In many regards, The House of Tomorrow isn't a spectacular book. It follows a formula that has become trite in fiction. The story largely rolls out as most readers would expect from a coming-of-age story. Every time a new character pops up, you can guess the role they'll play. Stylistically, The House of Tomorrow doesn't stand out.
Despite its lack of surprises, Peter Bognanni's debut novel is still an interesting and entertaining read. Though it sticks with the formula and is peopled with predictable characters, the plot itself and the characters themselves are a joy to watch. This is a story about punk rock, geodesic domes, hero worship, education, and friendship. There's nothing formulaic about the individual aspects of the story, just the way they interact with one another.
Bognanni does a wonderful job crafting main characters who are believably human despite their strange circumstances. On the flip side, many of the secondary characters are used for irony and laughs. They cross lines, particularly in regards to religion, that make them overdrawn stereotypes. I get it, religion—especially youth groups—can be hypocritical and comical, but the lack of a character who countered this stereotype forced a lopsided story in this regard.
The House of Tomorrow is not one of the more memorable stories I've read of late, but it does stand out. Bognanni nails many of the aspects of adolescence that other authors miss. No, there aren't many surprises or unforgettable scenes, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the ride. I loved these characters and I really enjoyed watching their lives unfold. Despite the heaviness of the plot at times, The House of Tomorrow was a fun read.