Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert Book Review

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
(MTV Books, $13.00)


Emily Black has always loved music, especially punk music. She won't admit it but it's because of the legend of her mother, Louisa. Her mom abandoned her when she was a little girl because, as her dad tells it, Louisa just wanted to follow the music. Emily starts her own punk band and, as her band's success grows, she wonders if she'll ever find her mom.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is full of music references and teenage angst. Emily is frustrated by her life in a small town and is yearning to connect to the mother she never knew. I admired Emily's raw feelings and cheered her on at the beginning of the book. Kuehnert's writing was easy to get caught up in, like a catchy tune. The reason I'm only giving it two stars though is because it really fell apart for me near the end. The whole book is really about Emily's search for her mom, whether she's admitting it to herself or not. Without giving anything away, I didn't feel that the end of the book did justice to Emily's search. It was rushed and way too coincidental. There was also another incident involving initials painted in a dresser drawer that was also unbelievable (and slightly cheesy) for me. I could have forgiven the initials though if the ending had been more powerful.

Who would like this book: anyone who likes music or stories about single-parent families. Emily's dad is an interesting role model, in a good way.

Have any of you ever had a problem with too much coincidence in a book?


  1. Wow, that's the first even partially negative review I've seen for this book.

    It's fair, though, I must say. I have read many books with too many coincidents, so I know what you mean.

    Of course, a link exchange would be great. I'll add you to our list.

  2. Hmm. Yeah, I can see where there would be too much coincidence towards the end. I don't think it bugged me so much though. I really enjoyed the ending as it left things open for interpretation and didn't force a close to the story on you. Great review, nevertheless!

  3. Eh, I get what you're saying about coincidence. But if you think about it, how many times have you seen people in places you would never expect them? Once, I saw a friend in an airport in Florida (when I and this friend both live in Ohio.)

    Anyway, I loved this book. And I can't wait for the next novel by Stephenie!


  4. I love books that explore coincidence - but if it's a plot that feels contrived and sloppy - not so much. I know I experience so much coincidence in my own life - so I guess I'll just keep your review in mind when I read it and see if it bothers me.

  5. Extremely interesting review, Em. I find that quiet stories eschew coincidence, while revved-up stories almost require them.

    Thought provoking...

  6. I usually hate coincidences but I never had second thoughts about this ending. After so many years of just barely missing her mom wherever she was, never quite grabbing hold of her, I thought the ending was appropriate and that the buildup had been adequately done.

    Even though I can't possibly fathom how anyone might give this a negative review (it's one of my favorite books this year), it's all subjective. =)


  7. It was hard for me to give this one only two stars because I was sooo into the book for the first 3/4. But, it all comes down to the ending for me. I can see why so many people love it though. Maybe I got my hopes up to high by reading other reviews...


Like it, love it, or really hate it? Leave a comment and let me know. I love hearing from other people! And if you'd like to email me, my email address is emsbookshelf@gmail.com.

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