Toe socks and marzi-pianos…

There should be more books like Linda Urban’s (

)  A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT.  When I checked at my local bookstore today, they had one copy.  I snatched it up and read it in one sitting. 


Zoe Elias, a would-be piano prodigy, ends up not with a  baby grand piano at Carnegie Hall but with a sighing, cha-cha, oompa organ at the Perform-O-Rama.  Zoe’s voice is funny and touching and true, as she paints the picture of her ten-year-old life.  A coin-counting mother who works all the time.  A father who’s afraid to leave the house (but makes a mean maple tart).  A best friend who ditches her. And that organ….

This book made me laugh out loud on the couch so many times my son put down THE LIGHTNING THIEF to listen for a while.  It’s a fantastic example of how a great middle grade book can turn the every day trials of a kid into an amazing story, just like Zoe makes music from whatever life dishes out to her.

I teach middle school, and sometimes I find that I have more choices for my readers who like edgy YA stories than I do for those kids who read well but aren’t quite ready for teenager issues.  A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT is a perfect kind of book for those readers, and I’m so happy I’ll have it  for them when school starts in a few weeks.

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