Tuesday, January 2, 2007

FAB Pick - Adios to My Old Life - Caridad Ferrer- WIN IT!

Well hello, Lovelies!!! I hope your New Year is going swimmingly. Mine is and I am so super excited about what this year has to bring us here at Dee & Dee! See that logo at the side there? dee's fantabulous hubby, Shane, created that for us, and I adore it!! And that's just one of the new additions here at our new site, we have searchable labels, and an extensive list of author links. And with this review, I get to introduce you to our new monthly spotlight - FAB (Fabulous Author/Book). Each month, dee and I will each pick a wonderful new author (or find) and spotlight that particular author for an entire week. We will have reviews of their book(s), interviews, sneak peaks (if we can get 'em) and contests. This is so exciting for me for several reasons. I mean, we get to chat with some really awesome people, we get to read some absolutely FABulous books, and we get the chance to introduce you, our wonderful readers, to them as well. Plus, we get to give away stuff, how cool is that? So, without further ado, I give you my first ever FAB pick!

Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer

Does a seventeen-year old from Miami have what it takes to be the next big Latin superstar? And does she really want it?

As a talented singer-guitarist with a dream of going pro, Alegria Montero is getting fed up with the endless, boring parade of quinceaneras and other family party gigs. She's longing for something bigger. And Oye Mi Canto - a new reality TV show that's searching for the next Latin superstar - is definitely that. Ali figures she'll never make the cut, but auditioning seems like a good way to get her overprotective father to take her ambitions seriously.

To Ali's complete shock, she passes her audition. Next thing she know, she's dealing with wardrobe fittings, cameras, reporters, vocal coaches, and websites designed by lovestruck fanboys. She's also dealing with jealousy, malice, and sabotage among the contestants, all of which has her wondering: Is it really time to shoot for the stars and try to win the whole competition, or is it time to say "Cut!" and become a normal teenager again?

This is a YA book, so really, what much can I say about the BCC? It's accurate to a point, gives a nice description of the book's basic premise, and even if I didn't go in search of this book, I would have picked it up and bought it based on what was written. So I'd say not bad, not bad at all. Mark my words, one day there will be a YA BCC that misses the mark, and I'll be ready. Oh, yes, I will be ready!

I'm going to do something a bit different with this review. Today's post will revolve around Ali, her music and the show. With my next review, I will dissect Ali's personal life, her relationship with her father, her friends (new and old), and her first love. There are so very many facets to Adios that I could write a small novel just discussing the book. If you've already read the book, or just want spoilers and more discussion on the book, you can hop over to this thread on The Cherry Forums where Adios is the months Book Club Pick. There is also a section devoted just to questions for Ferrer and she will be answering them throughout the week.

Told in First Person Narrative, Adios to My Old Life is the story of Alegria (Ali) Montero as she chases her dream of performing on stage. Ali wants more than anything to be a performer and she sees Oye Mi Canto as her shot. But Ali knows her father would never allow her to audition for Oye Mi Canto. He may be an amazing musician in his own right, but he values teaching above performing, and as a single dad he is very protective of his daughter. So going behind his back, Ali auditions.

When she finds she has made the cut she must convince her dad that she needs to do this. And although we get to see Ali as a musician before this particular part of the book, the way in which Ferrer articulates Ali's desire to perform is so powerful, so real that even if you aren't a musician, you feel it in the pit of your stomach. " Papi...The music...it does feed my heart and soul, in ways that no one but another musician can begin to understand or imagine, but..." I stopped, gathering my thoughts...I walked over to where my Bernabe was propped in its stand..."When I perform, I feel..." I ran my hand along the long neck of the guitar, feeling the satin texture of the wood on the back, the subtle ridges of the frets on the front intersecting with smooth, nylon strings. "...It's just this sense that when I'm up there...I feel alone, I am alone, but it doesn't matter because I'm more myself than at any other time. It's like...I feel complete." Now, I've read this book twice, and I still feel stunned whenever I read this particular passage. As you can tell, I've pieced (as I oft do) together a few paragraphs there, but it doesn't make the imagery or the emotion any less powerful.

So with her dad's permission, Ali sets off on her new adventure. Of course, this is a Latin show, and since Ali is only 17, she will not get to live in the big house with the other contestants, and she'll have to have a chaperon. Thankfully, Elaine, Papi's best friend of over 10 years, agrees to the job.

