Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tempo Change

By Barbara Hall, the creator of Joan of Arcadia, wrote Tempo Change, an intelligent, touching young adult novel. It tells the story of Blanche, a perceptive, sometimes sarcastic student at a fringe private school in L.A. Her father's a once famous musician who left the family when Blanche was six. Her mom now owns a store after working one undignified job after another to take care of her daughter. Blanche treasures her email relationship with her "artistic" father, who indulges himself in all the tortured artist platitudes to justify his wanderings and irresponsibility.

Blanche gets pulled into starting her own band and finds new talents and challenges as they compete for a spot at a reknown music festival. Throughout Blanche smart and engaging. The plot progresses in interesting directions and the minor characters are well drawn and all able to challenge Blanche to divest herself of easy answers and idealized notions. It's a good read and goes beyond what I expect to find in a work written for teens. (I realize that's my own bias.)

It's interesting that I read this as I watched Once another work that looks at the world of musicians, who're outside the mainstream fame and fortune.

This could make a good family drama on television. One, like "Joan" with authentic smart characters coping with tough issues.

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