Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Sixteen-year-old Sibilance T. Spooner, the narrator of Midnight Hour Encores, considers herself a self-made young woman, even having chosen her own name. A musical prodigy whose talent and hard work has made her one of the world’s greatest cellists, she has spent most of her life with Taxi, her unconventional father who publishes an environmental newsletter from their Washington, D.C., home. Although Taxi has always told Sibilance that he will take her to see her mother in San Francisco whenever she wants to go, Sib has never shown much interest in the woman she last saw on January 1, 1970, when she was twenty hours old.

At sixteen, having tested out of her senior year of high school and ready to attend the Juilliard School of Music in the fall, Sib finally tells Taxi that she wants to see her mother. Sib’s real reason for wanting to go to San Francisco, however, involves an audition at the Phrygian Institute, a prestigious music school, that she has secretly arranged for herself. If she is successful in the audition, she hopes to study under Professor Dzyga, a brilliant cellist who has defected from the Soviet Union and whose music Sib knows only from a few recordings that she has painstakingly hunted down.

Taxi uses their cross-country trip in an old, green Volkswagen bus to try to teach Sibilance about the 1960’s, the hippie lifestyle, and her mother. Sib, however, is sarcastic during the planning phase for the trip, rejects...

(The entire section is 544 words.)