Pepperland

( 9 )

Overview

Pamela Jean (a.k.a. Star) is sixteen when her mother dies, and nothing seems to make her feel better: Not talking to her shrink. Not playing rock music with her best friend Dooley. Not even listening to her mother's old familiar Beatles albums. It is not until Star finds an unsent letter addressed to John Lennon and a broken-down vintage Gibson guitar that she begins to find a way out of her grief...and maybe even a way to take care of some unfinished business left by her mother. Written with frankness and ...
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Pepperland

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Overview

Pamela Jean (a.k.a. Star) is sixteen when her mother dies, and nothing seems to make her feel better: Not talking to her shrink. Not playing rock music with her best friend Dooley. Not even listening to her mother's old familiar Beatles albums. It is not until Star finds an unsent letter addressed to John Lennon and a broken-down vintage Gibson guitar that she begins to find a way out of her grief...and maybe even a way to take care of some unfinished business left by her mother. Written with frankness and compassion, Pepperland is an unforgettable story of loss and redemption.

Struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother in the late 1970s, sixteen-year-old Beatles fan Star Cochran hopes to find closure by delivering to John Lennon a letter her mother wrote to him in 1964 but never sent.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Michele Winship
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2004: It's the fall of 1980, and The Beatles are over but their legacy lives on. Star's mother loved The Beatles and passed both her passion and her musical talents on to her 16-year-old daughter, who jams on a vintage Fender Telecaster in the garage with her pal and bass player Dooley. Along one garage wall are the boxes of belongings her mother never unpacked when they moved, and now they are all that's left for Star since breast cancer took her mother and the music away. Star tries to deal with her loss along with her stepfather Syke, but the song she keeps trying to write, that she needs to write for her mother, stays bottled up inside where neither she nor her therapist can reach it. Part of her healing involves delivering a letter to John Lennon that her mother never sent; however, only after she finds her mother's battered Gibson in the garage rafters and seeks out Teri Seeger, the luthier who agrees to repair the guitar, does Star begin the daunting task of rebuilding the Gibson, and herself, from the inside out. Pepperland is the tender story of one young woman's journey through the grief of losing her mother to ultimately finding herself. The cast of characters is small but runs deep, and readers root for Star to deliver the letter at an upcoming concert, to recognize how her feelings for Dooley have changed, and to find the Gibson's chords and her own words immortalizing her mother in a song.
KLIATT
It's the fall of 1980, and the Beatles are over but their legacy lives on. Star's mother loved the Beatles and passed both her passion and her musical talents on to her 16-year-old daughter, who jams on a vintage Fender Telecaster in the garage with her pal and bass player Dooley. Along one garage wall are the boxes of belongings her mother never unpacked when they moved, and now they are all that's left for Star since breast cancer took her mother and the music away. Star tries to deal with her loss along with her stepfather Syke, but the song she keeps trying to write, that she needs to write for her mother, stays bottled up inside where neither she nor her therapist Dr. Artaud can reach it. Part of her healing involves delivering a letter to John Lennon that her mother never sent; however, only after she finds her mother's battered Gibson in the garage rafters and seeks out Teri Seeger, the luthier who agrees to repair the guitar, does Star begin the daunting task of rebuilding the Gibson, and herself, from the inside out. Pepperland is the tender story of one young woman's journey through the grief of losing her mother to ultimately finding herself. The cast of characters is small but runs deep, and readers root for Star to deliver the letter at an upcoming concert, to recognize how her feelings for Dooley have changed, and to find the Gibson's chords and her own words immortalizing her mother in a song. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Peachtree, 184p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
VOYA
