Staff Picks

Reads That Rock: Music Across Genres

These recent Young Adult books center on music, from jazz to rock to hip hop and beyond.

Chris H.
Audrey, Wait!     Audrey, Wait!    
Robin Benway
    Y Benway

Rock music.

While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker at the Scooper Dooper, sixteen-year-old Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top of the Billboard charts.

Becoming Billie Holiday     Becoming Billie Holiday    
Carole Boston Weatherford
    Y Weather

Jazz.

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday looks back on her early years in this fictional memoir written in verse.

Brooklyn, Burning     Brooklyn, Burning    
Steve Brezenoff
    Y Brezeno

Punk music.

Sixteen-year-old Kid, who lives on the streets of Brooklyn, loves Felix, a guitarist and junkie who disappears, leaving Kid the prime suspect in an arson investigation, but a year later Scout arrives, giving Kid a second chance to be in a band and find true love.     

Debbie Harry Sings in French     Debbie Harry Sings in French    
Meagan Brothers
    Y Brother

New wave & glam rock.

When Johnny completes an alcohol rehabilitation program and his mother sends him to live with his uncle in North Carolina, he meets Maria, who seems to understand his fascination with the new wave band Blondie, and he learns about his deceased father's youthful forays into "glam rock," which gives him perspective on himself, his past, and his current life.

Five Flavors of Dumb     Five Flavors of Dumb    
Antony John
    Y John

Rock and grunge music.

Eighteen-year-old Piper becomes the manager for her classmates' popular rock band, called Dumb, giving her the chance to prove her capabilities to her parents and others, if only she can get the band members to get along.

Harmonic Feedback     Harmonic Feedback    
Tara Kelly
    Y Kelly

Trip Hop.

When Drea and her mother move in with her grandmother in Bellingham, Washington, the sixteen-year-old finds that she can have real friends, in spite of her Asperger's, and that even when you love someone it doesn't make life perfect.

Hidden Voices: The Orphan Musicians of Venice     Hidden Voices: The Orphan Musicians of Venice    
Pat Lowery Collins
    Y Collins

Classical music.

Anetta, Rosalba, and Luisa, find their lives taking unexpected paths while growing up in eighteenth century Venice at the orphanage Ospedale della Pieta, where concerts are given to support the orphanage as well as expose the girls to potential suitors.

Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans     Hurricane Song: A Novel of New Orleans    
Paul Volponi
    Y Volponi

Jazz.

Twelve-year-old Miles Shaw goes to live with his father, a jazz musician, in New Orleans, and together they survive the horrors of Hurricane Katrina in the Superdome, learning about each other and growing closer through their painful experiences.

If I Stay     If I Stay    
Gayle Forman
    Y Forman

Classical music.

hile in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing     Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing    
Ann Angel
    780.92 Joplin Ang

Rock biography.

Forty years after her death, Janis Joplin remains among the most compelling and influential figures in rock-and-roll history. Her story--told here with depth and sensitivity by author Ann Angel--is one of a girl who struggled against rules and limitations, yet worked diligently to improve as a singer. It's the story of an outrageous rebel who wanted to be loved, and of a wild woman who wrote long, loving letters to her mom. And finally, it's the story of one of the most iconic female musicians in American history, who died at twenty-seven.

Losers     Losers    
Matthue Roth
    Y Roth

Metal & Indie rock.

Jupiter was born in Russia, but he's getting quite an education in America. He sees everything slightly askew - but in a way that's endearing to (most) of his fellow students. A popular girl takes him under her wing. He falls for her. A bully sets him as a target. But Jupiter disarms him in an unexpected way. His best friend ends up hanging with a posse of science geeks. Jupiter feels left out.

Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Punk, Underground, DIY, and Indie Bands     Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Punk, Underground, DIY, and Indie Bands    
Travis Nichols
    781.66 Nic

Punk and Indie rock how-to.

Looking to start an underground band? Don't make a move until you've read this book!

