Book Review: Rock On by Denise Vega

book reviewing-01

rock onTitle: Rock On
Author: Denise Vega
Date(s) read: July 24, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (Paperback)


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.

my thoughts-01

Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for a copy of this for review!

It’s no secret that I love books about music. Some of them I can really identify with and other’s I have a hard time connecting with, but I can still really appreciate the story.

Rock On was an interesting story. I loved the music talk and the songwriting, but something kept me disconnected from the story. It could have been because the main character was Ori, a guy, or it could have been because I was always a solo musician and couldn’t really connect with the band aspect. Either way, while I did enjoy the story, there were a few faults that I couldn’t help but notice throughout.

One of the big themes in this story is sibling rivalry between Ori and Del. I did appreciate most of what was going on with this theme, but sometimes I felt like it came on too strong. I just wasn’t a bit fan of Del’s character throughout most of the book. Even though I got where he was coming from, feeling like a failure, I felt like a lot of his actions were annoying, really turning me off of his character. Being the older brother, I kind of wanted him to act like it.

The writing was an interesting mix between storytelling and blog posts, news articles, etc. I kind of liked that the latter was included, but sometimes felt myself longing to just have the story. There were also flashbacks to Ori and Del’s childhood, which weren’t told in first person narrative, like the rest of the story, and it was kind of jarring. It was interesting to see the background to Ori and Del’s story.

I did like the cast of characters in the story for the most part (not including my previously mentioned issues). There was some humour in the story, mixed with a bit of romance, which was nice. And it was nice to see some girl power in the band — especially in the new member.

This really wasn’t my favourite music book, but it is something that I’ll remember. Perhaps more for teenage boys than girls, it’s a story of sibling rivalry, following your dreams, and staying true to yourself and your goals.


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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Rock On by Denise Vega

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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