Star's mother has died, and as Star is cleaning out boxes in the garage, she comes across a fan letter to John Lennon tucked in the pages of her mother's yearbook. Memories spark a search for her mother's missing Gibson guitar, which she finds stashed away in rafters of the garage, broken and strings sagging. Star goes on a mission to repair the guitar and deliver her mother's letter to John Lennon. In the 1980s, before Lennon's untimely death, anything is possible. As she works through her grief, deals with the bullying of her best friend, and struggles to write a song for her mother, Star begins to slowly heal and come to the realization that, just like the old guitar, people also can be meticulously repaired with a great deal of hard work and true caring. Delaney's book will resonate with readers long after they put it down. Star's palpable grief and the love of those around her make it a real story about a teenaged girl who is struggling to accept and overcome the emptiness she feels. High school teacher Delaney is able to make Star and Dooley, her best friend, true-to-life people whom readers will recognize and care about. Teens-and those who can remember the 80s firsthand-will wallow in the nostalgic references. True guitar aficionados will appreciate the loving way in which Star helps to repair her mother's guitar, and Beatles fans will enjoy the fact that every chapter title is a Beatles' song title. Star's pain and healing sends a strong message, and Delaney is the perfect conduit. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Peachtree, 180p.,Ages 12 to 18.
—Lynn Evarts
Children's Literature
This is a coming-of-age book about a sixteen-year-old girl who loses her mother to breast cancer. The author immediately introduces us to Star, whose real name is Pamela Jean, and her therapist. The entire story is built around Star's mother's love of the Beatles, especially John Lennon. Star's mother played Beatles music when she was pregnant and throughout her life. These memories help Star understand her mother and no longer fear embracing her legacy. The story also chronicles Star's relationships with her very caring stepfather and her teenage friend Dooley. The author does a very good job of describing the various stages of Star's grief and enlightenment. She matures throughout the book and finds pieces of her mother's past that allow her to hold on to her memory and press into the future. It is a delightful story that shows the strength of sharing moments with the ones you love. 2004, Peachtree Publishers, Ages 12 up.
—Gilda R. Daniels
From The Critics
Star is a not-so-typical 16-year-old in the 1980s--she is dealing with the grief that comes with losing her mother, her best friend Dooley's mood swings/search for identity, her own search for her place in the world, and attending therapy sessions. When musician Star comes across her mother's old guitar in the attic, as well as a letter her mother wrote to John Lennon stuck in an old yearbook, she senses that something is about to happen in her life-- she wants something to happen. Delaney takes us on a tender and touching journey of a young girl coming to grips with life--and finds the courage to step up and take it by the (guitar) neck. I recommend this highly for older middle school and high school students. The trip back was great for me, too! 2004, Peachtree Press, 184 pp., Ages young adult.
—Nancy McFarlin
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Delaney's sensitive style and his development of realistic, multidimensional lead characters combine to create an absorbing story set in the early '80s. Star, 16, struggles to adjust to the death of her mother, who had loved '60s music and the Beatles in particular. Star, a guitarist, loves it as well. Her therapist suggests that she write a song about her mother, and throughout the book she tries to do so. When she finds her mother's guitar and a letter she wrote to John Lennon, they become the catalyst for Star to work through her anger and grief. She and her stepfather have a warm relationship, and they work together to deal with their mutual loss. While her friendship with Dooley, a talented artist, has been platonic, the relationship seems to be changing. When he is harassed at school and dubbed gay, she defends and supports him. Though the introduction of this plot twist is a bit jarring, it highlights the teen's loyalty and maturity. The homophobic bullies are stereotypical, and the woman who repairs her mother's guitar is conveniently generous, understanding, and nurturing, but this helps to move the plot along. The author shows how a love of art can help one cope with difficulties as he deftly balances the dual themes of dealing with tragic loss and with being different.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561453177
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,489,926
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Things We Said Today 1
Chapter 2 Two of Us 11
Chapter 3 And Your Bird Can Sing 19
Chapter 4 A Day in the Life 33
Chapter 5 When I Get Home 43
Chapter 6 Instant Karma 55
Chapter 7 Fixing a Hole 67
Chapter 8 The Ballad of John and Yoko 78
Chapter 9 Ticket to Ride 88
Chapter 10 I'm Looking Through You 100
Chapter 11 This Boy 111
Chapter 12 Within You Without You 125
Chapter 13 Golden Slumbers 129
Chapter 14 While My Guitar Gently Weeps 142
Chapter 15 Nowhere Man 150
Chapter 16 Imagine 161
Chapter 17 (Just Like) Starting Over 175
Afterword: Getting It Wrong to Get It Right 183
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Best book I have read in a while

    I am not an especially fast reader, but I read this book in one day; it was amazing. It probably helps that I am a Beatles fanatic, but you don't have to be a fan of the Beatles to be a fan of this book! If you are looking for a riveting read, look no farther!

