Stella Wing (because it sounds more ‘new-punk’ than Wang) with her nose piercing and fire-engine-red hair is no Disney princess. She’s a drummer in a nameless band that needs a singer.
Jacob is her guitarist and Miles plays the bass. “‘The problem is,’ Jacob says, . . . ‘every person who wants to sing in a band is either a poser or a diva or a wanker.’”
Every girl they audition sings without soul.
It’s ironic, then, that a girl who has been kicked out of Fantalicious, the locally popular all-girl group with tweener-appeal, might be the perfect fit. Fanticilious members have talent in butt wriggling and lip-syncing to their own Auto-Tuned voices. So Tamara Donnelly hasn’t been kicked out because she can’t sing. She is shunned because she’s not rocking a tiny body (she, too, is no Disney Princess). But she can sing like “the love child of Annie Lennox and David Bowie.”
As they look forward to auditions for a summer festival, Stella, Tamara, Jacob and Miles all have to answer for themselves the question that haunts all creative souls: do they answer the call to a creative life? In the case of the band, the choices are many. Do they go with the safer bet of covering a popular song? Individually make backup plans and forget how well they work as a group? Go for it all and risk the opportunity to perform if the judges don’t grasp their off-beat creativity?
High school housekeeping: The Frail Days is part of the Orca Limelight’s series. It’s meant for teens reading below grade level. The Lexile level is 680; it’s under 120 pages. It addresses a universal issue about seeking a creative life, so it will speak to most teens. Budding musicians will particularly enjoy it. People who have been judged for their appearance, including their weight, will find familiar ground but may be delighted by the characters’ manner of dealing with prejudices.