Author: Mark Delaney
Peachtree Publishers, 2004
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Recommended to: Teen boys and girls who like music, 13 and older
Summary (from inside jacket flap):
Pamela Jean (aka Star) is sixteen when her mother dies, and nothing seems to make her feel better: Not talking to her shrink. Not playing rock music with her best friend, Dooley. Not even listening to her mother's old familiar Beatles albums.
It is not until Star finds am unsent letter addressed to John Lennon and a broken-down vintage Gibson guitar that she begins to find a way out of her grief...and maybe even a way to take care of some unfinished business left by her mother.
It's been such a long time since I've read this book, that I don't really remember all the details. However, I do remember how unique and special Delaney's characters are: Dr. Artaud, Syke, Dooley, and, my favorite, Teri. I loved the dialogue that was exchanged between each different, realistic character: their words really reflect their personalities (monotonous and simpleminded, gruff and grieving, genuine and quiet, and happy and outgoing). However, I found Star's overall personality to be a little dull compared to the colorful characteristics of the others. The plot was well-rounded but seemed to lack a climax (perhaps when Star found the guitar and letter?). Meanwhile, I absolutely adored the ending: it was sweet and just the right way to end the story: throughout the novel, Star was just really struggling to find who she truly was and attempting to learn more about her mother. The ending left me perfectly satisfied: I felt that Star had really accomplished getting over the past and moving on to the future. I also liked how the author incorporated music and the Beatles as metaphors of Star's life and how the music brought her, her mother, Teri, and Dooley together (it was also very clever naming each chapter after the title of a Beatles song).
While reading Pepperland, it sort of reminded me of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: a girl, a boy, music...A winning combo for fans of bittersweet, interesting stories.