About the Book
September 1970: Scott’s mother has recently died and his father gets the crazy idea to move his family from California to Normandy. Now Scott has to learn to live without his mom while adjusting to France. In his seventh grade class there is only Ibrahim who comes from another country. Scott doesn’t even want to play his guitar anymore. Why does his father think that life will be better so far from home?
Scott has no idea that his arrival is also a challenge to Sylvie. While her best friend is excited to have an American boy at school, Sylvie cannot say one word to Scott. She can’t even write good songs in her notebook anymore. Why is life so different since Scott moved to Château Moines?
Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War protest era and told from the perspectives of twelve-year old Scott and Sylvie, this is a story about loss and friendship, music and peace, and also about secrets.
Although this is a work of fiction, the cultural, social, and historical background of the early 1970s in France and the United States inspired the writing. At the end of the book the reader will find a list of the songs, the names of singers, and bands mentioned through the novel as well as some elements about fashion, immigration in France, the Vietnam War, and other cultural, social, and historical facts relevant to the period of time.
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Sylvie Meets Scott for the First Time on Back to School Day (page 13-14)
His faded bell-bottom Levi’s hug his hips, and a turquoise T-shirt matches his eyes. I’ve never been south of France, but Papa has sent me postcards. This boy’s eyes rival the color of the Mediterranean Sea. He doesn’t wear any socks with his Indian-style sandals. He’s got a perfectly worn-out army bag with buttons and badges. I recognize the peace sign and the names of big American cities, which make me feel small and ignorant. A pair of roller skates is tied to the straps of his bag. With his shaggy haircut, he belongs more in Mademoiselle magazine than in Chateau Moines middle school. I must have looked as stunned as Saint Bernadette when she saw the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, because Scott points at his chest.
“Je suis Scott Sweet,” he says with the same exotic accent.
“Non, non.” Annie switches to a patient tone. “In French, you say: ‘Je m’appelle Scott Sweet.’”
Scott flashes a Paul Newman smile. “Juh mahpell Scott Sweet,” he repeats.
I’m positive that I am hallucinating, but when I peek, the new boy is standing one meter away from me. A nice but strange smell wafts to my nose. I must have flared my nostrils, because Scott says, “Patchouli.”
Despite his smile, he looks confused, and I wonder how it feels to be the new kid at school and to be a foreigner.
Annie turns to me and clasps her hands together.
“We have a new boy at school,” she says. “And he speaks French with an American accent! J’adore!”
I don’t adore Annie at all right now, but I can’t blame her. She saw him first at the bakery. Then she found his name on the list. And she can speak some English.
For some reason, I have the feeling that this first day of school marks the beginning of a lot of unpleasant firsts.
About the Author
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