Urban, L. (2009). A crooked kind of perfect. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Zoe dreams of being able to play the piano. When her quirky father goes out and buys her an organ instead, she has a hard time seeing herself making it to Carnegie Hall anymore. Fortunately, the organ came with lessons and Zoe discovers she might have a gift after all. Zoe enters an organ competition and she discovers a whole new world she never knew about.
The evaluative criteria of theme and gender are exemplified in A Crooked Kind of Perfect. We are introduced to a quirky little girl that is hell-bent on learning the piano. When she is presented with an organ instead, she learns to overcome and actually exceed expectation. She perseveres through hard times and becomes a strong person, at times even being the adult in the situation. Readers will find her struggles to be liked meaningful and valid. Linda Urban shirks certain gender roles in this book. Zoe’s mom appears to be the main breadwinner in the family. Her father enjoys baking and staying home (albeit because of his anxiety). Zoe finds herself more comfortable hanging out with the boys in school, and even admits to finding herself a boy best friend. We see a lot of role reversal in A Crooked Kind of Perfect.