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Katy’s summer vacation is not exactly what she had in
mind. When her mother goes to Peru for an archaeological dig, Katy
is exiled from her beloved home of Montreal to crazy Los Angeles
with her stranger-than-strange father, who she hasn’t seen
since she was seven years old. The last time he visited her and her
mom, he was caught trying to bring drugs into Canada. Now
he’s banned from that country for life.

Both Katy’s parents are recovering addicts who met in the
world of sex, drugs and rock ’n roll. Beau Ratner (aka
“The Rat”) was the drummer for the infamous band, Suck.
When her mother (who was a groupie) got pregnant, she moved to
Montreal and got clean. It took years for The Rat to give up drugs,
and his only real relationship with his daughter has been through
emails, phone calls and letters.

Katy feels like a fish out of water in L.A. She is a nice, polite
girl who smiles even when she’s unhappy. She doesn’t
like music and would rather spend her time reading books from the
library. When she first sees her dad’s band perform at a
party, she feels sick. “They yell beside me and around me
while I shrink to the smallest size I ever was. Small like a child.
Like a frightened mouse.”

The Rat’s best friend and bandmate, Sam Suck, has a teenage
daughter, Lake, who gets bribed with gift certificates to Guitar
Center to spend time with Katy. Lake Suck is into music, has her
own band and writes manifestos on her rehearsal space’s wall.
As a commentary on Katy’s very unpunkrock style, Lake
nicknames her “Beige.” And in L.A. that is exactly how
Katy feels. Very, very beige.

As her summer unfurls, however, Katy encounters many surprises. She
learns more about her family history and her father, but also
realizes that she doesn’t have to be that polite, smiling,
beige girl all the time. Maybe it’s okay to live the punk
rock lifestyle every once in a while and let things out.

BEIGE is a quirky, fun read with characters that burst off the
page. The plight of Katy is sad yet funny, and will grip readers
from start to finish. The multitalented Cecil Castellucci is a
musician herself who clearly knows the music-related material well,
which makes the story truly realistic. Teens will enjoy the
mix-CD-type chapter heads that list names of artists and songs.
Also, there is a bit of punk rock history scattered throughout the


Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 18, 2011

by Cecil Castellucci

  • Publication Date: May 8, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763630667
  • ISBN-13: 9780763630669