Keeping it steady, Tia Bhana
Lonesome When You Go
Meet Paige. At the age of 16, she plays bass in a high school rock band, Vox Pop. At the moment, they have only one goal in mind, to qualify for the regional music competition Rockfest. Paige’s role is to keep it steady, both in the band and with her friends. But, sometimes, it’s not that easy. Keeping the rhythm gets hard and you momentarily lose control. And, at times, it takes a while to get “back in time”.
Things this year have started off normally for Paige. The band is in reasonable gear, her friends are as jaunty as ever, and things at home seem to be going fine. As the weeks pass however, the craters start falling. The band starts having troubles; her friend uncovers an unfortunate secret; the mother she hasn’t seen in years suddenly starts calling her; and a confusion of romance arises. Paige must try to conquer these problems in little time. If things don’t get sorted out…
Lonesome When You Go by Saradha Koirala is an exciting and diverse read with a connection to teen life and a pleasing insight into the world of music. The novel reflects a teenage life: going through the struggles of relationships, friendships, school-work and personal troubles. These themes are effective as they give the opportunity to connect to the reader. As well as the concept of teen life, the book brings a note of difference with the appearance of music. It was an utter delight to read a book with two such strong notions mixed together.
The author herself expresses her love and passion for music throughout the book. Being in many bands herself, her words bring a deeper level of understanding and experience to the overall novel which I found to be quite touching.
The writing style is very enjoyable to read. The perspective changes between first and third person throughout the novel which gives the story new perspectives. I especially love the use of language features as they keep the story fresh and engaging. The use of metaphors (“a litany of drunken trivia”) and humour (“Mr Shaw’s driving the school minivan like my grandma. My dead grandma”) are predominant and enjoyable.
The characters in the novel are well thought out and give a balance to the overall story. Their personalities vary and each gives their own feel to the story. Paige is the perfect main character to the book. She’s a kickass rock-chick who knows her stuff. Paige comes across as a determined, mirthful and understanding character. She steps in when needed and is invariably supportive towards her family. My favourite character is one of Paige’s friends, Sam. Sam adds a new height of comedy to the story with his weekly comics at high school and his perky personality.
The book starts off at a steady pace, but near the end the events become rushed and abrupt, which spoils the flow of the ending. I found the sudden turn of plot inappropriate, making a little too much to catch up to. However, the book still concludes well.
There are many things that I do enjoy about this novel: the use of language features; how the chapters are told by days; the knowledge of music that’s passed down through the writing; and the amazing, well thought out characters! Koirala did a majestic job with her first novel Lonesome When You Go. I hope she continues pouring her passion for music into books, an original concept which has captivated me. I give this novel a rating of 7/10.
Tia Bhana is 13 years old and from Onslow College, Wellington.