Author: Robert Paul Weston
Published: February 8th 2015 by Flux (first published January 28th 2014)
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Coming-Of-Age, Romance, Friendship, Mystery
Source: Netgalley and Flux: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinions or review.
Rating: Four Stars
She walks in with her music, and walks out with his wallet Kaz Barrett should be saving for college. Instead, he saves his pay from the Sit’N’Spin Laundromat to send his mother to a very expensive sleep clinic in New York. His mother suffers from a rare neurological disorder, and both Kaz and his kid sister worry that one day, maybe tomorrow, their mother will fall asleep and never wake up.
But when pink-haired Zoey walks past the laundromat’s window, Kaz’s ordered life begins spinning out of control. Smart, mysterious, and full of music, Zoey is unlike anyone Kaz has met…but there’s another side to her that he can’t quite figure out. When he goes looking for answers, he finds a whirlwind of lies, half-truths, and violence.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover for Blues For Zoey, it’s simple, it has ear buds and it’s in the shape of a heart, what more could I want? Besides maybe some puzzle pieces. 😉
First Line: This story is not a mystery. It’s a puzzle.
Blues For Zoey had me hooked from the very beginning. I immediately loved the tone of the story. It came off as kind of dark, a bit mysterious and maybe just a little grungy as well.
Blues For Zoey was definitely a very amusing read for me. The narration in Blues For Zoey was just amazing. Kaz tells the story like he’s already lived it, which was really interesting and made me think of the movie, Dirty Dancing. I felt as if Kaz was telling me the story in person. I liked how Kaz would relay information, he never unloaded a lot of information, but rather told things at different times. It was very unique in every aspect from the protagonist, Kaz to the cast of characters to the plot to the writing style.
I loved the voice Kaz had, he was realistic, funny, sarcastic, snarky and seemed really true-to-life to me. If you’re familiar with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, I would call Kaz a slight cross between Nick and Dash.
Kaz is Japanese-Caribbean which I’ve never even heard of, but I love the diversity. We see Kaz struggle with other parts in his life, but there’s not much reference to his race and how that impacts him, other than no one ever really knows what he is. I would have liked to see him struggle with how it did or didn’t affect him.
I loved several things in Blues For Zoey. The first thing I loved is that Kaz actually works. He works in a laundromat called Sit’N’Spin which is a bit sketchy, as is his boss, Mr. Rodolfo, who always keeps a door locked downstairs. The reason Kaz works at this sketchy laundromat is to save up money to get his mother treated at an expensive facility in New York, which his mother doesn’t know. She thinks he’s saving up money for college in the next year or two while Kaz doesn’t even have the grades to get in.
I loved the addition of his mom’s disorder, it was really interesting and not something common in many books. The disorder his mother has is one that makes her fall asleep out of nowhere and then sleep for days. I believe this is supposed to be the Kleine-Levin Syndrome or what’s known as the Sleeping Beauty syndrome. I wish this syndrome had been brought up just a bit more, but the story does go full circle with his mother’s illness. I thought it was really amazing about Kaz that he was saving up money to get his mother treated. This brings me to the next thing I loved about Kaz, he was really responsible at his age, raising money for his mom and then taking care of his eight year old sister, Nomi.
Kaz later meets Zoey who’s carrying around a strange instrument no one’s ever known before. He soon becomes interested in getting to know her as she’s unlike anyone he’s really met before. I wasn’t too thrilled about Zoey, she was a bit strange to me and this was outside the instrument and the dreads she wore. I definitely give her points though for being unique. She’s certainly unlike any character I’ve ever read about. Other than Stargirl, of course. There’s certainly more to Zoey than meets the eye and I was really fascinated with where she was going in the story. When I was initially introduced to Zoey, I wasn’t sold on her at all, she seemed like the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl who changes a guy’s life after talking to him for five minutes with her grand uniqueness and outlook on life. Fortunately, Weston definitely took that trope and threw it out the window. Zoey’s a mystery for sure.
Speaking of unique characters, Blues For Zoey is full of them, whether it’s Mr. Rodolfo, Zoey, Dave Mizra, A Man and B. Man. Dave Mizra is Kaz’s music guru, that is, until he gives him a blues cd and makes him the laughingstock at a party. 🙂 A. Man and B. Man are best friends but even more than that, they’re also war veterans who have an interesting mystery themselves.
-All The Other Aspects I Adored-
Besides the romance between Kaz and Zoey, there’s so much more I love about Blues For Zoey,
I love how Kaz would start off or break sections up by creating titles for them.
From the title to the instrument Zoey plays, music is definitely a theme in Blues For Zoey. Kaz’s mom used to play piano until she developed her sleeping disorder. She then believed that it was a sort of cause for it. Zoey carries and plays an instrument around town. Then Mizra always gives Kaz cds to listen to, the latest one being blues CD.
I loved the mystery aspect because there definitely is one.What I may have loved more (than Kaz) would be the mysteries that are thread throughout Blues For Zoey. There’s the initial mystery of Mr. Rodolfo and his possible under the table business he has going on, there’s a mystery with A. Man and B. Man then there’s the final mystery of Zoey. There are secrets, lies and murder and it’s all just fantastic.
The diverse, unique cast of characters who are all so different from one another. One thing that Weston did extremely well is creating this group of characters are different, but completely fit together. It seemed normal to have this area of Evandale full of these people with their mysteries and journeys. What I loved about the cast of characters is that there’s so much more to each of them that Kaz doesn’t know or hasn’t realized.
The ending was just “Oh my gosh”, I was so surprised and thrown off. The mystery is solved, there are still some loose ends though, but it was fantastic.
~Final Thoughts on Blues For Zoey~
A puzzle it is indeed.
In a story made up of young adults, laundromats, strange instruments, sleeping disorders, war veterans, blues Music, dysfunctional families, crime, friendship and a bit of romance, you’re definitely going to have a puzzle rather than a mystery to fit all the pieces together.
I would have loved to learn more about the side characters and Kaz as well, though I could read another entire book just about him with the way he was written. However, this is just a minor thing and not a big deal. Ultimately, Blues For Zoey is a great coming-of-age story. There’s romance, self-discovery, friendship, adventure, and growing up. I loved that the romance between Kaz and Zoey wasn’t the main focus of Blues For Zoey. Kaz found out more about himself, about the people he knew and his own family. He’s left to question things. He definitely grew up the summer he met Zoey and this mystery occurred. I liked that there was a big focus on money in Blues For Zoey, he needed money for his mom, Zoey needed money later, Kaz believes his boss is running some illegal business for money. It was great to see money come into play so much. I would highly recommend Blues For Zoey.
~Do I Recommend?~
~Recommended For Fans Of~
Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamine Alire-Saenz
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn