Beyond Exile by Kevin Emerson: 10 More YA Books That Rock!

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If you’ve read Exile by Kevin Emerson, our May Book of the Month, but just can’t get enough rock ‘n’ roll in your reading – then you’re in luck. Because today’s post is all about featuring more YA books that ROCK!

take a bow paperbackTake a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it’s been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn’t sure how to admit that he’d rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

wise young fool finalWise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin

Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn’t play rock, and “jumping the shark” is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that’s serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.

Telling the story of the year leading up to his arrest, Ritchie grabs readers by the throat before (politely) inviting them along for the (max-speed) ride. A battle of the bands looms. Dad split about five minutes before Mom’s girlfriend moved in. There’s the matter of trying to score with the dangerously hot Ravenna Woods while avoiding the dangerously huge Spence Proffer–not to mention just trying to forget what his sister, Beth, said the week before she died.

This latest offering from acclaimed author Sean Beaudoin is alternately raw, razor-sharp, and genuinely hilarious.

nick and norah's infinite playlistNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

amplifiedAmplified by Tara Kelly

When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she’s the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn’t think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . .

In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified.

disenchantmentsThe Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

struts and fretsStruts & Frets by Jon Skovran

Told in a voice that’s honest, urgent, and hilarious, Struts & Frets will resonate not only with teenage musicians but with anyone who ever sat up all night listening to a favorite album, wondering if they’d ever find their place in the world.

Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.

When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?

adios nirvana paperbackAdios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He’s on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

born to rockBorn to Rock by Gordon Korman

Leo Caraway—high school senior, president of the Young Republicans club, 4.0 GPA, future Harvard student—had his entire future perfectly planned out. That was, until the X factor. As in Marion X. McMurphy, aka King Maggot, the lead singer of Purge, the most popular, most destructive band punk rock has ever seen. He’s also Leo’s biological father.When Leo discovers that his real father is a punk rock legend, he is disgusted. Not only is Leo not a punk rock fan, but he believes the X factor (the Maggot blood that is running through his veins) is a dangerous time bomb just waiting to explode. And sure enough it does—Leo stubbornly defends the unlikeliest of people, thereby getting himself falsely accused of cheating on a test.

Because of the blemish on his record, the once star pupil finds his scholarship to Harvard taken away. So he hatches the crazy plan of going on tour with King Maggot for Purge’s summer revival tour, all the while secretly hoping to convince Maggot to pay for his tuition. But life on the road is even crazier than Leo ever bargained for, and before the summer is out, he will finally discover the surprising truth about his dad, his friends, and most important, himself.

fat kid rules the worldFat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going

Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy’s dad thinks Curt’s a drug addict and Troy’s brother thinks Troy’s the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever.

RockStarSuperStar_CVR_3pRock Star Superstar by Blake Nelson

Music is Pete’s life. He’s happiest when playing his Fender P-Bass. He doesn’t care about prestige or getting girls; it’s the quality of the music that matters. Then he meets the Carlisle brothers. They can’t sing and they can barely play, but somehow they have a following. Pete can’t resist, and he joins The Tiny Masters of Today.

When the band gets a chance at real stardom, Pete wonders if he’s ready. He knows the music should come first… but who knew selling out could be so much fun?

For the comments: What other rock ‘n’ roll YA books would you add to this list?

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