Title: The House of Tomorrow
Author: Peter Bognanni
Release Date: March 4, 2010
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Sebastian lives in a geodesic dome designed by Buckminister R. Fuller. Since it was the first geodesic dome built in Iowa, it’s something of a tourist attraction. Sebastian’s parents are dead, so he lives only with his eccentric grandmother, cut off from the rest of the world. However, everything changes in an instant when Sebastian’s grandmother has a stroke. He connects with Jared Whitcomb, a punk teen who was visiting the dome when Sebastian’s grandmother fell ill. Sebastian’s relationship with the Whitcomb family will change everything and open his eyes to the world around him.
The House of Tomorrow is a creative and interesting novel about one boy’s search for a sense of self and a place to belong. Sebastian is a strange boy. From his awkward inability to handle himself in social situations, one might assume he’s a high functioning autistic, but that clearly isn’t the case. Sebastian simply has never been socialized. He was homeschooled by his grandmother in the geodesic dome, and she has never given him the opportunity to interact with other people his own age. The only time he talks to people other than his grandmother are his brief interactions in the dome’s gift shop, which he handles. Therefore, meeting Jared really broadens Sebastian’s worldview as he tries to have a normal friendship with a boy his own age.
Sebastian is a completely charming, wildly innocent boy. He doesn’t want to defy his grandmother by being friends with someone outside the dome, yet he can’t resist the allure of the Whitcombs. Through his interactions with them, he begins to understand what it means to be a teenager. He establishes his own sense of self that’s separate from his life at the dome. Bognanni writes Sebastian’s voice very well, and he is an excellent narrator.
The House of Tomorrow centers around music, yet it’s not a book about music. It focuses on music’s ability to bring people together and heal them. Jared listens to music in order to escape the misery of his every day life. He and Sebastian play music so that they can express themselves and deal with their frustrations at what life has thrown at them. It added an extra layer to the sweet, true friendship between Sebastian and Jared.
If you can’t tell, I really adored The House of Tomorrow. It was so unique and lovable. Every second I spent with it was enjoyable and I’m so sorry it’s over. This is a book I’ll be handselling for the foreseeable future; I can’t wait to see what Bognanni comes up with for his next book.