ARC Review: Blues for Zoey by Robert Paul Weston

Blues for ZoeyPublisher: Flux Books

Release Date: February 8, 2015

Genre: YA, Romance

Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had a hard time deciding on what to tell you for the genre, really. It’s kind of a romance…but also it’s not. I know that’s confusing, but I don’t want to spoil it for you! Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

Kaz Barrett should be saving for college. Instead, he saves his pay from the Sit ’n’ Spin Laundromat to send his mother to an expensive sleep clinic in New York. She suffers from a rare neurological disorder, and both Kaz and his kid sister worry that one day, maybe tomorrow, their mother will fall asleep and never wake up.

But when pink-haired Zoey walks past the laundromat’s window, Kaz’s ordered life spins out of control. Smart, mysterious, and full of music, Zoey is unlike anyone Kaz has met . . . but there’s another side to her that he can’t quite figure out. When he goes looking for answers, he finds a whirlwind of lies, half-truths, and violence that could cost him everything he’s worked for.

1. This is a book with a diverse main character – which I loved!

I have a problem with some of these “diverse” books in that they play into stereotypical racial profiling and then calls itself a diverse book. The main character, Kaz, is half Japanese (I’m pretty sure he’s Japanese) and half from Barbados (I don’t know what you call those from Barbados!). His race never really gets brought up. I think there are only two places in the book. It’s brought up by Kaz himself when he’s explaining why people are confused by him and once from Zoey when she totally nails it. Other than that, he’s just like any MC which is actually wonderful because it’s not trying to buy into stereotyping its characters. Points for you, Mr. Weston!

2. Zoey really is an enigma. You spend most of the book trying to figure her out.

When we meet Zoey, Kaz thinks she is Jesus. She is walking down the street with her long dreads and she is carrying what looks to be a huge cross (it’s actually an instrument she calls the rood rattler). Not only that, but as Kaz gets to know her, her personality shifts all the time. There is one scene where she cons a cashier at a coffee shop out of $20 and until it is explained, I didn’t even know how it could have happened! Anyway, this book is mostly Kaz’s story but Zoey is a HUGE part of it (I mean, obviously, her name is in the title). Sometimes it felt like Kaz was a supporting character and Zoey was the main character. I spent so much time trying to figure her out.

3. The end will throw you. It really will.

I enjoyed this book well enough. It wasn’t terribly exciting or fast paced, but it was good. However, when everything was explained in the end, I was honestly shocked. I did NOT see that coming! Obviously, I’m not going to tell you what the ending is, because I want you to enjoy this, as well. But seriously…that ending! It was great. I understand why the story is not so fast paced or exciting. All of it was extreme build up. And how wonderfully it was done.

4. Kaz is fantastic. His narration is so wonderful.

I think I updated on Goodreads that I loved Kaz as MC and narrator because it felt like he was just having a conversation with me. Weston has this ability to write teenagers (I work with them every day – I know what they sound like) and it sounded like one of my students was telling me this crazy story that had happened to them. It was great.

OVERALL: three stars! I enjoyed this book, but it definitely was out of my comfort zone. It had a fantastic ending, a pretty decent cast of characters, and a great conversational feel to the narrative which I didn’t know I would enjoy. This book releases on February 8, 2015 so go forth and preorder!

Click to preorder!


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