Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book review: Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse
Hardcover and e-book, 358 pages 
Published November 1st 2012 by Scholastic (first published March 7th 2011)

She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..." 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave. 

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!

My thoughts: Love music? Have a singer or musician you REALLY love or obsess over? Then Rockoholic is the read for you! C.J. Skuse's novel is pure escapism--emotional, over the top and humorous, this contemporary YA features well-developed characters and a main character's voice to adore.

Jody grabbed me on the first few pages with her snarky outlook, her apparent love of music, her obsession with Jackson Gatlin from The Regulators and her pure love for and understanding of her grandfather. At her grandfather's funeral reception, Jody is simmering with anger because this is not the send-off he deserved ("F-unreal."). Her granddad thought outside the box, but his reception was staid, boring. Leave it to Jody to liven things up by changing the music and starting a food fight  This is such an offbeat scene and I easily pictured it in my mind. 

Jody's best friend, Mac, is the type of bud we all need: loyal, understanding, loving. Mac goes out of his way to make her happy and be by her side. And Jody thinks he's gay.  Their relationship is realistic and grounded the story for me. The main conflict in their friendship is Jody's obsession with rocker Jackson. Mac can't get her to see the reality behind the glitz, gab and hype.

As a huge music fan in my teens I thought Jody came across as realistic to an extent--just ask anyone who crosses the line into crazy music fan. The Regulators concert scene was one of the best scenes in this book and I connected with Jody during it. After she actually 'kidnaps' Jackson, I did suspend many of my realistic notions. Every time I wanted to roll my eyes, Jody would do something to stop me (the bridge scene is a prime example). There were times when the whole 'Jackson in the garage' scenario seemed tedious, then other times some of the scenes between Jody and Jackson (27, a recovering drug addict) were revealing and deep. My biggest problem with the novel was Jackson's recovery. Here in the States we have reality shows like Intervention and Celebrity Rehab that take us behind-the-scenes of fighting addiction. I didn't find Jackson's 'recovery' (going cold turkey) that convincing and the way he didn't get in contact with anyone (not one person?) surprised me. (I also wasn't crazy about the reporter and the 'staging' of Jackson's picture.)

What I thoroughly loved were the scenes with Jody, Mac and his little sister, Cree. What a tremendous amount of heart this little two year old girl injected into this story! 

Jody wasn't always a golden character and that's why I liked her. She made me groan with her crazy antics and then she'd win me back with something great. Jody was flawed, had a terrific sense of humor, and was naive to see what she had with Mac. She changed as the story progressed and the climatic scene when she's crying on the bench (not telling you why) cemented my fondness for her. In between the snark and angst, there was a girl with a golden heart.

Rockoholic is a wonderful, messed up, crazy, heartfelt emotional musical roller coaster ride of a novel. I really liked it and I don't think I'll ever look at a moon rock without thinking about Jody.

Rating: 4.5

Favorite lines: I usually post a favorite excerpt here but there were so many good lines I had to post some of them here:

"Before I know what my own hand is doing, it's sinking straight into a crystal bowl of pink Jell-O, grabbing a handful, and hoying a large rubbery splodge straight at the reverend's face."

"She rips up my Regulators concert ticket and my life officially ends right there."

"I can't think straight. I can't see straight. There's a festival of frustration in my head and the unfairness of it all just blinds me."

"I like being in Cree's little world. Anything not to be in mine at the moment."

"He's more like my social worker than my best friend. If it weren't for him, I'd either be paraplegic, pregnant, or dead by now."

"I wasn't size two. I wasn't blonde. I wasn't twinkly. But I could be. For Jackson. I would do anything for Jackson."

"I'm a bit anti-boyfriend. None of them live up to Jackson so what's the point?"

"Green Blazer Boy has puked on my head."

"Their last song is fast and frenetic and suddenly we're so excited to be seeing the back of them, we all start headbanging and jumping around like epileptics on pogo sticks."

"Most people settle for a T-shirt or a poster. Not Jody. Jody wants actual band members."

"I'm not exactly relishing the thought of changing my idol's pissy undercrackers."

"Never meet your heroes, Jody. You'll always be disappointed."

"And it's the first time I don't want to leave him. It's Jackson without the stink, without his drugs, without the fame. I have fantasized about a night like this for so long. This is what I need. He is what I need."

"He gets up, looks at me, sparkling all over, like my moon rock when it catches the light."

Cover comment: The new cover and title is what made me ask for this book. The picture screams playfulness and the promise of something more.

Book source: Gifted

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