Monday, February 15, 2010

Adorable proto-gothlings

Scarlett & Crimson: Darqstarz Rising
by Allyson Black, illustrated by Patrick Spaziante
Simon & Schuster
2009

Best friends Scarlett and Crimson's adventures at school and at home are detailed in this new series. They both love music and have created their own philosophy called, "Darq" They've decided to be totally comfortable with themselves, aren't trying to be in the popular crowd and are devoted to music and creativity.

To me, the girls style seems to fall squarely under the rubric of Perky Goth, but they reject that label, substituting their own "Darq" sensibility instead. Their main competition are the Leetz, short for "elite" aka, the popular crowd of Queen Bees. Scarlett and Crimson befriend the new cute boy English exchange student, Pepper White, and together with tech-geek Winslow the four of them start a new band to compete in the Battle of the Bands against the Leetz.

I am the first to admit that I'm deliriously unmusical, and a lot of the band practice references went completely over my head. When describing their newest song, Crimson describes it as "Real chunky on the chorus line... then for the verses, I figured on something soft - keyboards making veils of sound to give it a spacey feel." You see? I have no idea what that means.

This book is a perfect confection for undemanding middle-grade readers. Plenty of full-color half-page illustrations feature cheery bobble-headed pre-teens. With several net-speak conversations excerpted from chat logs, this book really zips along. Design-wise this novel doesn't miss a single opportunity to stand out and the edges of the book are stamped in black with print along the edge. Darqstarz Rising ends with a sample chapter of the next book. Oddly, the first chapter of the next book is mainly an info-dump, so what you are actually reading is a quick re-cap of the book you've just read. I'll recommend this to parents of middle-grade students who are looking for something "clean" yet hip looking for their kids.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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