Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Monday, January 21, 2013
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic
Series: Standalone
Website: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/rockoholic
Source: ARCycling
Rockoholic
Jody is something of an emotional train wreck, even more so now because her Grandad, the one person who understood her completely, has died. Thankfully she has her best friend, Mac, and her favorite band, The Regulators. The Regulators' lead singer, Jackson, is all she ever thinks about, in fact, so when the band does a nearby concert, she's (practically) the first one in line. Jody has a lot of crazy daydreams about what might happen at this concert, but she certainly doesn't expect to kidnap him. Or for Jackson to want to stay, hidden in her garage. 

Fittingly enough, there's a perfect music lyric to fit how I feel about this book: "We could have had it all." So thanks, Adele, for that.

Basically, I went in expecting Rockoholic to be a funny, music-themed, generally light read. I was hoping for strong characters and quick wit. Honestly, I expected something like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway. And maybe my expectations were what ruined the book for me.

It also didn't help that Jody irritated me, at least for the first half of the book. (More on that in a moment.) She lacks common sense. A main character can have many flaws that I can forgive, but this is one of my pet peeves. I understand that she has emotional issues, that's fine (emotional depth isn't just a plus, it's a necessity), but there's a selfishness to her, too. I couldn't really understand why her best friend Mac (who is very awesome, the best character in the book by far) puts up with her most of the time. Jackson, at least, is well-developed. There's a drastic change from his original demeanor to who he is by the end of the book, but it's perfectly paced. Of course, the scene of his "kidnapping" is completely contrived. It had the potential to be very funny, but the set up just wasn't there.

And that's my main problem with Rockoholic: Most of it felt very forced. Sarah over at We Heart YA did an awesome post about strings, which is definitely worth a read. The strings in Rockoholic were all on display, so that it had very clear point As and point Bs, but it wasn't a well-woven story. Similarly, there was a very decisive point in the book where it was like someone flipped a switch. All of the sudden, I liked Jody ten times more, the plot was significantly smoother, and I actually felt invested in the story. It was a definite improvement, but Jody's growth didn't feel natural. It was just upset, obsession, delusion, delusion, delusion, and then BAM, new-found maturity. 

What I will say about Rockoholic is that Jody's obsession with The Regulators, while a bit extreme, is relatable. We've all been there at some point in our lives. (Confession: It was The Jonas Brothers for me. In hindsight, their lyrics aren't, erm, the best, but they were cute and their songs were catchy. I have no regrets.) It was just sad because Jody didn't really know any other bands, so the music theme I was looking for didn't exist. Another example of my expectations getting in the way of my reading experience.

I think there's a definite possibility others could love Rockoholic, but it just wasn't the book for me. It's a shame, because I still feel it had so much potential. As always when this happens, I'm just disappointed.
*3 stars*
"Music" Books You Should Check Out: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
Have you ever been obsessed with a band? 

4 comments:

  1. I hate it when I can't love the main character. And you are not alone. I loved the Jonas Brothers and will announce it without shame. Yea the lyrics were not awesome, but you could do some serious dancing in your room.
    Great review. I think I may avoid this book, but definitely adding Audrey, Wait because you seemed to love that one.
    Deidra @ Simply Books.

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  2. What a great review! I think you really expressed your feelings well. I had been hoping to read this one, but after your review, I can see that it wouldn't be my cup of tea.

    Thanks for pointing out that post about strings too! I am off to read it!

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  3. Huh. This review is making me think... It has redeemable qualities so it wasn't all bad. I don't really like that it lacked in humor where it should have been placed but with a book I never thought to read I think I might want to read it now. Excellent review! I don't think I've ever been obsessed with a band but one that comes close is probably My Chemical Romance. I would play it over and over again just before I slept too. I still do it if I'm in the mood.
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