Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{March 3, 2011}   Rock Star, by Adrian Chamberlain

Synopsis from Orca Books: “Struggling at home and at school, Duncan decides to try out for a local rock band. He plays the bass in the school orchestra, but it is a long way from band camp to rock star. Joining a heavy-metal band, he tries to fit in, dumping his old friends and trying to walk the walk. When his dad’s new girlfriend starts to teach him about real rock music and introduces him to her musician brother, Duncan discovers that there is more to being a guitar hero than playing in a heavy-metal band.”


Orca Book Publishers is an organization that produces fiction for reluctant readers, especially readers on the lower spectrum, with a reading level of about second grade to fourth grade.  Rock Star comes from the Orca Soundings series, which is for those ages 12+, and is written in a way that the reader, especially a reluctant reader, can easily understand.  Orca Sounding books are quickly becoming my favorite series for my struggling readers!

If you know a struggling reader who loves music and instruments, then this is the book for them!  Chamberlain is an aspiring rock star himself, and he imparts his knowledge of the industry in this coming of age story.  The pace of this novel moves very quickly, which will keep young adults interested, as there is no down time. One moment Duncan is a geek, and the next he is a rock star, acting out.  As the timeframe within the novel is never defined, I can understand how some readers may see a disconnect, and feel that the writing and character development is too menial, however, Chamberlain is utilizing a literary tactic here, and he does a superb job!  The timeframe of the novel is never clear, and there is nothing to define how long it takes Duncan to change dispositions, but that’s the point! Teen temperament and dispositions change rapidly; they are trying to find themselves and their place in the world.  Hence, there is no timeframe! It could happen overnight, or it could take weeks.  Rock Star lends itself to both scenarios, so the reader ultimately gets to decide the pace of the story and the amount of time elapsed. While I was originally confused and unhinged by this style of writing, in retrospect, I realize Chamberlain is effectively describing the changes that take place within the teenage psyche.  Moreover, I think Chamberlain did a great job showing just how fast, or slow, teenagers can change due to peer pressure. As Chamberlain did a great job capturing the teenage voice of his main character, Duncan, I believe young adults will be able to connect with Duncan and, hopefully, learn a valuable lesson about the dangers of changing solely for acceptance. Three stars!

Check out my Orca Book Publishers page for more information, titles, and reviews for reluctant readers!


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