I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
As I read this book, I kept thinking of Don McLean's immortal lyrics: "Do you believe in rock and roll? Will music save your mortal soul?" Really, I should have been thinking "I'm a teenage lobotomy!" HOUSE OF TOMORROW is a coming-of-age story about Sebastian, a young man raised by his grandmother, whose world is changed overnight. Sebastian's Nana is an eccentric old woman who is a follower of the late Buckminster Fuller, a visionary who believed everyone would eventually be living in geodesic domes. To that end, Sebastian and Nana live in a geodesic dome and give tours to supplement their income. On one fateful day, Nana has a stroke while giving a tour to a woman named Janice and her son Jared. Janice and Jared accompany Sebastian to the hospital which sets off a chain of events that change Sebastian's life forever.
This is a book of damaged people trying to find their way. Sebastian has led a sheltered, homeschooled and lonely existence with his grandmother. Nana has been living a lie for years. Janice is a single mother struggling to parent two troubled children. Jared is a young man trying to be normal while recovering from a heart transplant. Jared's sister Meredith is a troubled girl whose life has been eclipsed by her brother's illness. Jared's family takes Sebastian in after he is forced to leave the dome and Jared introduces Sebastian to the world of punk music as they attempt to start a band that will make them feel normal and connected to the rest of the world.
While this book was a little slow to get going, I found it very moving. The characters are so well-drawn and you feel the thread of sadness that runs through all of their lives. We all know what profound power music can have in people's lives and this book demonstrates that fact all the more through Sebastian's introduction to the outside world through punk music. The music provides a gateway from his sheltered existence into the real world. While the story is a little slow to get going, it picks up speed quickly and the characters will stay with you long after the book is done.
This book will be published in March 2010.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A really great story that will have you wanting to put on the Misfits and Ramones in the background for a soundtrack. I only wish it had been a little longer because I felt that one relationship in the book didn't get enough resolution. Overall, a very satisfying read.