Book Review: The House of Tomorrow – Peter Bognanni

Title: The House of Tomorrow
Author: Peter Bognanni
ISBN: 9780399156090
Pages: 368
Release Date: March 4, 2010
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

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.

Review:

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.

Comments

  1. I feel exactly the same way.

    Have you read FINNY yet by Justin Kramon? They both are my “you must read this” picks of 2010 and have very similar vibes.

    This review comes at a good time, because I passed along House of Tomorrow to a friend, telling her she’d either love it or she wouldn’t, and she put it aside. She said she just “didn’t care about the characters.” Didn’t care? They were delightful! I’m not sure I cared about the story at first, but I cared about those characters!

    My book blog: 5 Minutes for Books

  2. I feel exactly the same way.

    Have you read FINNY yet by Justin Kramon? They both are my “you must read this” picks of 2010 and have very similar vibes.

    This review comes at a good time, because I passed along House of Tomorrow to a friend, telling her she’d either love it or she wouldn’t, and she put it aside. She said she just “didn’t care about the characters.” Didn’t care? They were delightful! I’m not sure I cared about the story at first, but I cared about those characters!

    My book blog: 5 Minutes for Books

  3. So glad you liked this Amy Einhorn book. I still haven’t read it, but hope to do so this fall.

  4. So glad you liked this Amy Einhorn book. I still haven’t read it, but hope to do so this fall.

  5. The concept for the novel is rather intriguing. Seeing those who’ve been isolated develop friendships with “outsiders” is such a specific and interesting situation.

  6. The concept for the novel is rather intriguing. Seeing those who’ve been isolated develop friendships with “outsiders” is such a specific and interesting situation.

  7. There is always room for unique and lovable in the reading schedule. I don’t think I can remember a bad review of this one, which is what I’ve come to expect of all Aimy Einhorn books.

  8. There is always room for unique and lovable in the reading schedule. I don’t think I can remember a bad review of this one, which is what I’ve come to expect of all Aimy Einhorn books.

  9. Oh, this does sound like a really promising book and like one I’d really like. I think the angle of the very sheltered boy coming into the world and learning to be a normal teenager sounds really intriguing. I will have to try this one! Thanks for the great review!

  10. Oh, this does sound like a really promising book and like one I’d really like. I think the angle of the very sheltered boy coming into the world and learning to be a normal teenager sounds really intriguing. I will have to try this one! Thanks for the great review!

  11. I really liked this and was sad when it ended, as well. The characters were very real and the writing was very natural.

  12. I really liked this and was sad when it ended, as well. The characters were very real and the writing was very natural.

  13. This is one of my favorite books this year, so I’m so glad you liked it too!

  14. This is one of my favorite books this year, so I’m so glad you liked it too!

  15. I feel that everyone who reads this book loves it! And yet… I don’t know, it STILL doesn’t really appeal to me. Eek, there must be something wrong with me!

  16. I feel that everyone who reads this book loves it! And yet… I don’t know, it STILL doesn’t really appeal to me. Eek, there must be something wrong with me!

  17. I got this book from Vine after I read Jen’s review and I still haven’t read it. I need to move it up in my TBR pile!

  18. I got this book from Vine after I read Jen’s review and I still haven’t read it. I need to move it up in my TBR pile!

  19. This book sounds intriguing. I actually know a couple who live in a geodesic dome. The wife is English and my mom says it is a little disconcerting to be in such a modern house with chintz furniture, teapots, and floral wallpaper.

    My parents also took me to hear Buckminster Fuller when I was a small child. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a thing he said.

  20. This book sounds intriguing. I actually know a couple who live in a geodesic dome. The wife is English and my mom says it is a little disconcerting to be in such a modern house with chintz furniture, teapots, and floral wallpaper.

    My parents also took me to hear Buckminster Fuller when I was a small child. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a thing he said.

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