How fitting that I would stumble upon this book in some boxes at my parents’ house during music month here at IGGPPC. It’d been a few years since I read this, so I made a point to snatch it up and bring it home for a reread for this month’s review, and I have a distinct feeling that my opinion of the book has changed slightly since the first time I read it.
The Vinyl Princess is the story of sixteen-year-old Allie, a dedicated employee of Bob & Bob Records on Telegraph Avenue. She’s a strong opponent of download culture and instead believes firmly in the tradition of the vinyl record. She’s actually a bit of a snob, but that alone does not make her unlikable, and in fact she’s pretty cool. She’s definitely more motivated than I was at sixteen and way more culturally involved, having a blog and making her own fanzine to give away.
Reading this book, a lot of the plot points felt disjointed. While overall, it’s pretty simple how each piece of the story connects, it doesn’t feel like any one really went deeply enough. We have a crime spree rippling through Telegraph, a mom who’s started internet dating, a mysterious boy (whom we don’t even talk to until over 100 pages in), a trip for a plastic surgery consultation… And even though it’s (mostly) easy to plot how each fits into the story, there’s simply too much going on for it to flow as easily as it could.
My favorite part of the novel was the friendship between Allie and her best friend, Kit. I feel like a lot of YA novels centering on girls would feature some kind of large blow-up scene where they fight with each other and it becomes a huge point to the story, but this didn’t do that at all, which was a nice change of pace. These two really relied on each other, and I loved that. They helped each other through their own personal problems and there was nothing to compromise their friendship and tear my heart out. Maybe it’s a little simplistic and too happy-go-lucky, but with everything else going on, it’s nice to be able to rely on these two to keep each other grounded.
The Vinyl Princess is cute and I’m sure enjoyable for fans of music (all kinds of music; the novel mentions everything from Gram Parsons to Babes in Toyland); I think that’s why I initially fell in love with it in my first reading. This time around though, its cracks and imperfections were a little more noticeable.
It’s a little quirky, a little uneven, but it’s fun and lighthearted for the most part. If you’re looking for something to breeze through fairly mindlessly (a kind of teen beach read), I recommend it.