It’s interesting to see what comes across my virtual desk as a blogger and children’s author. I had a recent submission for a premise that intrigued me, Gen X rocker-punk parents in conflict with their trying to be normal Millennial daughter. It’s called An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittman. With music references that brought back memories to me, I was wondering what a YA would be like with my generation as the “parental unit”. I wasn’t disappointed.
Silver Abelli is being a rebel against rebel parents. With Gen-Xer ex-rockstar parents, she feels trapped in her homeschooled anti-social and anti-establishment life. She yearns to go to high school like normal 15 year olds, and even maybe try out for cheerleading and date a football player. Normal American teenager stuff.
But there is one drawback. Her fabulous musical family is not normal. Her mother has a brain tumor and is going through recovery from its removal. Enter her rocker Dad, divorced from her Mom, Silver has to live with him for awhile until all is well with her Mom. Thus starts the beginning of everything, and also, be careful what you wish for.
Silver meets the gorgeous football player at the beginning of the book. Through all the struggles with her Mom’s illness and conflicts with her cynical Gen-X Dad, now Ipod alternative music expert, she finally meets Jake, that dreamy footballer via her cousin, Natalie. Ups and downs commence, in which the romance blooms, Dad wants to get the band back together, and her Mom goes through issues with her health.
But it all comes together in a horrible attack Silver must keep secret or it will ruin everything. But will she have the courage to come forward and accuse her attacker even at the risk of losing her boyfriend and her father’s chance at a reboot of his career?
I was hooked by the Gen X vs. Millennial generational conflict, which does become a basic thorn in the main character’s side. I mean, who relates with their parents? It had enough angst about this, but I kept enjoying and relating with the adults in the book far more than the 15 year old. Maybe it’s because of the 80s references, alternative music mentioned, or the feeling that the book was written by a Gen Xer. I enjoyed it all, but I didn’t get a real 15 year old vibe at times from the main character.
I did get a good up and down sense with the YA romance, but some of the conflicts were talked or told to me instead of shown. It could have used some real dialogue to show the evil of the Channing/villian character or the feelings grow more between Silver and Jake romantically. I just wanted a little more in those areas.
I did enjoy the conflicts between Silver and her parents, living with semi-famous 90s rockers and helping her mother through crisis was compelling writing. But I left wondering how a Millennial 15 year old girl would feel reading this. Would she care about the Violent Femmes references? Know that “Silver” was an Echo and the Bunnymen song?
I know that any Gen Xer that enjoyed alternative music back in the day would really enjoy this and get sucked into the story. Whether a teenager now would enjoy this? I think so. I think it captures enough of the ever happening conflict between generations, which is timeless.
Perhaps it will help bridge that mysterious gap between generations. Parents and children can read it together and have something in common to talk about besides everyone just looking at their phones. Think how the 1950s were looked at in the 1980s.
If anything, this reaches out to readers in two generations, and that is a good thing. Maybe the eighties references will get families talking about the past and how things in the end, don’t really change. Families are still families, and that seems to be a main theme in this book. In the end, teenagers could read this with their parents, and it would be mutually enjoyable.
***An Authentic Experience is available at Amazon.com.
To Note: I received a review copy for an honest review.