Monday, April 02, 2007
Caridad Ferrer's Adios to My Old Life is a finalist for two RITA Awards. These awards are definitely not my area of supposed expertise, but I'm happy to see that fun teen lit is finding a home among adults as well.
It's funny. I wouldn't have even thought of this as a romance. Not really. Yeah, there's a love interest, but that wasn't the point of the book. Not at all. The boy didn't have to be there, and Ali would have been just fine in the end (not that we don't like the boy - we totally do).
Ali Montero lives to perform. She's only truly herself when playing her beloved guitar and singing. So when the Spanish version of American Idol comes to town looking for contestants, Ali sneaks behind her father's back to audition. There's no way she going to make it in, right, so no harm and she gets some experience. Of course, under the life-long tutelage of her music professor father, Ali is far better than she knows. She gets on to the reality show and is plunged into a surreal world of tv, stylists, fame, jealousy, competition and backstabbing.
This, like The Pursuit of Happiness, isn't just a book about becoming famous, or reality tv (or with Pursuit, death). It's about family, and working hard, and growing up. It's about staying true to yourself when you have every reason not to. It's about finding out exactly who the 'you' is to stay true to.
Ok, I'm never going to roll my eyes at MTV Books again. It's really Simon & Schuster, anyway. That's two great books, and TadMack says that there's a third.
Having been so embraced by the romance world there are a plethora of other reviews out there. Here are just a few:
I don't know who Darla is, but I love her as much as she loved Adios.
Amy Garvey has a fantastic interview with Ferrer that includes the author's reaction to the RITA news.
Dee & dee have an incredibly in-depth two part review.
Not to overlook reviews by Cybil-sisters Mindy and TadMack.
Also find Ferrer on MySpace.