The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters – M.J. Beaufrand
In Portland in 1983, girls are disappearing. Noah, a teen punk with a dark past, becomes obsessed with finding out where they’ve gone—and he’s convinced their disappearance has something to do with the creepy German owners of a local brewery, the PfefferBrau Haus. Noah worries about the missing girls as a way of avoiding the fact that something’s seriously wrong with his best friend, Evan. Could it be the same dark force that’s pulling them all down?
When the PfefferBrau Haus opens its doors for a battle of the bands, Noah pulls his band, the Gallivanters, back together in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there’s a new addition to the band: an enigmatic David Bowie look-alike named Ziggy. And secrets other than where the bodies are buried will be revealed. From Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand, this is a story that gets to the heart of grief and loss while also being hilarious, fast paced, and heartbreaking.
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
Well, first I’d say that it wasn’t “hilarious”. I mean, it has its moments, but it wasn’t a knee-slapper by any means.
The formatting was off too, which bothered me to no end, but that’s what happens in galleys, I guess.
What I liked:
-Evan, Noah’s best friend. He was tragic but somewhat heroic and of all the characters, I liked him the most. I guessed his character arc was going to be sad and I was right, but my affection for him made the ending all the more poignant.
-I also liked Noah’s sister Cilla and wished she had had a bigger part to play.
-the fact that they were in a punk band. These are my people (well, these are the people I wish were my people), and I’ve always loved stories where one or more characters are in a band.
-the darker story line of the disappearing girls. This wasn’t just a light-hearted battle-of-the-bands story, it had depth and a mystery and creepy villainous characters (the Pfeffer brothers were gross).
-same with Noah’s back story (an abusive father who ended up committing suicide). It gave Noah a darker edge and gave the reader insight into his personality so that you didn’t just see him as a kid who was acting out for no good reason.
What I didn’t like:
-there were some really gross descriptions. While it was definitely effective (and memorable), I’m sure I spent part of my subway ride alternating between screwing up my nose in disgust and puffing out of my cheeks in a “I may vomit” way.
-the Marr. I had an inkling of what the Marr was (or what it was supposed to represent) about halfway through the book, and I got where the author was trying to go with it, but it felt out of place. I think if the book had had a more whimsical tone, it would have worked well, otherwise it was confusing and made the book seem more “fantastical” (i.e. fantasy-based) than it actually was.
-same with Ziggy – he threw me off for most of the book, and while I appreciated who he ended up being, there were many “what the heck is going on” moments leading up to that reveal.
Overall, this book sort of reminded me of Leander Watts’ Beautiful City of the Dead, one of those random books that I don’t remember buying but it ended up affecting me (or at least making me think). I don’t know if Gallivanters will have the same staying power (in my mind) as Beautiful City of the Dead, but it definitely had me hooked until the end.