Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: Rock on By Denise Vega

I tried…I really did. At first glace of the cover, this book should have been right up my alley!  (Aside from the green on the cover, but that’s my issue and has nothing to do with the text.)

On the plus side…the book has some strong points. I really admire any woman who can  effectively write in the “voice” of a teenage boy and she hits the thoughts and fantasy of every  high school guitar god well…However, it felt like the story is lost in a jumble of subplots more complicated than a Jimi Hendrix solo. Rock On is the story of “guitars, gigs, girls and a brother (though not necessarily in that order)” according to the cover, but the thing is it feels like you’re never going to find out what order it’s supposed to be in. Ori is the leader of an un-named band (a fact that bugged me to death because EVERY band makes naming itself a priority) who freezes during what is supposed to be their first big gig when his brother Del walks into the room. Now WHY the brother (with whom he was previously very close to) is this kid’s kryptonite is a mystery that takes the length of a Bible to uncover.

I understand not wanting to give it all away: The kids were close. The brother went to college. The brother screwed up. The brother came back with an attitude, but just tell it, you know? The band is plagued with finding a new bass player, Ori is falling for a young female poet and at 173 pages in I wanted to say, “Where is this going, people?”

Some of this I DO throw up to my age. I have a feeling this might resonate a little bit better with the younger set than the older “been there, done that” group who realizes that sooner or later you get over your stage fright, brothers will always be brothers and no matter how the songs change, they tend to stay the same. Because I am a sucker for a rock and roll novel…I say if you like music-check it out at the library and enjoy it. You’ll appreciate the vibe of the book. This week…I say Borrow It!


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