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The House of Tomorrow Hardcover – March 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Sebastian Prendergast, the teenage narrator of Bognanni's funny and unique debut, lives in Iowa's first geodesic dome with his grandmother, a devout follower of futurist philosopher Buckminster R. Fuller. But when Nana has a stroke, Sebastian is thrown together with Janice and teenageJared Whitcomb, who were touring the home when Nana was stricken. Soon, Sebastian and Jared form an unlikely bond via the great teenage tradition of punk rock, starting their own band despite the objections of everyone around them and Sebastian's lack of musical ability (holding a guitar for the first time, Jared says, Strum, and Sebastian asks, What do you mean?). And while Jared succeeds to some degree in socializing Sebastian—teaching him about music, smoking, and curse words—Sebastian ends up getting more than he bargained for when the two get caught up in Whitcomb family drama. The boys here don't come of age—girls are just beginning to exist and lifelong struggles are only taking root—but their connection is an honest, noisy, and raucous look at friendship and how loud music can make almost everything better. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

In this heartbreakingly funny and deeply compassionate story of self-discovery and family bonding, debut novelist Bognanni explores the unlikely friendship of two social outcasts and their desperation to be heard. Since his parents’ untimely death, 17-year-old Sebastian Prendergast has lived in semi-rural Iowa with his eccentric grandmother in a geodesic dome. Having homeschooled Sebastian in the teachings of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller, his grandmother deems Sebastian humanity’s next savior. But when she suffers a stroke, Sebastian must leave the comfort of his bubble world to save her from her obsessive, self-destructive plans. Sebastian soon comes under the care of the Whitcombs—the downtrodden, husbandless mother, Janice; the beautiful but bratty Meredith; and sickly, sarcastic Jared, who introduces Sebastian to punk rock and brutal honesty. As Sebastian pieces together the perplexities of domestic life, he discovers the nature of family trust, love and heartache, and healing friendship. Tightly plotted, and as fun and lively as a Ramones tune, Bognanni’s timely novel perfectly captures teenage angst in all its raw and riotous discomfort. --Jonathan Fullmer

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Product Details

  • Series: AWARDS: ALA: Youth Media Award Winners 2011
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156090
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alayne VINE VOICE on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a change of scenery from your regular reading, something refreshingly innocent, humorous, charming, with a twinge of sadness, but overall hopeful and unique, than The House of Tomorrow is what you're looking for. Teenager Sebastian Prendergast lives in a glass dome on top of a hill overlooking a town in Iowa. Yes, I said it, Iowa. An unlikely place for a boy to find himself through punk-rock music, but the Minnesota girl in me loves it.

Parentless at a young age, Sebastian lives with his aging grandmother who homeschools him on the teachings of dead philosopher-architect Buckminster Fuller. Sebastian's grandmother has grand plans for him, somewhat new-age (though she hates the word) worldly plans. And her teachings and stories are all he's ever known. When his grandmother has a stoke while giving a tour of their dome, Jared is accompanied to the hospital by the Whitcomb family: single mother Janice, sarcastic son Jared, and icy damaged daughter Meredith. On that day, his whole world changes. When his grandmother kicks him out of the dome for having email conversations about punk-rock music with Jared, Sebastian goes to stay with the Whitcomb family. In the course of his weeks with them, he and the Whitcombs are changed and their worlds will never quite be the same.

Peter Bognanni's debut novel made me laugh more than once. The writing quality is good and appropriately simplistic, it's not trying to make you smarter, or make you feel stupid. It's trying to move you, and it will. The characters are crisp and realistic, images of them poured off the page as I read, and I can imagine this as a wonderful film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. When I first started The House of Tomorrow, I thought it was going to be another story of a homeschooled teen raised by a new-age, out-of-touch grandmother who is forced into the "real world." It did start out that way. Sebastian's grandmother has been raising him in their geodesic dome house, where she homeschools him on the teachings of a futurist philosopher. He rarely leaves the house and his contact with others is mainly with people coming to tour their unique home. When his grandmother has a stroke, he is taken in by a family who is going through some pretty major problems of their own. A single mom is raising two rebellious teens, one of whom has had a heart transplant that his body is rejecting. Sebastian learns about punk music and experiences first love . . . and really his first friendship as well.

This book was so much deeper than I expected and really touching and funny. I was hooked from the first page and wasn't let go until the last. This is a book for older teens as their are sexual references and bad language. I highly recommend this thought provoking, as well as entertaining book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Houston on July 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book so much! At only 50 pages in, I was checking the author's Amazon page to see if he had written anything else I could get my hands on (sadly, no). By the halfway mark, I found myself slowing down on purpose, because I didn't want the book to end. Sebastian Pendergrast has lived his entire life isolated from his peers, homeschooled by his grandmother in the geodesic dome they call home. When he befriends the Whitcomb family after his grandmother suffers a stroke, Sebastian's world expands as he encounters punk rock, girls, and the Methodist youth group for the first time. I particularly enjoyed the achingly realistic dialogue between Sebastian (who speaks exactly like you'd expect someone who only talks to to their grandmother to speak) and Jared Whitcomb, an angry, punk-loving, heart transplant recipient. Their growing friendship is really the core of the novel, and their exchanges are by turns hilarious and poignant.
It's a great read, especially for fans of YA literature.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Bookhounds VINE VOICE on March 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover

This is wonderful debut with a unique voice. I think it is somewhere between The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Life of Pi with my favorite punk songs mixed in. This is the best book I have read so far the year. This coming of age story really captures some great geek moments and the account of two misplaced teens finding meaning in their lives just hits right on every note.

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! You won't be disappointed...well, you might be if you like normal.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Julie H. Rose on February 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Firstly, when I read the blurb for "The House of Tomorrow", I couldn't believe it. How did a stranger come to write a book that would connect some impossible-to-connect dots of my personal history? It seemed patently absurd. When very young, I worshipped the Whole Earth Catalog, wanted to move back to land, build a dome, tried to, gave up, came to loathe the hippies and moved to New York CIty where I discovered just what Bognanni absolutely nails: the absolute inchoate rage and joy that comes from being a misfit kid who comes into their own through playing music or non-music, starting a band without a clue and without knowing a thing, and triumphing, if only for a blip in time. And this was me, and the characters in this absolutely sweet book. And then this kid, me, winds up immersed in Buckminster Fuller's idea's through another. This is true and this is also in this book. How could it be so? I still can not believe it.

So, yes, this is a most personal review. How can i not love this book? Bognanni brings it all back for me, perfectly, and with a twist, the Buckminster Fuller twist. I applaud not only nailing what it's like to be a lost child in a teenager's body, but also a burgeoning adult with wisdom, and conveying the love of simply listening to the Ramones so perfectly, but for making Fuller so interesting and accessible. How he came up with these two things together, punk rock and Fuller, is beyond me. Mr. Bognanni, how did you come to this? I really want to know!

The last time I thought an author may have met me and gotten into my own mind I was a child. I read this book like a kid, furiously, in two big gulps, and joyously. It moved me almost to tears, made me laugh, made me wildly happy.
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