Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Review: Rock On by Denise Vega

 Source: Received from Hachette Book Group Canada for an honest review.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Already Released
Number of Pages: 296 (Hardcover) | 304 (Paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:
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.

I've mentioned that I love music, so I pretty much jump at the chance to read anything music-related that I can get my hands on, and in the case of Rock On, I'm extremely glad that I did! :D

One thing that I absolutely loved about Rock On was that it was from a teen boy's perspective, which I found really interesting...I also absolutely loved Ori (or Orion) and his passion for music! :D Ori was pretty much a prodigy and had been playing guitar for years. I was never a prodigy myself and only played the saxophone for a brief while, but Ori's passion totally made me wish that I could play like that...or that I had actually tried to learn to play better. :P

I also loved that Rock On didn't stick to one type of storytelling. Instead there were blog posts and updates for the band through the Battle of the Bands website, which I thought was a fantastic touch! I especially loved that you could see the comments of the people visiting their made me wish that it was an interactive website that I could've actually checked out. :P There were also flashbacks, which I didn't enjoy as much as the blog, but they were alright. I found the switch to a different type of perspective a bit strange, but I did like getting to see into Ori's past and to see how his relationship with his brother, Del, was like before.

My favourite part about Rock On was Ori himself. I just loved his character. I did want to nudge him in the right direction every once in a while though. :P His relationship with his brother, Del, was probably the biggest conflict throughout the book, and like one of his best friends, Allie, I just wanted him to talk to his brother and work things out. His brother was kind of a big butthead, but being closer to Del in age, I could totally understand why he was acting out. It still didn't justify it though. I really felt for the two brothers, and I liked that the conflict between them was realistic. It added a completely different side to the story, one that I didn't really expect to be so prominent, but still thoroughly enjoyed. I also really liked the side characters, and getting to see Ori stop being so awkward with girls. It was great seeing him get out of his shell. :)

Overall, I really liked Rock On. I thought that it was an interesting perspective on music, and I liked that it was unique. I've definitely never read another story that was anything like this one. I especially enjoyed the characters. Not only was Ori a great main character, but the supporting characters were fantastic as well. Right from all of their entrances, each of the characters were so fully defined, and I thought that was fabulous. :D I'd recommend this one if you like music, and if you're into stories that cover all the bases from romance to sibling drama, to stage fright, to trying to come into yourself and out of your sibling's shadow.

What do you think? Does Rock On sound like something you'd enjoy?

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