Elsie Wyatt is a born French horn player, just like her father and her grandfather before her. In order to qualify for the prestigious summer music camp of her dreams, she must expand her musical horizons and join – gasp! – the marching band. There are no French horns in marching band (what the heck is a mellophone??), but there are some cute boys. And marching band is very different from orchestra: they march, they chant, they . . . cluck? Elsie is not so sure she’ll survive, but the new friends she’s making and the actual fun she’s having will force her to question her dad’s expectations and her own musical priorities.
I love the moment I get to look through the backlist contemporary YA on my shelf and decide which one I want to read. I had been eying Notes from an Accidental Band Geek for awhile and finally decided it was time!
Elsie is a french horn player entering high school, determined to get into a fancy music summer camp that you have to audition for. When she misses the auditions for orchestra, she decides she should join marching band to have SOMETHING musical going on, to help with her camp application.
I was slightly dubious of Elsie in the beginning. She is very music focused, so I guess it makes sense that her interpersonal skills are crap, but really – they are crap. She is 100% focused on herself, and thinks marching band is ridiculous. So, while realistic, she was unnerving at times. Luckily she warms up to the idea of marching band – and this was my favorite part of the book. I was in the color guard for a few years, so I know how marching band works… and Erin Dionne captured the spirit of marching band pretty perfectly.
As the book progressed, Elsie did as well (YAY), so by the end I was quite invested in the story. She has some moments of realization with herself (with the help of her friends and family), which I appreciated – she didn’t automatically figure things out to wrap it all up for an easy ending. It took some trial and error.
Notes from an Accidental Band Geek is a very fun read, and great for those who were in marching band in particular. I haven’t read Dionne’s other books, but immediately added them to my wishlist after finishing this one!