Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: Trevor's Song by Susan Helene Gottfried

Susan Helene Gottfried first came to my attention through blogger Florinda of The 3 R's Blog. Susan writes the blog West of Mars and began recording her characters various adventures on her website several years ago, giving readers a taste of what to look forward to in her novel. I never really followed her blog and so was unfamiliar with the Shapeshifter rock band. It took me awhile, but I finally purchased a copy of Shapeshifter: Demo Tapes, Year 1 (2008, 134 pgs) and Trevor's Song (303 pgs) to see what all the fuss was about.

I really wasn't sure what to expect going into Trevor's Song. I hadn't read a synopsis of the book going in. All I knew was that it was about a rock band, and probably one you wouldn't find me listening to if Shapeshifter was a real band. Heavy metal is more my husband's type of music. When have I let a little something like that stop me from reading a book, however? I was curious and so I dived right in. One thing I especially liked about Shapeshifter: Demo Tapes, Year 1 and Trevor's Song was how real and normal the characters were. And by normal I mean like you and me. They could have been teachers at a school, for instance. Only they weren't. They are part of a pretty popular rock band. Only, fame hasn't gone to their heads.

Mitchell seems like someone I wouldn't mind hanging out with--he and Kerri. Sure he has a bit of a temper, but he's got it pretty well under control. The rest of the band seems pretty cool too. Even Trevor who leans toward the drama queen. He tries a bit too hard to perfect the rocker image. Trevor and I didn't mesh right away, I admit. He grew on me after awhile--although I never stopped seeing as that lost puppy dog that needs caring for. Let's just say he has a lot of issues--both past and present.

There is a degree of humor mixed in with the serious in Gottfried's writing. She tackles some pretty difficult topics from child abuse to breast cancer. I really came to care about her characters and enjoyed spending time with them.

If I could do it over again, I think I would have read Trevor's Song before diving into Shapeshifter: Demo Tapes, Year 1. Some readers will appreciate trying the sampler first, getting to know the band that way. It certainly was a smart way to get her blog readers invested in her characters before the novel came out. I, on the other hand, would have preferred the novel first.

I look forward to moving on to Shapeshifter: Demo Tapes, Year 2 soon.



© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

10 comments:

  1. What I really like is that the characters in this book are relatively normal, and could be people that you know. It's not often that I feel that tug of shared similarities with the characters of a book, and your review has me wondering if my library might have copies of both books. Your review today was wonderful and greatly nuanced. I am not really all that into heavy metal at this point in the game, but I would love to read this book, and see what it's like on the inside.

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    1. Heather - I really liked that about the characters as well, and it drives home how celebrities aren't all that different from the rest of us to some degree, I think. The characters are a fun bunch to hang with and I like how close and supportive they are of each other.

      I didn't do an official summary of either book because I think to do so would have been too much of a spoiler, but I hope I got enough across to give everyone a sense of the books, at least.

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  2. Wow, Wendy, this was an unexpected (but pleasant!) surprise. The sequel to Trevor's Song just came out last month; if you'd like coupons for a free download for any of my books, or if you'd like me to add you to my list of Early Reviewers (e-copies only, I'm afraid), let me know. I'd be glad to provide!

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    1. Susan - Thank you so much for dropping in and commenting! Authors are my rockstars, and so I really appreciate it.

      I really like the direction you took with Trevor's Song. Breast cancer runs in my family (so far only the women). And while breast cancer is "advertised" as a female problem, it really is an issue for both men and women. I like that you took your book there.

      That ending . . . So mean of you! I say that jokingly, of course. I thought it was a good place to close.

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  3. I knew of the blog West of Mars but I had no idea that Susan Helene Gottfried writes novels and has recorded her various characters on her website. This is such a smart way to get readers interested in her books. I'm not a fan of heavy metal music but I have listened to some. I love that you desribe these characters as real and normal, so normal they could be school teachers. The humor included in the books and the themes Susan tackles makes these books sound fascinating!
    Thank you for posting about Trevor and Shapeshifter: Demo Tapes Year 1!

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    1. Amy - I thought it was a brillant idea too. Of course, her being a blogger helps too, I'm sure. :-) The more I think about the characters as school teachers, the more I think they'd be COOL school teachers. LOL

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  4. Susan is cool, so I'm not surprised that her characters are cool too.

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    1. I agree, Stacy! I follow her on Twitter and she is not only a talented writer but also a nice person--very approachable.

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  5. Sounds like one to put on my list. That's cool that the author has a blog too and smart of her to get people invested in the characters that way.

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    1. Kathleen - It is definitely a great way to start building an audience, isn't it?

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