Synopsis: She walks in with her music, and walks out with his wallet Kaz Barrett should be saving for college. Instead, he saves his pay from the Sit’N’Spin Laundromat to send his mother to a very expensive sleep clinic in New York. His mother suffers from a rare neurological disorder, and both Kaz and his kid sister worry that one day, maybe tomorrow, their mother will fall asleep and never wake up.
But when pink-haired Zoey walks past the laundromat’s window, Kaz’s ordered life begins spinning out of control. Smart, mysterious, and full of music, Zoey is unlike anyone Kaz has met…but there’s another side to her that he can’t quite figure out. When he goes looking for answers, he finds a whirlwind of lies, half-truths, and violence.
Huge thank you to Flux and Netgalley for this ARC!
Blues for Zoey was an unexpected book for me. When Kaz introduced the story as a puzzle, I was a bit nervous at the challenge level the story could face (I admit to be dippy when it comes to puzzles). However, something about his voice just pulled me into the story and I found myself floating along to the words on the page.
Kaz and Zoey really interesting protagonists if only because they have so gross similarities but are also drastically different. Kaz wants to earn money to help his mother with her sleep disorder and Zoey wants to grift people for the sake of her own survival and because of a huge spoiler. That being said, these are wonderfully well fleshed out characters who do feel like real teenagers who are living on hard times. The novel does a great job of building these characters up, and having them fall so hard that it’s difficult to get back up and keep going.
I wish more had been done with the backstory at times. There’s parts where it just ends up in your face and it feels like it’s missing some context. The insertion of it felt a bit awkward. Sometimes I was a little confused as to where the puzzle was going to move, it’s definitely a book you can’t just nod in and out of because it’s easy to missing things.
I really enjoyed the build to the ending, and even the ending itself. It was interesting to see in such a short period of time what happened to everyone living around the laundromat, and I was a bit surprised by some of the fates of the other characters within the story. I feel like Blues for Zoey is a great story that really does do a great job of keeping you guessing from start to finish.