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Rock On: A story of guitars, gigs, girls, and a brother (not necessarily in that order) Hardcover – March 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316133108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316133104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this thoughtful tale, sibling rivalry is taken to the next level. Both Ori and Del prove to be likable characters in their own respective ways."—SLJ

"Vega has imbued her tale with well-developed characters...readers will appreciate Ori's gently self-deprecating humor and the lively Web postings and texts woven throughout that help tell the story."—Kirkus Reviews

"Ori's honest voice will have readers caring about the outcome...Blog entries from the band's Web site are interspersed, giving an amusing glimpse of the drama among the band's budding groupies, while third-person flashbacks to Ori's younger days take readers behind the music-and behind Ori and Del's strained relationship."—Publishers Weekly

"Readers will feel like they have insider information on what it is like to be in a band....This book will be enjoyed by teens who like music, poetry, or a good family story."—VOYA

"A smart, absorbing read about music, relationship complexities, and reconciliation."—Booklist

"Engaging and smartly paced....Vega has a way with details, creating a pattern of incidents and emotional beats that builds assuredly to the final face-offs between bands and brothers. Likable three-dimenstional characters and rock-solid friendships add considerable appeal to this feel-good tale."—The Bulletin

From the Author

It might seem strange for someone who is (a) not a guy and (b) not musically inclined to write a book about a naturally gifted guitar-playing singer-songwriter dude, except...(a) I grew up listening to my dad and my brother play their guitars, (b) Dad would spin the Beatles, Jose Feliciano, the Kingston Trio, John Denver and Charlie Byrd, among others, on the record player and (c) I spent hours listening to albums and singles (yes that would be vinyl cuz I'm old) and going to concerts (yay, Red Rocks!), absorbing the music and lyrics until they were part of me and I was a part of them. I love music--how it makes me feel, what it promises, where it takes me.

And I'm also fascinated with the relationships between brothers, which is a big part of the story.


Rock On is my love letter to all the bands and musicians who pour their hearts and souls into their music, changing lives in the process, and to all thewho love to hate to love each other.


Keep on rockin'!

Download "Waiting for You," a song from the book, in Amazon music!

More About the Author

I love reading, camping, hiking, music of all kinds except country, french fries, chocolate, and guacamole (separately, not together). I can't stand cheese of any kind--that means I don't like pizza, lasagna, and lots of other things that most normal people like. Depending on when you read this, I may have some animation up on my website about being a cheese hater, starring Kaysa the mouse.

I live in Colorado and love hanging out with my family and friends when I'm not reading or watching old episodes of shows I love.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Thompson on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Few things things please me more than a story about a young band. When you add in the fact it's written from a guy's point-of-view, has an awesome cast of friends, a sweet, but halting love story, and a troubled family dynamic, well that's practically a siren song for a girl like me. I couldn't resist reading ROCK ON.

Ori Taylor is a musical prodigy, playing by ear since the age of seven. His band, a band with no name and no bassist, is comprised of his best friends and managed by another best friend, Alli. I loved these kids. They were cool, focused, had each other's backs, and had confidence (without being cocky) in their future success. I was relieved that there wasn't a rivalry amongst Ori, Nick, and Troy. Their only worries are deciding on a name, finding a bass player and beating out their Battle of the Bands competition. But when Jane shows up with her bassist cousin, Ori's world is truly about to be rocked.

It seems like Ori has it all, yes? His older brother, Del, thinks so, too. And he's not happy about that. Del was a high school star athlete, and he's lost it all. When he moves back home, he sees Ori moving into his territory, the guy all the girls are interested in. Del, no longer the protective older brother, is determined to make Ori as miserable as possible, taking everything Ori wants. Maybe even the girl. Let me make my feelings for Del clear. I HATED HIM. I know, I know... He's hurt, and lost. Whatever. He was so freaking mean. I haven't been as angry at a character in forever. Sure, I've know characters who've done worse. I think my anger stems from the fact that Ori is just so stinking sweet. If he was my brother, I would have whaled on Del endlessly. (ask my brother, I'm capable.
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By Mark Stevens VINE VOICE on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Rock on, read on. "Rock On" is lively, energetic and it's packed with that youthful, energetic spark. That love of music. I'm a full four decades older than the protagonist but "Rock On" took me smack back to high school and right back into the middle of trying to put a band together. "Rock On" captures that indescribable sensation of what it's like to play live music--and all the woes and complications and emotional struggles that go with it. I liked the interspersed bits from the "Colorado Kicks" web page / fan board and found the relationship between the two brothers perfectly complicated and interesting. (Been there, too.) Ori Taylor is a three-dimensional, likable teenager. The writing is effortless, non-flashy and moves to a nifty beat. I'm not the target audience for this tale of youth and guitars, but highly recommend for teenagers (or their parents) who dig live rock and roll. It's clear Denise Vega has been around the music scene (or did tons of research). About the only thing I found implausible was that a high school band could cover Boston's "More Than A Feeling," one of the most challenging rock hits ever, but it's all part of the fun ride in "Rock On." Full disclosure that I know the author through Colorado writing circles but our friendship in no way influenced my review. I stand by every word.
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By Smit on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a good book a little amount of curse words,but they're the main characters are in high school or above
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By Linda Ashman on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
With all the dystopian YA novels out there, it's refreshing to read a story about real kids with real issues -- insecurity, sibling rivalry, dating problems, etc -- and more than a few laughs. My husband, teen son and I all read and enjoyed it. The online posts are a very clever addition.
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By Little Willow on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rock On: A Story of Guitars, Gigs, Girls, and a Brother (Not Necessarily in That Order) by Denise Vega lives up to its title. Here's why.

Ori has a band. A band without a name.

Ori has an older brother named Del. The boys were very close until Del went away to college, only to return home unexpectedly, with a chip on his shoulder.

Ori has a guitar. It's a loaner. He's working at a music store and saving up for a sweet Les Paul.

Ori has friends. Good ones. And together, they make good music.

What Ori doesn't have - yet - is the confidence that he needs to lead the group, and to walk out of his brother's shadow and forge his own path. But maybe, if he lets out the music that's in his head, his heart, and his fingertips, he'll get there.

You've got to love a lead vocalist and songwriter who is searching for the right things to say and the right notes to play. Ori's just that. I think he'd get along well with Nick from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

I really enjoyed the scenes with Ori's friends. The group's dynamics are great. When they get together, whether it's to make music or just to hang out, they are comfortable with one another. They are solid friends, and their dialogue sounds authentic. None of the main characters are profane or inane, and every person in the group is important to that group. No one in the band tries to be the star or upstage anyone else; each member is good at what they do, and they just want to play music. They are getting their feet wet by performing at local venues and preparing for a Battle of the Bands competition for high school groups.
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