The Figment Review: Rock On by Denise Vega

Ori Taylor is finally finding himself. After years of living in his older brother, Del’s, shadow, he is now the leader of his very own band: The Band To Be Named Later. Suddenly, Ori is getting all the attention. Girls, newspapers, and his competition are all vying for a piece of Colorado’s newest star, and Ori is coming into his own. But when Del returns from college unexpectedly, Ori has a whole new challenge to face. Forget about the Battle of the Bands; Ori’s facing the Battle of the Brothers.

Rock On by Denise Vega introduces itself as “A Story of Guitars, Gigs, Girls, and A Brother (Not Necessarily in that Order).” And not necessarily in equal amounts. Yes, there is plenty of music and some smattering of romance, but the dynamics of brotherhood definitely dominate this incredibly fun novel.

Rock On succeeds in capturing something not a lot of young adult novels have successfully mastered: a true, honest, unique, quirky, fun, real family. It is so incredibly refreshing to read about something like that. I love the love-hate moments, quirky inside jokes, and all-encompassing love in the Taylor family.

Ori, even as he is catapulted to small-town stardom, remains humble and endearing. He is always doubting himself, which makes him both frustrating and adorable. Watching him grow into his own and realize his own strength is a real treat. Denise Vega creates an almost-celebrity with all the heart, soul, and charisma of a rock star. By the end, you’ll be one of the fans screaming Ori’s name.

Told partially through text messages, emails, and news articles, Rock On introduces the everlasting power of music for those who worship it. There are moments of tension when harmony seems impossible to reach, but by the next cadence, that tension disappears into a beautiful melody.

 

Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!

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