Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Drummer Girl by Karen Bass- Review

Last summer I had the pleasure of reading Karen's book Summer of Fire, which I loved, so I was overjoyed when her latest book popped through the mail slot a week or so ago from the ever charming folk of Coteau Books (have I ever mentioned how they're from my home province of Saskatchewan?).

Sid lives life to the beat of her own drum, quite literally as she's a great drummer, until faced with the choice of being a drummer in the band she's always wanted to be a part in or be her own, very unique, person.  As the chance to join the band is only a small makeover away she decides to go for it.  But the sexual politics that come with being a sudden convert to the girly girl look turn out to be more than Sid has bargained for.  Between her best friend loathing the new her, the awesome new boy she's met and the suddenly cut throat competition to be the newest drummer for the band, Sid has gotten way more than she bargained for.

Like with Summer of Fire I love that Karen broaches a multitude of difficult subjects with her YA fiction. Sid has to deal with sexual politics from being presumed gay to over the top sexual harassment when she tries to prove she's not.  Although the gay issue is only lightly touched upon I'm glad to see someone write an enjoyable story that talks a little more in depth about harassment and assault and what qualifies.  There are more than enough YA books floating around out there with some seriously slipping morals as far as personal privacy is concerned (I can read you mind, I can sneak into your house and watch you, I can seep into your soul and experience you- all of which are done in fits of "love"-i.e.- desire, without consent).  It's more than time someone sits down some YA readers and explains to them that your body is your temple, and completely under your jurisdiction, no matter how romantic it seems when a characters is violated in some paranormal romance.

Despite some of the deeper issues broached, Drummer Girl is an engrossing and enjoyable story.  The ugly duckling turn around will appeal to any teen who's struggled to be more average in the high school world where being unique or unusual are particularly hard crosses to bear.   I look back sometimes and wonder how it was I so unflinchingly threw myself under the unique buss and survived.  I suppose I spent so much of High School trying not to be like everyone else that somehow I missed how it made me the odd one out.  Presumably you need a certain level obliviousness to survive it, which Bass definitely gives Sid in droves, and I love watching the struggle for Sid to find an equilibrium for herself.

But Bass's full cast of characters is terrific, not just Sid, I especially love Brad the goofy love interest.  I would happily read more about them all and would love to see more of what happens to each of them.

Do a young Twilight fan in your book circle a service and add Drummer Girl to their TBR pile.  And make sure to grab yourself a copy while you're at it.

Drummer Girl, By Karen Bass
Published by Coteau Books, September 2011
Pre-Order it today


  1. Yay! The books sounds really interesting, so happy to see the issues addressed, and addressed well!

  2. Looking forward to Book Launch on October 1 at 1:30 in the Rotary Community Room, Grande Prairie Public Library.

  3. Hi Rhiannon,
    I'm thrilled that you liked the book. It was fun to write so it's great to know it was fun to read.
    -Karen Bass

  4. Yvonne, how I wish I was still in the Prairies! That sounds like fun!
    Karen, it was great as always! You've got quite the touch, I hope the kids who hang out at your library appreciate how talented you are!

  5. It's so refreshing to see a YA book come out and examine these ideas - it's rather worrying that the YA market is selling the ideas to girls that respect is as important as love. Sid seems like a really interesting protagonist.

  6. Sorry, failed to read over what I'd written! That should have been "the YA market is selling the idea to girls that respect is nowhere near as important as love."

    1. I'm glad you fixed that! Perplexed, I'd read your sentence over a couple of times,

  7. Hi Rhiannon. I linked to this review on the front page of my website. Thanks again! (ps: I left the library in June to, hopefully, write full-time.)

  8. yay! Congrats Karen! I hope that means there's a lot more goodness coming!