Rock On by Denise Vega

Title: Rock On: A story of guitars, gigs, girls, and a brother (not necessarily in that order)
Author: Denise Vega
Series: N/A
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: 3/5/2012
Length: 296 pages
Format: Paperback ARC
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Challenges: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK
Rating: ★★★★☆

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 as the mini version of his sports-star brother, 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?

This book was a lot of fun. It definitely contained a conflict, but it was one of those books I knew would turn out fine. What’s so great about it is that there’s some nice character development and it’s perfectly suitable for younger teens. So if you’re one of those parents who stays very conscious of what your child reads, this one is perfect. There’s a few curses and that’s it.

Orion is serious about music. It’s his passion, but he also hides behind it. That’s something he has to work out in the book. I thought it was a great direction for this book to go. He’s pretty insecure when he’s around his brother, Del. Del’s always been the “cool” one, the smooth talker. Music is sort of the only thing Ori has that’s all his own. Things are rough between Ori and Del at the start of this book. Del has somehow screwed things up at college. Ori and his band are really starting to take off. These two things create some animosity between the brothers. I’d say that’s the main plot line of the book. There are a couple of side plots that are somewhat related to Ori and Del’s problems. Ori meets a pretty cool girl, but he doesn’t have much experience in that department. There’s also a little band rivalry going on as they gear up for a Battle of Bands competition.

There are some stellar supporting characters. Alli, Ori’s childhood friend, is definitely the smartest one of the group. I’m going to credit that to the fact that she’s a girl, and girls mature faster than boys. She sees a lot that the boys don’t and she tries to give Ori a lot of guidence. Now, if only he would listen. Gwyn was a big favorite of mine, mainly because she was a deaf bass player. How cool is that? She loves to rock because the music is actually loud enough for her to hear/feel. It’s pretty cool. Jane was a good one too. Though, she was a little bit of a mystery. I also thought she made some questionable choices for someone who seems so intelligent. Either way, she seemed pretty cool, the kind of girl I could hang out with.

Okay, so the plot isn’t exactly gripping or anything. It’s not even original, but it was well done. It’s meant to be a fun book with a littl bit of a message and it accomplishes that. The main characters grow up and learn something. That’s all you could really ask from a book like this. It’s also kind of refreshing to read a teen book that I would actually recommend for a teen. Those are pretty rare these days. Well done, Denise Vega.

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  1. This books sounds fun judging by the title alone. Your review has lead to it going on my wish list. 🙂


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