AKA Vanilla

Katy is the child of two previously drug-addicted punks living in Montreal with her reformed archaeologist mom. When Mom goes on a two-week excavation to Peru, Katy has no choice but to spend the time with her deadbeat drummer dad, The Rat, in LA.

A fish out of water, yes: Katy isn't a total square; punk is just not her scene. Of course, some people—like Lake, the Rat's bandmate's daughter—think that means she's totally boring, i.e. Beige.

I found Katy a really relate-able heroine, maybe because she is kind of plain. We can't all be rebels! It's all about discovering what gives you your color, just like in Pleasantville. My other favorite character was Garth Vader, who's a skater, funny, adorable and sweet.

Also, I thought it was neat that the book got a back-cover blurb from Melissa Auf der Maur, my favorite Montreal/LA music chick. Then I realized Cecil Castellucci name-checks her as one of Lake's lady rocker idols. Maybe they are friends? CC also pays tribute to Elliott Smith (and all the bands on Garth's punk rock primer mix via the chapter titles). Can't complain about that.