Monday, August 02, 2010

Rules to Rock By

"You'd never guess it now, but I used to be a rock star.

And I don't mean that my mom or dad gave me a high-five and called me a 'total rock star' after I won a spelling be or something. I mean, I was a real rock star, the bassist of the most popular kid-band in New York. We played to packed clubs all over the city, did interviews, and posed for local magazine spreads. Strangers approached us on the street, gushing praise. Some even asked me, Annabelle Cabrera, for an autograph. I was living the rock-star dream.

Okay, so maybe 'rock star' is pushing is a little. Budding rock star? A girl who happened to join a band at the moment they were about the explode? Whatever. But before my parents decided to drag me to a new city, a hundred and eighty miles away from my band, away from everything I'd ever loved, I couldn't have imagined a better life.

And I had no idea how hard it would be, how much I'd have to go through, to get it all back."

-from Rules to Rock By

So a few of you might know that while not living the high roller's life of music blogger extraordinaire, my day gig is working as a middle school English teacher. As such, the new young adult novel Rules to Rock By by Josh Farrar is right up my alley! The book tells the story of Annabelle Cabrera, a middle school girl forced to move away from everything she knows, including her up and coming band Egg Mountain. Relocated to a new town and new school, Annabelle needs to assemble a new band, one that is eventually named The Bungles. Bungles, like the word bungle, as in messing things up!

Anyway, along the way she follows "the rules to rock by" (hence the name of the book), given to her by the leader of her old band, to assemble a motley collection of bandmates for a classic battle of the bands show-down. Of course there are school bullies, a quirky but influential teacher, and family problems along the way to spice things up. I'm eager to bring the book into my classroom come September and see what some of my students think of it. My guess is that any music lovers will get into it pretty easily.

AND, to go along with the book, a soundtrack has put together by a real life group named The Bungles, pulling together some appropriately ages musicians from the non-profit Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls to rock out on some original tracks and covers (including Cheap Trick's Surrender and The Breeders' No Aloha).

Even if you're not in 7th grade, the book is an enjoyable read, and one that you could probably burn through pretty quickly. Order it and the soundtrack up from while you're listening to some songs from the soundtrack below.

Visit the book's publisher, Walker Books for Young Readers.


Barbara said...

Sounds like a great book and soundtrack. Will have to pick them both up. Thanks!

Erica said...

This is right up my alley too! They both sound adorable... I remember seeing this on your counter when I was there. Took awhile for this post to come rolling out =p