So with the green light to participate in the show, Ali and Elaine set off everyday to the house where the other contestants are staying. At first, Ali isn't so sure the show is all about the music like she had envisioned. There is make-up and wardrobe, publicity shots and interviews, rehearsals that can go on forever, and some fairly fierce animosity radiating from other contestants. All I wanted was to perform, And not just this trained monkey crap that took up so much time I wasn't even able to sneak off into a corner to practice so much as "Mary Had A Little Lamb."

But, soon the show kicks off and Ali makes it through round after round and she gets to play and sing so much she finds herself needing to rest her voice. But with her continued success on the show, that animosity from other contestants grow, and one in particular can't stand her, and Ali just cannot understand the hate radiating from the other young woman. Fabiana is also from Ali's hometown, and has a much different style. She hates Ali and makes no bones about telling her every chance she can get. "I don't have a problem, but you will if you don't understand how things are. I'm the hometown favorite, not some nenesita who's barely out of diapers. You're nothing more than a novelty, so I'm telling you right now - stay out of my way and all will be fine." Ali does her best to avoid the other woman, but when things start happening to sabotage her performances, Ali knows who's behind it, and makes sure to keep her guard up and stay alert.

But try as they may, no one will sabotage Ali's music. The music feeds her soul, remember, and each performance proves it. With the competition down to three, a rather brutal attempt to destroy Ali's performance almost succeeds. But, Ali isn't a quitter, she started this show and she is going to see it through to the end. With her emotions ripped to shreds over the attack, Ali walks on stage and delivers a moving rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," and it is during this performance that Ali has an eye-opening epiphany, I was a dreamer. No matter what, music would always be my world, my dream, and I hoped that anyone listening could here that. I performed for them. I performed for me.

Ali's musical diversity almost surpasses my own, and I think that's one of the reasons I so loved this book. I love music, I get passionate about music so "hearing" Ali talk about her love of- and devotion to- music I was transported. That's what a great book will do for me. Put me in the shoes of the main character, even if I'm a far cry from the seventeen year old Ali's age, I was Ali while I read Adios. I felt her passion, I understood her pain, and shared her dreams.

Ferrer took the music, which could have been just another plot point, and made it a character. It breathed life into Ali and into the story. While reading Adios you feel the music and the power it has to cheer and console. I could feel the music and I liked it. I loved getting lost in the rhythms, the heady power that music has in my life and the power it has to give memories a special touch, to give solace and to empower.

I loved how - that even though music is the center of the story and it is weaved into Ali's life like the blood pumping through a bodies veins - it blends into the story, meshes with Ali's life as an undercurrent that her life revolves around, instead of being the only aspect of Ali's life it is an extension. That's what good music does, imprints itself into our lives and gives the living that's taking place a soundtrack. It doesn't overpower us, it simply helps us. A good book does the same, and Oye, but Adios has weaved itself into my subconscious and has become a part of me.

In my next post, I will discuss the relationships that Ali forges and her introduction to the life of a celebrity. I told you, this book has it all, and I wasn't even close to kidding.

Have you had a chance to read Adios yet? Want to? Or, have you read Adios but want a signed copy? Well, then do I have a treat for you! Caridad had graciously agreed to send THREE lucky readers a signed copy of Adios! To enter, simply tell us your favorite song and why and you are in! You can leave it as a comment or, as always, e-mail your entry to deeanddeedish@sbcglobal.net , at the end of my first ever FAB week, I'll draw three names for winners. That easy!

And please, don't forget to go over to The Cherry Forums for more discussion on Adios with Caridad!

Take Care

P.S. To support young musicians, please click here.


dee said...

Oh Dee, this was such a beautiful post. It had me reaching for my copy of Adios, yet again! I know that, this very evening, I will be submerged in Ali's life one more time, and it will be MY life as well. Well, I will if I can manage to wrest the book from the clutches of my 14yo. You are so lucky that you don't have to share books yet!

Caridad did such a beautiful job with this book! Ali came alive for me as well. I know what you mean about having a soundtrack for your life, that's exactly how I feel. I can hear a song, even the first few notes of something, and it transports me right back to a specific moment of my life, like a magical, lyrical time machine. And just like Caridad and Ali, I absolutely adore STING!

I know I can't enter the contest, but dangitall, *I* want a signed copy of Adios for my very special bookshelf of signed wunderbooks! It would look so nice right next to my B,G and WTT! Still though, I'll enter my vote for favorite song...

