Review: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Book/Author: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Publisher/Year: Putnam Adult 2010
Genre: Adult Fiction (but I think it would have great crossover appeal for readers of Young Adult Literature)

The House of Tomorrow is about a teen boy named Sebastian who lives with his grandmother in this dome on top of a hill. His grandma is way into Futurism and the teachings of Buckminster Fuller and so he is certifiably an oddball character as he is homeschooled and has been brought up in a very unconventional, quirky way with very little interaction with other people and certainly not any kids his own age. This all changes when a scary event leads him to the Whitcombs who have a boy Sebastian’s age who on the outside is a punk loving kid with a bad attitude.

I wanted to love this book more than I did. This was the sort of book that was like, “Ok good book. Glad I read it. But I wish I felt more about it than I actually do…or probably should.” I think maybe it was the hype I had seen for it..I don’t know. I really enjoyed the character of Sebastian because he certainly could be King of the Oddballs and I think that anyone who really enjoys genuinely quirky characters would fall in love with him! I really loved the relationship between Sebastian and Jared because they are both such outcasts in their own way and have both understood what it is like to live a bit of a sheltered life. All of the characters were really lively in fact and I loved Sebastian’s interactions with them all. Even the briefest of characters were written with such extraordinary depth – like the record shop owner or the kids in the youth group. I loved how music just pulsed through this book – the love and appreciation for it, that first time discovery of music that is able to awaken every sense within you and the bond that a mutual love for creating music and listening to music can form.

While I thought the whole Futurism thing was interesting as part of the plot, I felt some of the book got bogged down by it while I was reading it. I felt like I was getting some info dumps that I just didn’t care about. I wanted to get into the heart of a story rather than learn about these teachings. Get past that first part that had a lot of the teachings and it gets much more interesting but they really did slow me down. I also felt like there was something deep and profound I was supposed to be taking away from the book, and while I did find a few nuggets, I mostly felt like it’s the type of book that could easily be one of those ones that are overhyped for how profound it is. Like, “omg look how deep I am!”

The Final Thought: The House of Tomorrow really was a good read but not the great read that I had hoped it would be. I am glad that I picked it up! There is something quite profound within the pages and Bognanni is a really great writer whose style I could see being really popular. It kind of reminds me of books like The Catcher in the Rye or like The Perks of Being A Wallflower with the characters and the coming of age story. If you love music (especially punk rock!) this book would be a really excellent read!

three-stars
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