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The House of Tomorrow Hardcover – March 4, 2010
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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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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
Top customer reviews
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.
This book is so well-written and very poignant. Sebastian will stay with you long after you finish this book.
- The characters, especially Sebastian, Jared, and his sister Meredith, were created with depth, interest, and sincerity. I genuinely grew attached to them and sincerely hoped that things would work out for them all.
- I appreciated the journeys Bognanni took all of his characters through; this was more than just a coming-of-age story for the teenagers, but it was also about an elderly lady realizing that her life and mission were ending, as well as a middle-aged woman accepting that her marriage has most-likely failed.
- The musical aspect of this story is important but doesn't necessarily take center-stage (ha). The novel isn't about punk music, it's about the people playing it.
- It's a good story- the plot is quick paced but thoughtful and never boring.
Darn Ticketmaster Surcharge
- It's like buying tickets to a really great concert and then having that stupid surcharge to put a brief damper on things- the ending. I don't always like things to be tied up nicely, and while this one does leave some unanswered questions, it's not exactly a cliff-hanger or a thought-provoker.
This is definitely one to recommend, and I will definitely read the next book he reads.