Deb Caletti is the author of some truly excellent realistic fiction for teens. While her stories predominantly feature girls and often contain romantic elements, when I wrote my booktalk for Wild Roses I chose to emphasize Cassie’s family crisis rather than the bittersweet romance that followed. Of course, without the family crisis, the romance wouldn’t have been nearly as bittersweet …
Oh, and this is an example of a first-person booktalk (although the audience doesn’t realize that right away, which can catch them off guard in a good way).
Dino Cavalli was a genius. He had more talent than most people on earth. He was a composer and a violinist, and the music he created was so amazing that it would give you goose bumps just to hear it. When you watched him perform, there was so much energy on stage that you felt like you had to hold on to something. He was wild and passionate, like a meteor or a bolt of lightning. The only thing about Dino Cavalli that was more powerful than his talent was his anger, and God help you if you got on his bad side. Dino Cavalli was beloved by millions, but he was known by very few. I was one of those people. Dino Cavalli was my stepfather, and living with a genius wasn’t as great as you might imagine. In fact, it was almost impossible. His perfectionism could shatter your joy like a bullet through a stained glass window.
This is the story of my mom and me before and after Dino Cavalli, how he changed our lives … and almost destroyed them.