Review: The Tunes of Lenore by J.T. Blossom


Book Details:

Ella is sixteen and her ultra-progressive parents are getting a divorce.

Reluctantly, she is headed to boarding school on a remote ranch where things are so rustic she’ll have to chop her own firewood just to take a hot shower. 

Surprisingly, the boys are hot there too, and soon her troubles at home are not nearly as complicated as her new relationships.

On her side, an old fiddle that provides unusual visions, and an insightful golden retriever named Jenny who can communicate like no other dog in the world.

On the other side, snakes, a troubled teacher, and a wild night in a tent she will remember forever.

Book Review:

The Tunes of Lenore is a beautiful book encompassing music, physics, dogs, ecology, farming, ranches, mechanics, nature, boarding school, sustainable living, farming, biology, research, and literature. It is a beautifully written book and one that I really enjoyed reading, and I'm sure you would too.

It is set in the not-too-distant future, and environmental protection and ecology make up an important part of the story. Almost like it is an important character itself. The titular Lenore is a fiddle owned by Ella Bradley, our wonderful protagonist. She is a wonderful human being with goodness in her heart. If you think she's just another sulky teenager at the outset, you'll realise once Jenny (her dog) and Lenore (the aforementioned fiddle) come up in the story that Ella is anything but a regular teenager. You will come to like her even more as you read more of this book. Jenny is a very special dog, and I don't want to talk more about it because it's best if you read and see for yourself. The pictures in this book are beautiful too. It adds another dimension to the story and is a unique concept.

What I really appreciated was that even though Ella had such wonderful gifts, she still was not shown as a perfect specimen of adolescence. She had a well developed character arc and grew as a person through the progress of the book. She still had her moods and flaws and foibles and moments of insecurity, making her quite relatable to any teens reading this book.

In fact I would recommend this book to impressionable teenagers. It shows you how life is better when you take time to know yourself, are passionate about your choices, and work on all-round development. Even apart from the environmental angle, which is also a really good thing for kids to know, implement and work towards. We know global warming is a real issue today, and in the timeline this book is set in, it has been exacerbated.

Also, the sheer breadth of knowledge across various areas in this book is just beautiful. I salute the author's depth of learning and I hope people who read this book may find something or the other that interests them, to carry forward with their own learning and research. And in that way, this author has done a wonderful service to all their readers, by giving them something they might come to love. I, for one, am going to try and wake up earlier and get more fit. Also, re-read Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. And maybe some more of her books too. You'll know what I mean when you read it.

While the book was so interesting I could have read it in just a day, duty and life responsibilities did not allow it. Books like these make me want to read for a living. It was a wonderful coming-of-age novel with a well formed ensemble of characters. Her parents her teachers, friends, classmates, all wonderfully written people with real personalities. And again, Jenny is the best dog ever. Whether you're a teen or adult, you're going to love it.

*A review copy was provided to Oh Just Books by the author in exchange for an honest review* 

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