This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, “Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.” It appears in volume 15.3.
The Vinyl Princess
The Vinyl Princess rocks! Yvonne Prinz’s new novel made me want to haul out the turntable, dust off my LPs, and return to the care and devotion that listening used to entail. I have to admit that the “shuffle” option on the iPod annoys me; it should only work on playlists, not albums. The sense of artistry that goes into making an album, or any thoughtfully produced collection of songs, comes through strongly in this text. It is a part of musical composition that few young people today would understand, let along be able to replicate. What would Dire Straits’s Love Over Gold be without “Telegraph Road,” or Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story without “Maggie May”? The Vinyl Princess exposes readers to an aspect of musical appreciation that transcends eras; the music is from before I was born, from my youth, my adolescence, from my adulthood. Any reader who loves music—whatever music—will be able to relate to the characters in this novel.
More specifically, while I did question the authenticity of a teenaged girl today engaging with the songs of my youth in this way, once I stopped into an indy record shop on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive—our parallel to Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue—my skepticism was assuaged. The clientele was exactly as Prinz described: the aficionados were not my generation, but much younger, keen on preserving the music and the artistic integrity of the past. And Allie in the novel is not presented as mainstream youth, but as seriously alternative… a very empowering message for any young reader to take away: You might be different, but if you know yourself and are true to yourself, you will be strong enough to survive—joyfully—the vagaries of this world. Rock on, Vinyl Princess!