Saturday, February 25, 2006

Heavy Metal and You, by Christopher Krovatin

(hb; 2005: YA novel)

From the inside flap:

“Boy listens to lots of loud music and hangs with his friend.

“Boy meets girl.

“Boy falls dippy-happy-scared-as-hell in love with girl.

“Friends meet girl – and aren’t impressed.

“Girl meets friends – and isn’t impressed.

“Boy meets big dilemma.

“Boy plays music even louder.

“Big dilemma meets big, sometimes unexpected decisions.

“With humor and heart, Heavy Metal and You strikes some very loud chords about life, love, sex, and friendship. If Nick Hornby had a metalhead little brother, he’d write a book as clever, music-drenched, and observationally direct as this...”

Review:

Sam Markus, a seventeen-year old diehard metalhead, falls for Melissa, a beautiful preppie girl. They’re clearly not meant for each other – further evidenced by Sam’s friends’s repeated disgust and questions of “Are you sure she’s right for you?” However, Sam and Melissa, notable opposites, are madly in love.

Author Krovatin does a lot of name-dropping of metal bands (with specific songs and CDs noted), almost too much. While this is consistent with Sam’s professed love of metal, it initially threatens to overwhelm the budding story; thankfully, the name-dropping levels off enough to let the story run its natural course.

Krovatin has crafted a loving homage to a music genre too often relegated to stupidity (by its adherents, as well as those who dislike its ‘noise’), and blind romance, particularly teenage romance. The tale follows a predictable plot arc, but Krovatin’s emotionally-aware, lightning-fast writing and realistic, complex characters make this a worthwhile read. That, and the fact that Krovatin loves Slayer (one of the best bands ever, as far as I’m concerned) and the writings of Nick Hornby (whom Krovatin mentions), an admirable writer.

In Heavy Metal and You Krovatin emulates Hornby’s writing (specifically the novel, High Fidelity) too much for my comfort, but aside from that, this is a fine read. I’m sure once Krovatin finds his own literary identity – this is a first novella – he’ll be a force to reckon with.

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