Into The Mystic, by Van Morrison (and who among you that has visited my website didn't see THAT one coming from a country mile away?!?) I've loved that song for so many years. I have about a dozen different recordings of it. My hubs flew me all the way to NYC last year, just to hear Van sing. It speaks to my heart, to a deep place in my soul, and makes me brethless and weepy and filled with hope all at the same time.

Cherry Tea said...

Uh-Unh. If either of us could enter to win it, it would be me of course! I want it! I don't ever want to share my books, man and soon I'll have to cause Miss Beautiful will be all over them! I don't share well, why do you think I let B&N deliver those books to Gret? Cause she has to read it, just not MY copy!

Anonymous said...

" Papi...The music...it does feed my heart and soul, in ways that no one but another musician can begin to understand or imagine, but..." I stopped, gathering my thoughts...I walked over to where my Bernabe was propped in its stand..."When I perform, I feel..." I ran my hand along the long neck of the guitar, feeling the satin texture of the wood on the back, the subtle ridges of the frets on the front intersecting with smooth, nylon strings. "...It's just this sense that when I'm up there...I feel alone, I am alone, but it doesn't matter because I'm more myself than at any other time. It's like...I feel complete."

This was an awesome passage for me. I loved it. I love music. In fact, I love it so much, I'm a fanatic about it. I have to have it. I sleep with it on because I have to hear it all the time. And this... this book... I don't have words to describe what it is to me. If I had a guitar, I would definately play it and be one. But seeing as how I can't even teach myself and because I like my hands just the way they are without scars on them from the bleeding it will undoubtably (sp?) cause, I can't do that. Piano however, I would love to learn. I've already got "tunes" floating around in my head for songs. I'm especially taken with the music from 'Pride and Prejudice'. I just need to get a keyboard to play it. A real one...

But back to the book... It was really good. After I read it, mom (dee) wanted to read it. She "finito-ed" it in a day. After that was done, I loaned it to my best friend whom I loan EVERYTHING I read and she normally likes it to. She'll probably give it to her brother, who is also my friend and who is also a musico freak-o.

But as I said, there are no words to describe how good this book was for me. There just aren't. So you'll have to rely on Charity's word. ;D

Anonymous said...

oopsies. I forgot to tell what and why my favourite song is what it is. bah!

dude! You can't do this to me! You just can't! I have WAAAAAY more than one favourite song and it'll be tough to narrow it down. *curse* it. hmmph. fine. I'll do it.

Here, I'll narrow it down to TWO because they are both my favourite. The first one is a coinky-dink. I liked it before I read the book and still like it after. Rob Thomas's Streetcorner Symphony. Former Matchbox 20-er. hehe. I don't know, I just like it. I heard it on the radio the first time they aired it on that station and they said "Hit or Kick? Call in and tell us what you think!" 'Hit' meaning 'Keep'. 'Kick'... well you know. So, naturally, I called in because I really liked it and told them about why I liked it. It has an up-beat-happy-go-lucky feeling about it that I like because I can listen to it and just... smile everytime I hear it. (good for gettin' out of a 'funk') And I wanna hear it more times than just now. So I think I'm part of the reason that they play it just about every day on that station. I dont know, I like it because it's about unity. Loving everybody, no matter what color, what race, shape, age, religion. Just... being. So yeah...
Come on over
Down to the corner
My sisters and my brothers of every different color
Can't you feel that sunshine telling you to hold tight
Things will be alright
Try to find a better life
Come on over
Down to the corner
My sisters and my brothers there for one another
Come on over
Man I know you wanna let yourself go

The other... *sighs* is, 30 Seconds to Mars 'Attack'. It has... emotion. Other than the fact that I like the band because the lead singer is Jared Leto (watch 'Lord of War'. He's Vitaly), it's a good song. But I liked the song before I learned who he was, so he's just an added bonus to the liking of this song. ;) If you listen to the song, you will probably like it. But you've gotta like the whole grunge/post-grunge/rock thing in order to get the feel of it. So mom, you probably wouldn't like it. (to find the music video to listen to the song, go to www.starpulse.com/Music/30_Seconds_to_Mars/Videos or you can just google it and click on the starpulse link (its about the 8th listing) and 30 secs search-find it. And to find the lyrics, go to www.azlyrics.com/30secondstomars/attack

Just so ya'll know, putting my words onto paper, or onto computer, is NOT my forte. So don't hold it against me please. haha