Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review #1217
My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star by Joyce Raskin, illustrated by Carol Chu
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Though this book is marketed as a young adult novel, I often felt like the voice of the main character, Alex, was a little immature sounding. In the beginning, I thought Alex sounded a lot younger based on how she talked and her emotions. Parts of the book seemed random and under-developed. I didn't see how Alex could take things so easily. Sure, she cries for several weeks, but then she's over it - and this happens in the space of about 2 pages.

This book needed more depth. It seemed like an outline of a more interesting story, but it wasn't fleshed out enough. I also thought she "learned" things far too quickly. How long did she play the Bass before she was playing on stage? I don't know, but it felt like it was in 3 pages, which just didn't fly. I also thought she got over some things too fast, and her "well, my parents know best so even though I was annoyed with them at the time, I can see things from their point of view now" adage was a forced and unnatural at times.

I also didn't really believe some of the prejudices against a girl playing guitar. I don't think the stereotype is that bad today, and I thought it was annoying how many times Alex ranted about people treating her differently because she was a girl. It was also hard for me to believe that all of these things happened while she was still fourteen! It seemed like a long jump with character/plot development and not enough pages describing how or why it happened. The ending was a bit of a let down. I didn't realize it was the ending until I flipped the page and there was no more story. That was weird. I can kind of see what the author was trying to do, but I would have liked more closure.

There were some aspects of the book that I did like. I appreciated that the main character steered clear of drugs and drinking. She was fairly young and hung out with other people who did those kinds of things but she never let them talk her into doing that behavior. She had principles and she stuck to them. I also liked her friend Sal and the positive image she portrayed.

I did feel like elements of the book might be considered "preachy." I feel like other readers might find these annoying, and there were a couple of parts I found irritating. While I thought there were some positive messages in this book, I still felt like this story only barely touched the surface of Alex and her rock star life and I can't say that I'd recommend it to others.

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