Lia is one of only a handful of black kids in Coronado, her San Diego suburb. The only person she feels she can talk to is punk rock high priestess and frontwoman to a legendary LA band, Exene Cervenka. Reeling from Ryan’s disappearance, Lia writes letters and poems to Exene every day. She can relate to Exene—but if they were to ever meet, would Exene be able to relate to her? With Exene and her band’s searing soundtrack as her chief inspiration, Lia dives head-first into a dark and spiky counterculture rife with confrontation, shifting alliances, and unsettling insights into what Ryan was doing and what might have happened to her.
Set against the backdrop of the 1980s heyday of LA punk rock, The Exene Chronicles sings of the coming of a new age for all girls in America who have been disenfranchised by the spaces they identified as their own. With lyrical prose and an unrelenting moral center, Camille A. Collins liberates the punk in all of us.
Review 3 out of 5 stars
This is hard to review simply because my criticism of it is the very thing I liked about it--and that I like about most books.
It was beautifully written. It was poetic and lyrical--but because of the nature of the book and the ages of the main characters, I found that it weighed down the story with its flowery prose.
It was almost too beautiful if that makes sense?!
The characters are barely teens--and one of them is missing caught up in the onslaught of fast approaching adulthood in the body of someone too mature for her own age. A precocious young girl who finds love sooner than she's ready for.
As a whole I thought, the book was interesting and again wonderfully written--but I found some of it was lost in its beauty. Some of the raw truth covered in a language to beautiful for its ugliness.
The author is obviously a gifted writer, with a knack for telling an interesting story--but it was a bit too much.
I appreciated its grapple with racism, though mild--it was effective and realistic. I also appreciated the way it dealt with two girls growing up at the same age but dealing with all of the things that came with it, with care.
I'd like to see what else this author comes up with, possibly something lighter--or something heavy with a raw tone.