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The House of Tomorrow Hardcover – March 4, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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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: Penguin Adult HC/TR; First Edition edition (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156090
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up Peter Bognanni's debut novel, "The House of Tomorrow" after reading multiple positive magazine reviews. I'm happy to report that this was a wonderful first book by an new, original voice in modern literature.

"The House of Tomorrow" is narrated by Sebastian, an orphaned teenager living with his new age spiritual grandmother in a geodesic dome. The pair live alone, mostly cut off from society except for giving weekly tours of their usual home, which supplement the grandmother's Social Security income. Their way of life is in peril, when Sebastian's grandmother suffers a stroke during a tour and the dysfunctional family visiting the dome take Sebastian into their care.

Bognanni creates wonderful, rich characters that manage to feel very real, despite their rather unusual circumstances. In particular, Sebastian is a sweet boy, desperate to make friends and find a place for himself in a world that is constantly shifting around him. This is a story about family, friendship, faith and love. A story about finding a place to belong.

I throughly enjoyed both the story and Boganni's writing style. It's quirky and unique. I couldn't put it down and despite being on vacation in Europe for the first time, found myself wanting to stay in and finish the book!

I highly recommend "The House of Tomorrow" and look forward to Bognanni's future novels.

Please visit my blog for my England trip report and book related things!
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since his parents' death when he was very young, 16-year-old Sebastian has lived in Iowa's first geodesic dome with Nana (his grandmother), a devout follower of designer and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller. Nana has home schooled Sebastian and allowed him little contact with the outside world beyond the tour groups that come to the dome each week, and he is ready to follow the path that she has set for his future. When she suffers a stroke one day, Sebastian's life is thrown into turmoil. He meets Jared Whitcomb, a teenage boy with issues of his own, and his loving yet overprotective mother, Janice, who are touring the dome when Nana suffers her stroke. Later, Sebastian also meets Jared's older sister, Meredith, who teaches Sebastian a thing or two about the complexity of emotions. As Jared and Sebastian become friends, Sebastian starts discovering all of the things he has been missing in life--punk rock, processed foods, girls, and most of all, companionship with a peer. But he is torn between this new life and continuing to work with Nana on fulfilling her visions for his future.

I really loved this book. Every one of the characters is endearing in their own way, even if you're not supposed to empathize with them. Sebastian's interactions with the Whitcombs and Nana were at turns funny, thought-provoking and touching, and Bognanni really gave him depth beyond the fish-out-of-water storyline. Even though I had a feeling where the book would go, I never felt bored, because Bognanni's storytelling ability was really great. I was sad when I finished the book because I'd love to know what happened to all of the characters once the story ended. That, to me, is the mark of a great story.
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