02 January 2012

(ARC) YA Book Review: Rock On by Denise Vega

Release Date: 5 March 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

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Goodreads description:
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?

My Thoughts...
Stepping into the world of high school friendships, romance, and sibling drama that Denise Vega has created is like walking into a world that you're already familiar with.  The characters are very realistic and easy to relate to--they could just be another group of kids at your high school--and the story has something for everyone. Whether your in it for the romance or the rivalry, you won't walk away disappointed.

Ori always looked up to his brother going up, but after being put on academic probation and returning home from college, Del has been a different person and Ori doesn't want to live in his shadow any more--especially not when it comes to Jane.  Ori is a very typical high school boy with lots of talent and big dreams  I enjoyed him as the narrator quite a bit and I think he would be a difficult character NOT to like.

Del, his brother, was interesting to try to figure out.  From the beginning it's obvious that Ori used to practically worship him and something has clearly changed.  I felt like the mystery behind his actions made me curious about him.  At the same time, there were definitely moments when I simply couldn't stand the guy.  By the end, however, he did some redeeming things that made me glad I didn't give up on him entirely.
Ori's group of friends were also fun to read about and I loved the little insights that we got throughout into their characters.  While they weren't as developed as some side characters are, I didn't feel like they were throwaway characters at all.  Each character has a role to play in Ori's story and there would have been holes had they not been present.  Alli was probably my favorite side character.  I loved that she was the girl next door who'd been friends with the MC forever but she wasn't the love interest.  It took away that predictable angle.  The actual love interest was cute and sweet...and made me want to strangle her a little at points.  I did like the unique angle of their new bassist being a girl and a little different but what makes her different seemed like a detail just thrown in there for the sake of having it there.

Rock On is a fun YA contemporary read that comes off as a very realistic story without seeming forced.  Even the parts of the story that are told via blog entries and comments don't seem out of place in the story and while I initially thought I would find them annoying, I ended up liking them--they didn't interrupt the flow the way I thought they would.  I think that this is another great YA entry with a realistic male narrator and a fun storyline.  I guess the only thing that strikes me after reading this is that I don't find it to be an overly memorable read.  The story is fun and the characters are enjoyable, but the novel as a whole didn't leave that big of an impression on me.

2 comments:

Giselle said...

Oh this sounds right up my alley! I've been ore into contemp lately but some of them do seem forced or over the top so I def. have to check this one out! Excellent review Jessi!

Giselle
Xpresso Reads

Danny Bookworm said...

Ok male narration is always something I enjoy!! And. there aren't enough contemporary stories that catch my intertest! This one sounds great so, I will add it to my shelf! Thanks! 

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