December 18, 2006

Korman Rocks On

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

Another great band book, this fast-paced novel is actually also about destiny -- and how often our parents really have nothing to do with ours. Leo Caraway is a straight-laced guy who is pretty sure that he's got some wicked weirdness within him due to the fact that his former Wall Street guru Dad isn't his biological father. Every time he's tempted to act outside the code of Young Republican Buttoned Down Gentleman, he squelches what he calls that McMurphy gene bequeathed to him by one Marion X. McMurphy, the sperm-donor guy his mother won't talk about. (And please don't get her started -- she gets upset and starts doing puzzles on every horizontal surface. EVERY horizontal surface.)

Leo is shocked out of his socks when he discovers his Goth-girl best friend Melinda is grooving on the punk music of the band Purge, whose lead, one King Maggot, is really named... Marion Xavier McMurphy. Leo is freaked -- and feels he is a freak -- as he's known all along. How could he not be? He got it from that McMurphy gene.

After losing out at his chance to go to Harvard when a scholarship falls through due to a misunderstanding of sorts, Leo determines that he's going to find his old man and milk him of some of his megabucks. After all, the leader of the punk band, Purge, is part of the angriest band in America -- and one of the richest. Leo's family, after all, so he knows he can pull it off -- meet the guy, get the money, and blow off back to his Young Republican lifestyle.

So, what happens when Leo gets the roadie gig -- then finds out that it's not that easy blowing King off?

In that great Gordon Korman tradition, Born to Rock is truly hilarious with the best first three pages of a novel that I've read in ages ("The thing about a cavity search is this. It has nothing to do with a dentist. If only it did."), a fast-paced style, great voice and hilarious character quirks like the puzzle-playing Mom. Enjoyable on every level and much reccomended, even if you're not a punk person and know nothing about 80's bands.

No comments: