The Book Stack: A Couple of ROCKIN’ Books

ROCK ON by Denise Vega, Little, Brown and Company (2012)

I added three more YA books to my reader’s notebook this week. I’ll be sharing another of them later, but today I only want to focus on one. The past several YA books I’ve read have left me a little disappointed. They just didn’t feel genuine. All in all, they left me feeling like the writer rushed the process.

So I was relieved to finish ROCK ON:  A STORY OF GUITARS, GIGS, GIRLS, AND A BROTHER (NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER) by Denise Vega, because the story felt right. I was satisfied at the end because it felt like everything worked together. Nothing was left nitpicking the corner of my brain.

The story was told through narrative, text messages, song lyrics, and blog posts, including comments (!). We follow Ori on his journey to Battle of the Bands. This story is about more than the Battle though, as Ori learns to be himself in the shadow of a once cool older brother who is now just a jerk. The story continues to spin, giving us glimpses of Ori’s friends, his family, and ultimately the relationship with his brother.

Unfortunately this book doesn’t come out until March, so you may want to check out FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John. I loved this book too, because of the characters and because of a glimpse into rock history. In FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, Piper is deaf and managing a rock band, Dumb. If you’ve not read FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, I’d definitely encourage you to add it to your list.

FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John Antony John. Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

I’m realizing I like it when books take me into another world. BUNHEADS did this and so does ROCK ON. Even though I don’t have a lot of background knowledge for Battle of the Bands and high school garage bands, I easily slipped into Ori’s world. It’s the small details that make this happen…and the kind of details I want to learn to include in my fiction.

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