To strangers, growing up the daughter of rock stars Meg and Kieran Ferris seems like a life of fame and adventure. But high school senior Phoebe, who would rather write a lyric than carry a tune, feels both caught in the middle and left out of the talent and drive of her musical family. In Janet McNally’s debut novel, Phoebe searches for her place within her broken family and the world beyond.
Finding out the truth about herself is difficult, however, when her mother remains silent on why she left the rock world and notoriety to raise children in Buffalo, New York; she hears her father’s new songs on the radio but hasn’t seen him in three years; and her older sister, Luna, appears to be following their mother’s footsteps, dropping out of college to tour with her own band.
Just before school starts, Meg sends Phoebe to New York City to try to convince Luna to return to her studies. Instead, Phoebe spends this time reconnecting with Kieran and trying to figure out love, loss, family and friendship. It’s all great fodder for lyrics, which the teen’s secretly sending to the bassist—and potential boyfriend—in Luna’s band. Periodic chapters told in Meg’s voice further reveal that Phoebe may be more like her mother than she ever considered.
In this beautifully layered story with understated imagery, McNally’s biting realism leaves readers with hope and resilience to ponder rather than solve all of Phoebe’s unanswered questions.