Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rules to Rock By

I just read Rules to Rock By by Josh Farrar.  Finished it about 5 minutes ago.  LOVED it.  As my friend (and rocker) Teresa would say, this book


What do I LOVE about this book?  Well, for one, it has a great set of characters.  Not only do I feel like I know Annabelle (know her and wanted to be her when I was that age) but the supporting characters are real and full and glorious and flawed, as well.

After her parents ripped Annabelle's life apart by leaving Brooklyn everything wonderful about Annabelle disappeared.  Her abuela?  Still in Brooklyn.  Her band?  Still in Brooklyn. 

You get the picture. 

Her folks are indie rock artists in the band Benny and Joon who move to Rhode Island so they can afford to finish their latest album.  Only they seem to forget that they've never actually raised their kids---Abuela has always been there to do the real work on the homefront.  Now that they are on their own, the kids are eating pancakes made by the band's drummer most nights and left to struggle through their first days at a new school in a new town all by themselves.  Annabelle is determined to put together a new band to live out her rocker dreams while dealing with a new crowd of kids at school--none of whom seem especially friendly, and taking care of her kid brother, X. 

Figuring out her rules to rock by takes some work, but Annabelle gets the job done and definitely leaves us wanting more.  A few of her rules:

*rock stars don't jog.  They strut.
*Rock stars dare to dream.

Rock stars don't cry , either (not much, anyhow) but I love, love, love this passage from the book and needed to share it with you all:

Abuela had always been big on getting tears out of your system.  She said you needed to cry to put out the fires in your life, and that when you stopped you could take a look at what had burned down, and what hadn't.  So I just cried for a minute or two.  Abuela was probably the only person in the world who I'd let see me like that.  I knew it wouldn't change the way she looked at me, so it did't matter.  I just cried it out.

Okay, great passage--not the most rockin' passage in the book, but man, did it ever speak to me.  Thanks, Abuelita, for the great advice!

Josh Farrar has an interesting website--go visit it at:

You can read more about the book, watch a great book trailer (he just calls it a video--but that's what it is) and believe it or not, listen to some great music played by actual teen musicians playing as The Bungles, Annabelle's band (We Used to be Friends is my fave.)

The book isn't officially out until later this month (June 22nd according to here to preorder)  but put this one on your "must read" list.  You can order the soundtrack, as well. 

And librarians looking for awesome middle school books for Teen Read Week--you've found one.  This year's theme Books with Beat @ your library, couldn't be more fitting!

I'll leave you with a pic of one of my own little rocker girls--notice the AC/DC onesie.  ;)

Read on, gentle readers; read on!

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