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Born to Rock Hardcover – April 2, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1 edition (April 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786809205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786809202
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,256,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–President of his high school's Young Republicans club and on a fast track to Harvard with a full scholarship, Leo Carraway finds his life turned upside down by two events. His unlikely best friend–a hip, nonconformist named Melinda, whose temperament, politics, and interests seemingly clash with his lifestyle–convinces him to help tutor a gay classmate. When the homophobic assistant principal observes Leo talking to Owen during a test, he accuses Leo of cheating and causes him to lose his scholarship. Then Leo learns, to his consternation, that Marion X. McMurphy (King Maggot)–the top punk singer of the 1980s with a reputation for destruction on stage and leader of the band Purge–is likely his biological father. He decides to confront King Maggot and get him to pay for his lost scholarship and joins the crew of roadies supporting the band on a summer revival tour. Leo is introduced to the decadent world of punk performers, production crews, agents, and groupies that confirms his dislike of the music, but at the same time, he re-examines his primary beliefs and principles and is fundamentally changed by his experiences. He and Melinda, who is spending the summer following the band, slowly realize that they have more in common than they had thought. At the end, Leo uncovers a surprise about his biological father and reflects on what this means to his life. Korman's story has an appealing narrative voice, sharp dialogue, and vivid characterization to portray Leo's coming of age.–Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. "There are two kinds of people in this world--those who have had a cavity search, and those who haven't. This is the story of how I wound up in the wrong category." After Young Republican Leo Caraway discovers that his biological father is none other than millionaire King Maggot, lead singer of the punk band Purge, he accepts a roadie job on King's tour in the hope of securing sorely needed college tuition. Soon, coke-snorting musicians and on-the-make agents are assaulting Leo's traditional values at every turn. Still, he manages to keep his cool, until he uncovers a shocking truth about his bio-dad that leaves him questioning every principle he holds dear. Leo's journey to punk-rock appreciation is a sharply observed, original take on the tired "outsider looking in" cliche. Though predictable at times and a little too clean (since when are there no expletives in punk?), Korman's rock opus redeems itself with smartly written dialogue and a slow-burning romance between Leo and his best friend, Melinda. Jennifer Hubert
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Gordon Korman has written more than fifty middle-grade and teen novels. Favorites include the New York Times #1 bestseller The 39 Clues: One False Note, The Juvie Three, Son of the Mob, Born to Rock, and Schooled. Though he didn't play football in high school, Gordon's been a lifelong fan and season ticket holder. He says, "I've always been fascinated by the 'culture of collision' in football and wanted to explore it-not just from the highlight films but from its darker side as well." Gordon lives with his family on Long Island, New York.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gordon Korman, the author of over fifty young adult novels, has written the story of Young Republican Leo Caraway, a high school senior destined for the Ivy League until a battle with a school administrator endangers his scholarship. Leo has none for years that his Dad is not his biological father, but a man named Marion McMurphy. In his senior year, Leo uncovers just who Marion X. McMurphy is--the infamous drug-addled, property-destroying lead single of pioneering punk rock band Purge. Dad McMurphy goes by the pseudonym King Maggot, and his antic have been ingrained in the nation's psyche for the last two decades.

With his scholarship withdrawn, Leo sees no option but to abandon his Young Republican ideals and seek out punk rock King Maggot for the tuition dollars. The novel centers on Leo's summer with "bio-Dad," on the tour with Leo working as a newbie roadie.

Korman's novel is a beach read, pure and simple. It's a fun, lighthearted read, and the end is the stuff of Cinderella. This isn't award-winning fiction, and any older teen reader could poke a few holes in the plot. The action is clearly aimed toward a middle school audience, despite the fact that the main character is a senior in high school. In this story, grownups did drugs back in the big, bad mid-eighties, but out high school heroes have no interest in breaking the law. We even have a token gay friend to round the character list out. Have fun reading this short and sweet novel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was great. Overall Gordon Korman is a wonderful author and knows how to add humor to his writing. The concept of Leo being a Harvard scholarship student and having a biological father who is the leader of the "Angriest Band in America" caught my attention. The relationship Leo made with the members of the band and the truth about who is real father was, was a key part of the book. My favortie character was Leo because he was the one who endured all of this chaos on the Concussed Tour with the band. In addition, he made a relationship with a girl he thought would always be his friend, and realized that the boy who ruined his Harvard scholarship wasn't such a bad guy. All students over the age of 11, READ THIS BOOK! Trust me, you'll enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
One good deed changes Leo's life forever.

When his best friend asks him to tutor her friend, Owen, in math, he can't turn her down. He discovers that Owen can relate his math issues to pinballs and understand. So, during a test, Leo sees Own panicking and whispers "pinballs."

In that moment, he's accused of cheating.

There goes his scholarship to Harvard, the one he's been counting on, since his family doesn't have enough money for college. Then comes another curveball--Leo finds out the identity of his biological father, the man who's currently making a come back: the King of Purge, the leader of the most popular punk band ever.

Leo meets his father and joins the reunion tour for the summer working as a stage hand. Can he bond with his father, survive the mess he's made of his life, and figure out where to go from here?

BORN TO ROCK focuses around music, standing up against bullies, and finding your strengths. I recommend this one to music lovers or anyone fighting the system.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was great. Overall Gordon Korman is a wonderful author and knows how to add humor to his writing. The concept of Leo being a Harvard scholarship student and having a biological father who is the leader of the "Angriest Band in America" caught my attention. The relationship Leo made with the members of the band and the truth about who is real father was, was a key part of the book. My favortie character was Leo because he was the one who endured all of this chaos on the Concussed Tour with the band. In addition, he made a relationship with a girl he thought would always be his friend, and realized that the boy who ruined his Harvard scholarship wasn't such a bad guy. All students over the age of 11, READ THIS BOOK! Trust me, you'll enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WheelerQ on July 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This book was a huge let-down compared to the books Korman wrote in the past, such as The Twinkie Squad. I bought the audio book, and I didn't even make it through the first CD.
The book begins with the main character letting us know he had to have some kind of [...] exam, and that is supposed to pique our interest so that we'll read the rest of the book to find out why.
The plot, if there was one, dragged, and I gave up.
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A Kid's Review on February 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
"I'd always blamed my McMurphy DNA for every weird urge and character flaw, but that was just neurotic. Never did I seriously believe that I'd turn out to be so spectacularly right! I mean, a dad in the entertainment industry would have been kind of cool, but this was more like terrorism than show business. The blood of a notorious lowlife flowed through my veins. I was Prince Maggot." Leo Caraway makes this statement in the book Born to Rock by Gordan Korman when he realizes that his true biological father is not who he thought he was. As he finds out it is really front-man of the famous punk-rock band Purge, Marion X. McMurphy. A.K.A. King Maggot.

Leo Caraway is a bright, 18 year-old, and president of the Young Republicans. Leo's life is going great for him. He is about to graduate high school and has a scholarship to Harvard. However, while taking a test he is accused of cheating and has his scholarship taken away. His family can't afford tuition and Leo can only think of one person to turn to. King Maggot. The only problem is, King doesn't know who Leo is. Leo is troubled when he is trying to figure out how he will come in contact with King Maggot so he throws a note to him during a press conference. But doesn't know if he will respond.

Born to Rock is an excellent story of a young boy trying to connect with his true father and makes you wonder, "what will happen next?" This book is way too exciting to put down. I loved reading about Leo's many adventures and problems while touring with the band Purge like losing a poodle in a nightclub and dealing with his grumpy roommate, Cam, all while discovering the true identity behind King Maggot and waiting for the DNA tests results to come back.
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