Review: My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock StarMy Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star by Joyce Raskin
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on June 13, 2011
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 112
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Rock ’n’ roll isn’t just about sex and drugs. It’s about self-expression, lasting friendships, and self-empowerment. That’s what Alex learns after she starts playing bass for a rock band in this almost true story. Joyce Raskin, author and musician, culls from her memories to create this funny, touching, and honest look at what it’s like to be a teenager, a girl, and a rock star all at the same time.

Also included are a note from the author, instructions on how to play basic guitar chords, advice on songwriting, and more!

This brief novella purports to be about a girl who gains confidence and makes friends through her talent playing bass, going from loser to enviable rock chick. I hated Alexis from page one. I’ve thought about it and the best word to describer her is ninny. Alexis is a ninny. She spends the opening chapters whining about how unpopular is and how she doesn’t have boobs and no boys like her and she doesn’t even have her period yet and how she has a boy’s name and how she’s not pretty and how she just got her period and waaah, surprise, it sucks. Oh my god, why? Why do I have to read this?

Then, she learns to play the bass and whines somewhat less. Instead, she now finds power in whether or not she has a boyfriend. Good role model? Not so much. Even in the end, when she believes herself to be all enlightened and confident, it definitely comes off as more of a confidence because she has friends than her being confident now thus earning her friends.

To make it worse, the book manages to be extremely stereotypical. There are so many insulting comments about what guys are like and girls are like; this does not flatter either gender. For example, all guys talk about is sex and they all cheat on girls, which is why you can’t be real friends with them. Oh really, book? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve had tons of guy friends and some of them are, shockingly enough, capable of carrying on a conversation about, you know, lots of other things. Ugh to the nth power.

Despite having absolutely no depth in terms of characters, writing, or plot, My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star does manage to be preachy. Yeah! The author clearly wants kids to be straightedge and not smoke pot. This whole message is exceedingly heavy-handed and really is not convincing, since it comes along with the idea that, if you plan an instrument, people will like you.

All of that aside, this is a really weird book, because it’s aimed at teens, but it’s only 88 pages long. With illustrations, which are incredibly awful btw (although that does make it possible that Alexis, not the shiniest knife in the drawer, drew them). This is shorter than a manga volume. So, in terms of length and the complexity of the writing, it would be best for children, but clearly it’s not intended to be for kids. I imagine it’s aimed at younger teen reluctant readers, but this would not make me want to read more books.

2 responses to “Review: My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star”

  1. Wow. It’s a good thing I didn’t pick that up in the book store. I had to choose between this and Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John and that one proved to be okay.

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