Rock On by Denise Vega
296 Pages (Hardcover)
March 5, 2012
Ori Taylor is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Band To Be Named Later, a garage band he started with his friends. After years of being known only as the kid brother of sports star Del, Ori is looking forward to stepping out of his older brother's shadow, learning to perform in public, and rocking the Battle of the Bands contest. Oh, and maybe finally working up the nerve to talk to a girl in person instead of just over e-mail. But when Del suddenly returns from college, he expects Ori to step back into his role of little brother, just when Ori is starting to come into his own.
With his confidence wavering, will Ori be able to overcome his stage fright and lead the band to rock glory? Will the Band To Be Named Later ever get a real name? Will their best performances remain in the garage?
Denise Vega's deft exploration of brothers, bands, friends, and crushes promises to have readers tuning in page after page, because among all the ups and downs of being a teen, one thing's for sure: We all just want to rock on.
What comes off as a story of a high school band is really much more. It is a story of brothers trying to make their own names for themselves while struggling to stay friends. This book was sweet, definitely, and fun how it tried to be unique, but somethings I wish the author left out.
This book is narrated by the lead guitarist, Ori Taylor, which was nice. But in between some chapters there would be pages that would be as if the reader was looking at the band's blog. That was cool and different at first, but for me it kind of got annoying. The pages of comments just went off on little tangents, which I guess happens sometimes on the internet, but I didn't want to read a blog - I wanted to read the book. The comment fights were really unnecessary. Some of the comments were fun, because they became involved in the story as well, but the others (like the "bad" commenters, vs. the "good" commenters) got old fast. However, I did enjoy the pages that were like newspaper articles. I appreciated how the book was "stepping out of the box" so to say.
If I was to say "this book is about...." I'd say "brothers". Yes, there is a band, there is romance, there are friends, but the story of brothers is really the most essential plot point. Ori used to be best friends with his brother, but all of sudden it is like he is a different person. He is struggling to get along with him, heck, he's struggling just to be near him. This, lets call it the "hate your sibling stage", is very common (I may be going through that right now...) so it's sometimes nice to read that type of happy ending.
Over all, it was not the story I was expecting, but it was very sweet.