink into the cliche: Katy doesnt clean up The Rats apartment. She finds a way to dwell in the filth and eventually, it stops bothering her. Maybe she even grows comfortable in it.

Fat Kid definitely ruined this book for me. The two are very similar; theres no doubt about it. Overall, I think the themes of acceptance within an often ill-regarded subculture were better done by KL Going. But theres plenty going on within Beige to recommend it, also. This is one of those books that could spin off sequels and series entries although part of its magic is that its complete as is. We close the cover and wonder whats ahead for these people. And we hope its all good.

One last note: Yep, I recommend this book, despite finding it falls short. Ive been talking about it since I finished it, Ive been thinking about it. Above all else, that is what sets the great books apart.
reviewed Beige on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

When Katy is shipped off to Los Angeles to live with her father for the summer, she is less than pleased. Why couldn't she stay in Canada, or go with her sensible mother on her trip? After all, her father is Beau Ratner, the aging punk rocker known by his fans as "The Rat."

Katy is not a punk rock kind of girl. She's not even a music kind of girl. Katy's a good girl. Even if that means keeping it all inside. Even if that means hating everything to do with music--everything that, all those years ago, made her mother run off, do drugs, sleep with "The Rat," and get pregnant with Katy.

BEIGE is a fantastic novel, and Cecil Castellucci is a very talented writer. Her characters are wonderfully real and fresh. Her story is absorbing enough to be read all in one sitting (so start this one on an empty Saturday!). BEIGE is an honest, real, intelligent, and very well-written book for music lovers and those of us who can't tell the difference between the great and the popular alike!

It's a good music story, sure, but, more than that, it's a wonderful and amazingly good life story. BEIGE is one of my top picks for 2007 so far, and I'm definitely moving Cecil Castellucci's other two teen novels (BOY PROOF and THE QUEEN OF COOL) up on my to-read list.
reviewed Beige on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

When Katy is shipped off to Los Angeles to live with her father for the summer, she is less than pleased. Why couldn't she stay in Canada, or go with her sensible mother on her trip? After all, her father is Beau Ratner, the aging punk rocker known by his fans as "The Rat."

Katy is not a punk rock kind of girl. She's not even a music kind of girl. Katy's a good girl. Even if that means keeping it all inside. Even if that means hating everything to do with music--everything that, all those years ago, made her mother run off, do drugs, sleep with "The Rat," and get pregnant with Katy.

BEIGE is a fantastic novel, and Cecil Castellucci is a very talented writer. Her characters are wonderfully real and fresh. Her story is absorbing enough to be read all in one sitting (so start this one on an empty Saturday!). BEIGE is an honest, real, intelligent, and very well-written book for music lovers and those of us who can't tell the difference between the great and the popular alike!

It's a good music story, sure, but, more than that, it's a wonderful and amazingly good life story. BEIGE is one of my top picks for 2007 so far, and I'm definitely moving Cecil Castellucci's other two teen novels (BOY PROOF and THE QUEEN OF COOL) up on my to-read list.
reviewed Beige on + 17 more book reviews
I love the way Katy's character evolves over the course of the book and I love the way music is used in the book.