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Michaela Pallante aka "Mickey" for TeensReadToo.com

    Pamela Jean Cochran, or Star as she would rather be called, lives for her music. After her beloved mother dies, music seems to be the only thing that gets her through the day -- specifically Beatles music. Star's mother loved the Beatles and now their music is all Star has left to remember her by. <BR/><BR/>When she hears that John Lennon is coming to town, she gives herself a mission. Her mission is to get backstage, meet John Lennon, and give him her mother's fan letter. <BR/><BR/>Thinking about this mission gets her through the long days of school and therapy. That, and spending time with her best friend, Dooley. Dooley is an amazing artist and Star ends up helping him through some pretty rough times. <BR/><BR/>This book was really, really good, and I made a personal connection with it. PEPPERLAND may cause you to reach for a few tissues and by the end of it you'll walk away with a "wow, life isn't so bad after all" attitude.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    EXCELLENT!

    it was an amazing book. filled with compassion and dertermination, a 16 yr. old girl star goes out to send a letter to John Lennon from her mother(who has died) i truly loved this book. i am a beatles fan so i REALLY REALLY enjoyed it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2007

    Beatles - Enough Said

    I am a huge Beatles fan, so that is why this caught my eye. How could I resist a book titled 'Pepperland'? I couldn't. By the first chapter I was caught up in Star's story, and I loved all of the Beatles references. After I was finished I made my friend read it, and she was hooked after the first chapter as well. It is an amazing book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes The Beatles or has experienced the loss of a loved one. Five Stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2006

    Groovy book!

    If you LOVE The Beatles, you are sure to love this book. Great read for Beatles fans of all ages!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    Pepperland

    This book is much of a change from the Misfits series, but alone itself takes my vote. Delaney has a great vision in his books especially Pepperland. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read any of the Delaney books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    Great Book!

    A buddy of mine told me to read this book. He pressed until I read it. Once I started I could no put it down. It has a great plot that keeps you on the edge of seat. I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages. It is a story that the whole family could enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    Pepperland

    Few books have ever laid out more clearly the connection between pop culture and human emotions. Pepperland begins in early November of 1980, mere weeks before the murder of former Beatle John Lennon. Star Cochran has recently lost her mother to breast cancer. As she's going through her mother's belongings, she finds a fan letter her mom wrote to Lennon but never mailed. Star decides that delivering this letter--personally--is a mission she must complete for her mother. Star is a musician herself. As she plans her quest to meet the former Beatle, she also struggles to rebuild her mother's old Gibson guitar, certain that doing so will help her write a song in honor of her mother. Dooley, her friend (and possible boyfriend) both helps and confuses her along the way. Pepperland mingles brilliantly the themes of grief and pop culture. How does music, or art, move us through difficult times? The novel succeeds in answering this question. Delaney uses flashbacks that allow the reader to see the relationship between Star and her mother, a technique that intensifies the emotion in an already painfully moving story. The characters in Pepperland are realistically drawn. The teens are dead-on perfect, and the adults are strong role models with hints of weakness to make them painfully human. In a time where many YA novels present adults who are venal and often wicked, Pepperland is a refreshing, positive change. Even the thuggish Farris, who harasses Star's friend Dooley, is far more than a stereotype, although he occupies little more than 5-6 pages in the entire book. Patty Campbell, the President-elect of ALAN (the American Library Association) calls Pepperland a 'perfect' YA novel. I agree. Readers will be moved by the story. Beatle fans will love the references and the chapter titles, which are all Beatle songs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    Pepperland

    I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to all ages. This book shows great character and even better mental pictures. If you haven't read any of Delaney's books, this would be a great start.

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