Readers’ Advisory: Books that Rock

The Scar Boys by Ben Vlahos
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A 250 word essay is not enough for Harry to do himself justice in his college entrance essay, so he just tells his life story, from the time he was tied to a tree and then struck by lightning, to when he was asked to form a band with a popular kid. This fresh, compelling story will resonate with readers who have ever felt scarred themselves.

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
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Charlotte is content in the background, managing the band Sad Jackal and writing their song lyrics. When she’s pushed into singing with them at a performance, she really comes into her own. This novel about growing up, finding your place in your family, and navigating the tricky terrain between friendship and romance is a fun, feel-good read.

Wise Young Foul by Sean Beaudoin
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Sarcastic Ritchie is excited about his band, until he lands in a juvenile detention facility and is forced to confront his grief and family issues. This is a funny yet moving book that will be a hit with musicians.

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
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Bailey just wants to play fiddle, but her parents have forbidden her from performing now that her sister is poised to be the next country music superstar. But when she meets Sam, who recognizes her talent and wants her in his band, she can’t resist playing – or him. This fun and steamy romance makes the Nashville music scenes come alive, and even readers who don’t love country will be rooting for Sam and Bailey.

Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta
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In the future, people still rock out on guitars. In this space adventure, Cade teams up with a gang of outlaws to find a boy who might be the key to curing humans of a debilitating illness — and to learning more about her own identity.

Sing No Evil by JP Ahonen
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This graphic novel about the leader of a heavy metal band who gets drawn into a supernatural battle is a character-driven story full of whimsy. The art style will appeal to fans of Amulet orScott Pilgrim.

Sister Mischief by L. Goode
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Love and hip hop collide in this lesbian coming of age tale.

The True Adventures of Nicola Zen by Nicholas Christopher
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This historical fantasy about an orphan boy and his enchanted clarinet has plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep readers engrossed in the story.

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
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Maggie moves from Chicago, where she attends Smashing Pumpkin concerts with her 26-year-old uncle, to live in a small town outside Dublin, Ireland, when her mom remarries. A year in the seaside town brings a close friendship with her 99-year-old neighbor, first love, and a daring adventure to see Nirvana in Rome, the perfect grunge rock pilgrimage. But what really makes this novel stand out is the family dynamics. Maggie’s complicated relationship with her mother, sister, grandmother, and uncle are ones any teenager can relate to. With excellent writing and character development, it’s obvious why this debut novel was nominated for the Morris Award. This story will appeal to today’s teens as well as those who can read it for the nostalgia of the grunge rock 90s.

When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
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Soledad, a dancer, decides to audition to be part of a performing drum corps over the summer, and meets two guys who compete for her affection: a fellow corps member and a soccer player. This book is for fans of climatic, dramatic endings.

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
A retelling of the Orpheus myth in the grunge-rock era Pacific Northwest. The lush prose and haunting story is as strangely seductive as the music Jack plays, but the real core of this novel is the friendship between Aurora and the unnamed narrator.

The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
Goodreads | Amazon
Allie may not play music, but she’s definitely obsessed with it — which is perfect, because she’s got a summer job working at a cool record store. Prinz draws on her own experience to write a fun coming-of-age story about mother-daughter relationships, first love, and above all, music.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
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This exhilarating novel about bands touring the summer after graduation is the perfect blend of angst and drama.

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez
Carmen wants nothing more than to win a prestigious violin competition, and is so stressed out by the pressure and her controlling mother, she struggles with anxiety. But when romance blossoms with fellow competitor Jeremy, she begins to see more to the world. This complex drama will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman’s IF I STAY.

Hidden Voices by Pat Lowery Collins
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History is full of music, too. This novel weaves together the stories of three orphans in Italy, and is perfect for readers who enjoy lush, historical settings.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
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This is the story of a musical prodigy whose talents attract the attention of a Fairy who feeds on creative talent, told in Maggie Stiefvater’s signature witty yet lyrical style.