I picked this one for obvious reasons.
All Sid Crowley wants to do is to play the drums. Metal, speed metal, jazz, whatever... and now that her school's most popular band, The Fourth Down, is looking for a drummer, she'll do pretty much anything to snag the spot. One of the band members is completely against having a girl in the band, but the guy in charge seems open to her joining... if she totally changes her image.
Enter her snotty cousin Heather. Goodbye ratty band t-shirts and baggy cargo pants! Hello makeup, push-up bras, short skirts, and clingy tops! Suddenly, Sid is getting a whole lot of attention from her male classmates—guys who'd never looked at her twice before—and not very much of it is positive. Well, they clearly think she looks good... but for some reason, they also seem to think that they have carte blanche to leer at, proposition, and grope her. Which is, obviously, completely uncool.
PLUS, her best friend tells her in no uncertain terms that he hates her new look and not to bother talking to him until she's figured herself out, the school counselor is forcing her to meet with him because she punched Wes Remichuk—who is also up for the drummer gig—in the face, her single father is way too stressed and busy with work to help her through any of it, and after all she's gone through, The Fourth Down STILL hasn't decided on a drummer. What's a Drummer Girl to do?
Considering all of the news about Steubenville, Ohio today, this book—with a storyline that involves a sexual assault recorded and uploaded online—was a bizarrely appropriate pick. Despite the title and the cover art, it's much more about personal identity—interior and exterior—and about finding one's limits when it comes to going after a goal.
While that sounds all well and good, unfortunately, the book is chock-full of cardboard characters—almost across the board, the jocks are sexist, grabby pigs, while the girls who dress like Heather are shallow airheads—and the dialogue is stiff and sometimes didactic. In addition to finding it unlikely that, like, every single one of Sid's male peers (minus three) could really be a gropey d-bag, I was also vaguely concerned that the storyline seemed to have a bit of a slut-shaming vibe. I never felt that it was deliberate, and I don't know if I can identify the reasons for that feeling without a re-read (other than that, again, the girls described as dressing 'girly' didn't really have any positive qualities), but something about it put my back up.
Finally, a good number of the dramatic interactions and conflicts go from 0-60, a la 90210, and the actions of the band members, especially, felt so over-the-top evvvvvvvvil that I had a hard time finding them believable. Then, of course, I caught the news: so, in light of Steubenville, unfortunately, it seems that I'll have to develop a new Baseline of Realistic Despicable Behavior. Ugh. Gross.
Nutshell: Not particularly memorable.
Book source: Finished copy from the publisher.