The Great Big One

­Little, Brown. Jul. 2021. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780759555396.
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Griffin Tripp did not expect to find something as hauntingly beautiful as the music in his small coastal community of Clade City. He just wanted to be part of the band with his controlling twin brother Leo, his best friend Thomas, and especially his summertime crush, Charity Simms. However, when their obsession to find the source of the music, and the band playing it, turns to tragedy, Griff has to decide for himself what is truly important—sinking into his community’s doomsday prepper lifestyle or rising up and discovering what living really means. His journey will lead him to discover the power of music, loss, love, and life but it may also lead him to destruction. There is a lot going on in this book and it takes its time to get to the action. It is divided into three musical parts: an Overture, Andante, and Scherzo. The narrative mirrors these three divisions, which hinders the pace of the story. That said, there is a great deal of compelling character development that takes place during these parts. It is during the Scherzo that the action and the characters coalesce; new, diverse, and interesting characters are introduced and the story reaches a relatively satisfying ending, though some readers might wish a few elements of the conclusion had been more fleshed out. Griff, Leo, and Thomas are white, and Charity is Dominican and Black.
VERDICT This story, with its slow start but a satisfactory payoff, will find an audience in teens with a sense of wanderlust and an itch for adventure.

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