So you KNOW you are destined to rock... well you're in luck -- all you need is this book! (Please note musical talent, bandmates, a car for touring, and an uncle who owns a record label might also help.) An original blend of nonfiction how-to's about all things DIY rock created by an indie-circuit veteran with a knack for hysterical snark, PUNK ROCK ETIQUETTE teaches you everything from how to pick your bandmates and choose a name (Never deliberately misspell your band's name. C how lame it lookz?), to detailed guides on screenprinting your own merch, and interviews and advice from studio owners about the do's and don'ts of recording. PUNK ROCK ETIQUETTE is an unfiltered peek backstage that will appeal to aspiring musicians and anyone who's curious about what goes on in the hours between the last chord and the next big show.

Raggin', jazzin', Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers     Raggin', jazzin', Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers    
Susan VanHecke
    784.1923 Van

Musical instrument history and biography.

Presents a history of the invention of musical instruments, including the inventors who created Zildjian cymbals, the Steinway piano, the Martin guitar, the Hammond organ, and the Moog synthesizer.

Revolution     Revolution    
Jennifer Donnelly
    Y Donnell

Classical and Indie music.

An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour     Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour    
Bryan Lee O'Malley
    GN Omalley
Scott Pilgrim

Indie Rock.

It's finally here! Six years and almost 1000 pages have all led to this epic finale! With six of Ramona's seven evil exes dispatched, it should be time for Scott Pilgrim to face Gideon Graves, the biggest and baddest of her former beaus. But didn't Ramona take off at the end of Book 5? Shouldn't that let Scott off the hook? Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn't, but one thing is for certain all of this has been building to Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour!

Sister Mischief     Sister Mischief    
L. Goode
    Y Goode

Hip Hop.

Esme Rockett, also known as MC Ferocious, rocks her suburban Minnesota Christian high school with more than the hip-hop music she makes with best friends Marcy ( DJ SheStorm) and Tess (The ConTessa) when she develops feelings for her co-MC, Rowie (MC Rohini)

Somebody Everybody Listens To     Somebody Everybody Listens To    
Suzanne Supplee
    Y Supplee

Country music.

Upon graduating from high school in the tiny town of Starling, Tennessee, aspiring country singer Retta Lee Jones manages to get herself to Nashville, where, in spite of some bad luck and hard times, she tries to persevere in pursuing her dreams.

Sorta Like a Rock Star     Sorta Like a Rock Star    
Matthew Quick
    Y Quick

Soul and R&B music.

lthough seventeen-year-old Amber Appleton is homeless, living in a school bus with her unfit mother, she is a relentless optimist who visits the elderly at a nursing home, teaches English to Korean Catholic women with the use of rhythm and blues music, and befriends a solitary Vietnam veteran and his dog, but eventually she experiences one burden more than she can bear and slips into a deep depression.

Ten Miles Past Nowhere     Ten Miles Past Nowhere    
Frances O'Roark Dowell
    Y Dowell

Jam band music.

Because living with "modern-hippy" parents on a goat farm means fourteen-year-old Janie Gorman cannot have a normal high school life, she tries joining Jam Band, making friends with Monster, and spending time with elderly former civil rights workers.

Virtuosity     Virtuosity    
Jessica Martinez
    Y Martine

Classical music.

ust before the most important violin competition of her career, seventeen-year-old prodigy Carmen faces critical decisions about her anti-anxiety drug addiction, her controlling mother, and a potential romance with her most talented rival.

Where She Went     Where She Went    
Gayle Forman
    Y Forman

Classical music.

Adam, now a rising rock star, and Mia, a successful cellist, reunite in New York and reconnect after the horrific events that tore them apart when Mia almost died in a car accident three years earlier. Sequel to If I Stay.

Will     Will    
Marisa Boyd
    Y Boyd

Musicals.

Seventeen-year-old Will's behavior has been getting him in trouble at his all-boys school in Sydney, Australia, but his latest punishment, playing in the band for a musical production, gives him new insights into his fellow students and helps him cope with an incident he has tried to forget.