The second Francie met Chet, her poetic memory danced. Meet Francie Mills. She's 16. Lives in the boring burbs of L.A. Is super determined and hopeful. And wants one thing: to be an amazing tennis player. Because if something exponentially, brilliantly wonderful like that happened, like winning the U.S. Open or even getting to nationals, everything would be okay. Her life. Her family. Her. She would matter. Be part of something important. And wouldn't have to feel so unbearably sad and alone every time her dad gets drunk, _again_. But the likelihood of amazingness starts to seem impossible when Francie injures her knee...that is, until she meets Chet Jones, lead singer of the band Blues Harp Jones, in Austin, on location for her dad's movie job. Francie instantly falls for Chet, in his weird blazer and "God Save the Queen" t-shirt, sexy, genuine, funny. And she's sure something wonderful is finally happening, especially when Chet miraculously falls for her too. But the closer Francie gets to Chet back in L.A. and the more her dad's drinking tears her apart, the more she realizes the best kind of _something wonderful_ isn't at all what she expected.
Blues Harp GreenFeatured
Freedom and Relationships
'Blues Harp Green' by Nicole Schubert has an interesting premise. The main character, Francie, meets Chet, a cute and friendly musician, early on in the novel. They hit it off right away and Francie begins crushing on Chet. Even though it could seem one-sided, Chet seems more than happy to talk with Francie, both via e-mail and through phone and video chats. The novel's perspective, however, is Francie's, and therefore Chet's full intentions are never fully known. There was a lot of potential for further character development, as it was extremely hard to connect with the characters. This is not only meant in terms of Francie and Chet, but also Francie's friends Stella and Eddie, as well as Chet's bandmates.
In terms of plot, there was also potential for so much more. There were some highlights, in that some of the characters seemed to not be quite what they seemed as the story progressed. These somewhat "twisty" turns of personality were welcomed, but at the same time, there were often loose ends that didn't seem to be fully formed. The timeline also often seemed to jump ahead, prompting a look back at previous pages to see if something had happened to make the current scene relevant.
Freedom to do what she wanted was a big theme for Francie. Her parents hardly make life easy for her, from her dad's drinking to her mom's enabling of it, and she uses playing tennis and trying to go see Chet and his band as an outlet to enable herself to make some bad decisions as well. This is something that can prove very true for teenagers, and in this way, the novel really hit the mark.
Francie's relationship with new friend, Stella, despite not being fully formed, as mentioned earlier, was the best one in the novel, in my opinion. Even though Stella often seemed out for herself and herself alone, she did also seem to have Francie's best interests at heart, even if it didn't seem apparent. In keeping with talk of Francie's relationships with her friends, it would have been nice to see Francie give Eddie more of a chance. He clearly had some sort of feelings for her, and further development with this would have made for more excitement in the sense of a triangle between her, Chet, and Eddie.
Fans of crush-at-first-sight and the struggle for independence will find that they can likely connect with the storylines in 'Blues Harp Green' by Nicole Schubert.