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Editorial Reviews

Jacqueline Bach
Fourteen-year-old Jace Adams is used to moving, but when his mom and he move to Seattle, Washington, to live with his Aunt Bernice, he is miserable. Bernice makes him sleep in the shed out back, he makes some enemies at school, and he can't surf. His only solace is his cello, but even that enjoyment is threatened as his new orchestra teacher banishes him to last chair. If Jace wants to move back to California, he's going to need more than the $30—$40 he makes a couple of times each week as a street musician downtown. Help comes from his new orchestra friends, Marcy and Elvis, who convince him to enter a prestigious competition for young African American and Latino/a musicians. Can Jace win the competition and move back to California? With some likeable characters, Stringz is an enjoyable read. Mild language usage. Reviewer: Jacqueline Bach
VOYA - Jane Harper
Life is a struggle for Jace Adams, and the situation isn't exactly improving for this mixed-race teen. For starters, his unreliable mother has just moved them from California to Seattle for yet another new job and another fresh start. That means attending his fourth new school in less than two years, moving in with his strict aunt, and mixing it up with some vicious bullies. Jace may not have much in the way of material things, but he does have music, and that's what makes him a survivor. An accomplished cellist, he plays for money on the streets of Seattle. He attracts loose change and attention with a versatile repertoire that ranges from Beethoven to B. B. King to Jay-Z. His cello leads him to new friends, supportive adults, and the chance to compete for a prestigious music award and a college scholarship. As readers, we want these opportunities for Jace as much as he wants them for himself because we very quickly come to care about this rough-around-the-edges character. Jace's wise-cracking sense of humor, generous heart, and streetwise common sense get him through the tough situations he encounters as he strives to meet his goals in this action-filled story. This, plus the book's brief length, make it an ideal title to recommend to reluctant readers. Reviewer: Jane Harper
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Jace Adams's mother likes to move whenever a relationship goes bad, so now he's a freshman at a new school in Seattle. They're living with his mother's scary Aunt Bernice, who will not allow Jace to live in the house. Instead, she sets him up in the shed in the backyard. His only real solace is his cello, Ruby, and the escapist power that comes from playing. The first half of the book is brilliant. It is well crafted; the language is interesting, funny, and insightful; and the characters draw in readers. However, midway through the story, Jace's mother leaves him to follow yet another boyfriend, and the entire tone changes. Whereas extreme care and attention were seemingly paid to the plotting in the first half, and it takes place over a few weeks, the second half feels rushed and clumsy and months pass without much detail. However, Jace's character works in spite of the book's flaws, and readers will feel pride in his triumph.—Naphtali L. Faris, Saint Louis Public Library, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934813331
  • Publisher: Westside Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 216
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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