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A Crooked Kind of Perfectby Linda Urban
Synopses & Reviews
Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience's applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she'll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.
But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn't the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn't the only part of Zoe's life that's off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day.
Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises — and that perfection may be even better when it's just a little off center.
"Former bookseller Urban makes a highly promising fiction debut with this sweet, funny novel, relayed in short, titled entries. Ten-year-old Zoe dreams of becoming a famous pianist (as she says in 'How It Was Supposed to Be,' 'A piano is sophisticated. Glamorous. Worldly'). But her quasi-agoraphobic father has one of his usual freak-outs as he attempts to shop for a piano and buys her an electric organ instead. How can Zoe possibly become the next Vladimir Horowitz if she has to play on a 'Perfectone D-60'? Grudgingly, she begins taking lessons from Mabelline Person (pronounced 'Per-saaahn'), who hands Zoe songbooks full of TV theme songs or hits from the '70s ('My piano teacher was supposed to be a sweet, rumpled old man,' Zoe confides to readers. 'I would call him Maestro.... He would discourage me from practicing too much and spoiling the spontaneity of my play'). But when Mabelline enters her in the Perform-O-Rama — her first contest ever — Zoe thinks for the first time that her dreams could possibly come true. Throw in an absurdly workaholic mother, a best friend who deserts Zoe for a girl with a rhyming name (Joella Tinstella), an underparented boy who blossoms overnight when Zoe's dad takes him under his wing, and Zoe's dad's eccentricities, if not to say full-blown neuroses; Urban controls these exaggerated elements through the evenness of Zoe's voice. No matter how outrageously her subjects behave, the author always sounds natural. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Sure that she'll be on her way to Carnegie Hall if only she cold have a baby grand, 10-year-old Zoe Elias's dreams hit a sour note when her dad gives her an organ instead.
An irresistible debut novel, full of warmth and sass, now in paperback
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About the Author
Linda Urban, the former marketing director at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California, now writes children's books full-time. A Crooked Kind of Perfect is her first novel. She lives in Montpelier, Vermont.
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