From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–Jonathan isn't sure he can survive in the wake of his twin's death after being struck by a Seattle bus. Telly's guitar talent and magnetism have cast a shadow that's hard for the high school junior to get out from under–how can a lifelong duet turn solo? While hanging with his “Thicks,” the tight circle of buddies he shared with his twin, he's focused on vodka-filled grapes, the immediacy of sensation, and an epic poem to his lost other half, but meanwhile he's dug himself a hole tough to climb out of in the remaining months of the school year. He has to use his own substantial talents as an award-winning poet to write the life story of a World War II vet dying in hospice and perform the principal's favorite song at graduation on a legendary guitar donated by rocker hero Eddie Vedder after Telly's death. What's more, his flaky mom bugs him to scrape and paint the house so that she can turn it into a wedding chapel. Through a scary lack of sleep and bursts of activity fueled by NoDoz and Red Bull, Jonathan grapples with finding his own singularity and sounds. By working with the blind veteran, whose story of loss resonates with and amplifies Jonathan's own survivor's guilt, he can better face his audience to perform with the grit of Telly's ashes sharing the limelight. Homage to poetry, music, friendship, and youth, this brash, hip story should attract its share of skater dudes and guitar jammers.–Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In the wake of his twin brother’s death, Jonathan, a former star student, is facing the possibility of repeating his junior year. The only things standing between him and failure are his devoted best friends, an understanding principal named Gupti, and his English teacher. The assignments that will ensure his promotion? Attend class every day, help an 88-year-old WWII veteran write his memoir, and perform Gupti’s favorite song, “Crossing the River Styx,” at graduation. Wesselhoeft offers a psychologically complex debut that will intrigue heavy-metal aficionados and drama junkies alike. Peopled with the elderly and infirm, crazy parents, caring educators, and poignant teens trying desperately to overcome death’s pull, it mixes real and fictional musicians and historical events to create a moving picture of struggling adolescents and the adults who reach out with helping hands. Darker and more complex than Jordan Sonnenblick’s thematically similar Notes from the Midnight Driver (2006), Adios, Nirvana targets an audience of YAs who rarely see themselves in print. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn
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