Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I freaking loved this book. Any book that can make Jane's Addiction and Shakespeare come together to create a beautiful story has my full support. And it didn't hurt that the writing style has a rawness and openness about it that nearly broke my heart and kept me laughing all at once.
Sammy Bojar is going to be the next big thing--or will be after the current next big thing gets out of his way. All he has to do is figure out how to keep his indie/punk/emo band together, turn his best friend into his girlfriend and watch his grandfather slip into dementia. Luckily band front-man Joe seems to be keeping it together, Jen5 knows just how to deal with a new emo-rocker boyfriend and Gramps still has plenty of musical lessons to teach. Sammy's candle might just have a chance to burn long and bright before it is put out.
And that's just scratching the surface. This book proves that fame and music and life isn't always pretty nor as satisfying and Hollywood would have you believe. It's messy and complicated and heartbreaking, yet it's also full of tomorrows and potential.
Skovron doesn't belittle adolescent feelings of love and fear and compassion, nor does he skirt over issues like sex or make a big deal out of things like homosexuality and drinking. The story focuses on the music and stays true to character development. The teens in this novel are down to earth and struggle with the same issues of insecurity and hope that all real-life teens deal with every day.
While the story arc is a little rough and the adult characters are a little cliche, this is an amazing debut novel. I am honored to have it stand next to my other YA music books like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Heavy Metal and You and Notes from the Midnight Driver. I look forward to seeing what other stories Skovron has in store for us.